Joe Biden risks causing civil unrest in Northern Ireland by siding with the EU against Britain in post-Brexit border negotiations, warns Lord Trimble
- Lord Trimble has written to Joe Biden to urge him to drop support for NI Protocol
- He said White House ‘contributed to the damage’ to Good Friday Agreement
- The architect of GFA said the protocol has caused ‘political unrest and violence’
Lord Trimble has urged Joe Biden to drop his support for the Northern Ireland Protocol, warning the post-Brexit border rules ‘risk a return to sectarian strife’.
The architect of the Good Friday Agreement accused the White House of ‘contributing to the damage being caused’ to the peace treaty by siding with the European Union on the issue.
He said in a letter to the US President that the ‘political promises of the Belfast Agreement have been flippantly dismissed’ because of the protocol.
Lord Trimble has urged Joe Biden to drop his support for the Northern Ireland Protocol, warning the post-Brexit border rules have caused ‘political unrest and violence’
Lord Trimble said in a letter to the US President that the ‘political promises of the Belfast Agreement have been flippantly dismissed’ because of the protocol
The protocol, agreed as part of the Brexit deal, requires checks on goods travelling from GB to Northern Ireland to be carried out at ports in order to avoid the return of a land border with the Republic.
But it has caused disruption to trade and angered unionists who have demanded the rules be scrapped, arguing they create a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly called on Brussels to renegotiate the protocol but the bloc has said it is unwilling to do so.
The EU has said it is willing to smooth the implementation of the rules but not make substantial changes.
The two sides remain locked in talks over how to improve key sticking points but little progress has been made.
Lord Trimble told Mr Biden, who has Irish ancestry, that the protocol had been ‘imposed’ on the people of Northern Ireland without their consent.
He said: ‘The result has been political unrest and violence and threats of further violence on our streets because the political promises of the Belfast Agreement have been flippantly dismissed through the NIP.’
The former first minister of Northern Ireland, who won the Nobel Prize for his efforts in securing peace in Northern Ireland, said the protocol ‘risks a return to sectarian strife’.
In the letter, first reported by The Telegraph, Lord Trimble said: ‘I wish to express my concern about the way in which the Agreement is being undermined by the Northern Ireland Protocol, and in particular the role which your administration has played in contributing to the damage being caused to the Agreement through your support for the Northern Ireland Protocol.
‘The Northern Ireland Protocol has not only subverted the main safeguards within the Belfast Agreement causing civil unrest and political uncertainty, it is also damaging the Northern Ireland economy.
‘At the heart of the Belfast Agreement is consent, meaning that there can be no change to the constitutional position of NI as part of the UK without the agreement of a majority of the people of the country.
‘But the NIP, by giving the EU powers over the movement of goods into and out of the Province, has torpedoed the ‘consent’ principle and risks a return to sectarian strife.’
The peer said the protocol had ‘totally destroyed’ the consent principle ‘to the detriment of the unionist community’.