Post-Brexit checks to resume at Northern Ireland’s ports

ireland
Post-Brexit Checks To Resume At Northern Ireland’s Ports Post-Brexit Checks To Resume At Northern Ireland’s Ports
A lorry boarding a ferry at Larne Port, © PA Wire/PA Images
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Rebecca Black, PA

Post-Brexit checks at all Northern Ireland’s ports will resume from Wednesday.

Inspections of animal-based food produce arriving at Belfast and Larne ports were suspended last Monday amid concerns over the safety of staff.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council had raised concerns of “menacing behaviour” being aimed at workers.

An anti-Brexit sign near the entrance to Larne Port (Brian Lawless/PA)

Threatening graffiti expressing opposition to a so-called Irish Sea border had appeared in the Larne area.

The North's former Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots ordered the suspension of checks shortly before stepping down from the role to receive medical treatment.

His successor Gordon Lyons maintained the position.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) since said there was no evidence of “credible threats”.

On Tuesday, the North's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said checks will resume on a phased basis from Wednesday.

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A spokesperson said the decision was arrived at after receiving the full threat assessment from the PSNI, conducting their own internal risk assessment and liaising with staff and unions to put mitigations in place.

“The department’s permanent secretary and chief veterinary officer have confirmed that physical checks on products of animal origin at all Northern Ireland’s points of entry are planned to recommence on a phased basis, as of tomorrow, Wednesday February 10th 2021,” the spokesperson said.

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan welcomed the move but said “serious questions” remain for the Agriculture Minister.

“The safe return of workers is a priority and their safety must be paramount,” he said.

“While it is welcome that workers will be back in post, there are still serious questions to be answered by the Minister for Agriculture around how and why the staff were withdrawn in the first place and who made the decision.”

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