Northern Ireland news

Edwin Poots faces legal challenge over work being stopped on Irish Sea border posts

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots

AGRICULTURE minister Edwin Poots is to face a legal challenge over work being stopped on permanent border control posts at ports.

Papers have been lodged at the High Court in Belfast by an unidentified member of Sinn Féin, claiming the move was an abuse of power for political reasons.

In February acting minister Gordon Lyons ordered a halt to construction of post-Brexit inspection facilities for food products arriving from Britain.

Lawyers for the man behind the challenge claim DUP colleague Mr Poots has maintained the block since returning to the position following surgery.

He is now seeking a judicial review, alleging an improper motive behind the decision.

An unlawful failure to consult ministerial Executive colleagues is also being contended.

At the time Mr Lyons said work was being stopped in response to practical difficulties caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But he was heavily criticised by other political parties who accused him of acting unilaterally in an area which required broader Executive consent.

Describing himself as a "strong supporter of the Good Friday Agreement", the Sinn Féin member will be requesting anonymity due to ongoing tensions.

In court papers he has expressed concern that the decision could destabilise that peace treaty.

The case is expected to be listed for a preliminary hearing in the coming weeks.

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