Northern Ireland news

DUP remains silent after its protocol claim is debunked

FactCheckNI said around 3.5 per cent of EU checks took place at the north's ports. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

THE DUP had last night still not responded to independent verifiers' findings that there was no evidence to support its claim about the level of protocol checks at the north's ports.

The party's '7 reasons the Irish Sea border must go' document, published in January said that “20 per cent of all EU's checks take place in the Irish Sea”.

FactCheckNI concluded that the claim is not supported by evidence and that the actual figure may be closer to 3.5 per cent.

The independent verifiers said the DUP, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Commission could not confirm the figure. The DUP did not respond to FactCheckNI or to The Irish News.

FactCheckNI speculate that the figure may have come from evidence given to a Stormont committee in March by Daera permanent secretary Denis McMahon.

It noted that he said 20 per cent of documentary sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks take place at the north's ports – ie that one fifth of a certain subcategory of a certain type of check.

The European Commission noted that Rotterdam port performs 33 per cent of physical checks on food products of animal origin, while Belfast only performs 2 per cent and Larne 1.5 per cent.

North Down MP Stephen Farry said there was "far too much hysteria and manufactured or exaggerated claims made around the protocol".

"This only serves to foster division and makes the prospect of finding sustainable solutions to the genuine problems more difficult," he said.

"Some people need to be honest as to why the protocol exists – and we should all be focused on the pragmatic way forward."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news