Trade controls between Northern Ireland and the mainland British island have been suspended due to threats against dockers. The European Union and the United Kingdom condemn the threats against workers.
For several weeks, employees working at Northern Ireland’s ports in Belfast and Larnen were threatened, simply because they did their job and searched some food transported between England and Scotland via Northern Ireland to Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture has now announced that physical controls on goods will be suspended. At present, document checks are only performed at the ports.
Northern Ireland Protocol
The European Union and the United Kingdom ultimately tried to avoid the tightly controlled land border between Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland from being exploited by the political forces in Northern Ireland.
This was achieved by the negotiators and the Northern Ireland Protocol entered into force on January 1, 2021.
Solid borders on the Irish island did not exist, and instead, the Brexit agreement stipulates that some seaborne foodstuffs should come under control in Northern Ireland’s ports.
The concern that the controls would cause problems – or at least additional bureaucracy – was significant.
Now these controls in the ports of Larne and Belfast have become the target of a politically motivated threat campaign.
Harassment of “targets”
European Union officials working on product checks have been under threat for several weeks, and unknown people are said to have registered employees’ vehicle registration numbers.
This is a form of harassment for many older Northern Irishmen that conjures up bad memories of decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland during so-called “turmoil”.
The police presence increased after port workers at Larne Ports (pictured) and Belfast were threatened.
Police in Northern Ireland increased their presence at Larne Harbor after threatening port workers.
Bild: / Press around
Graffiti has been written on the walls in recent days in predominantly pro-British residential areas of Northern Ireland with messages opposing control of the Irish Sea.
In graffiti texts believed to be written by so-called trade unionists, EU inspectors are portrayed as “targets”.
This text is also written on a wall next to the harbor in Larne.
No political group has yet announced that it is behind the threat campaign.
The European Union and the United Kingdom condemn the threats
On Tuesday, representatives of the British government and the European Union strongly condemned the threats against port workers and called for calm to avoid heightened political tensions.
Northern Ireland Police have now reinforced their presence at the ports of Belfast and Larnen in an effort to calm the situation.
Sources: BBC, Guardian, AFP