NI protocol and the DUP

Sir, – Nobody has ever questioned the right and duty of the EU to protect the integrity of its single market from unacceptable goods being brought into the Irish Republic across the land border with Northern Ireland. But how much would it matter for that stated purpose whether an unacceptable item was intercepted at Belfast docks, or at the land border itself, or at any point in between?

In principle it matters not at all; in practice it is universally agreed that it would be prudent to keep all checks and controls away from the actual border, while the last option has the distinct advantage that it not only makes it possible to focus just on the imported goods destined for export to the Republic but also covers goods produced in the province for export, which obviously will not be picked up at any point of entry.

Why then is the EU so insistent that its checks and controls must be misdirected to all the goods imported into Northern Ireland, most of which stay in the province and so need not concern the EU, when it should concentrate just on the goods which are being exported to the Republic? – Yours, etc,



Berkshire, UK.

Sir, – Last year, the Democratic Unionist Party had various upheavals in leadership, with various factions taking each other on, often in bitter public battles, leaving many to wonder if they are indeed a party.

This year, the Democratic Unionist Party has decided to ignore the democratic wishes of the majority of people in Northern Ireland who voted for protocol supporting MLAs.

One is left wondering if they are actually going to be unionists at the end of the day? – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – I wonder if Jeffrey Donaldson sees the irony when he states that the Northern Ireland protocol was a “direct challenge to the principles that have underpinned every agreement reached in Northern Ireland over the last 25 years” and that it “eroded the very foundations that devolution has been built upon” (News, May 13th).

Does he remember that the protocol only exists because of Brexit, something for which he fought for vigorously, against the will of most people in Northern Ireland. Having lost the possibility of becoming First Minister, he now seems content to sail off toward a Westminster sunset, abandoning those he was elected to serve. A sad and sorry sight of utter and absolute failure. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I wonder if the whingers and whiners in Sinn Féin realise that the mandate of the DUP to boycott the devolved assembly in the North is as valid and acceptable as its mandate to boycott the parliament in London.

Perhaps these extremist parties should realise that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Perhaps also they should try and work for their electorates in a manner that reflects more maturity than petulance. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – Margaret Marshall asks how the DUP , with 25 seats out of 90 , can deprive the people of Northern Ireland of the working assembly for which they voted (Letters, May 14th).

While it is a fact that the Assembly under the current rules cannot function, there is no reason why the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland cannot be expressed. The elected members are free to meet in an alternative forum of their choice. The purpose of the forum would be to determine and give expression to the will of the electorate and, importantly, to make Westminster aware of the issues which are of most concern to it. And what right would the British government have to ignore the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland freely expressed in such a democratic assembly? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.