Wales facing shortages ‘because of Brexit’, says Irish deputy head
Wales is facing shortages because of Brexit according to the deputy head of the Government of Ireland.
Leo Varadkar, the Tánaiste, made the comments in response to complaints from the UK Government about the Brexit deal with the EU which was signed two years ago.
As part of the deal the two sides signed up to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was aimed to stop checks along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
But according to Varadkar the protocol means that Northern Ireland is facing far less issues in terms of shortages than the rest of the UK. He pointed to shortages of goods on shelves in Wales as well as petrol stations being closed.
He said: “One thing I would say while people are pointing out some of the difficulties that the protocol may have in terms of getting goods from Britain into Northern Ireland.
“Look at the trouble Britain has had getting goods into Britain, you know real shortages in England, now in Scotland and Wales, ranging from petrol stations being closed to shelves not having goods on them because of Brexit, and actually the protocol has protected Northern Ireland from that.
“It has fewer supply issues than the rest of the United Kingdom.”
The protocol keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods, and this has created a new trade border with Great Britain.
The UK Government, which championed the deal at the time, is arguing the current arrangement imposes too many barriers on trade.
It is demanding to fundamentally change the protocol by removing the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from an oversight role. The EU is refusing to budge on this issue, but it has proposed amendments to the protocol that would reduce checks on goods and paperwork.
Varadkar also said: “Well I think the most important thing we should all bare in mind is the protocol was designed to do three things – prevent a hard border between north and south – it’s done that.
“Protect the integrity of the single market and our position in it and it’s done that, and it was designed to allow Northern Ireland to trade freely with both Britain and the European single market, and that’s where some issues have arisen, particularly around difficulties getting goods from Britain into Northern Ireland, and we’re keen to resolve that as best we can and to make modifications to free up the flow of goods from Britain into Northern Ireland.
“But ultimately the role of the European Court of Justice is there to adjudicate the rules of the single market, and I don’t think we could ever have a situation where another court was deciding what the rules of the European single market are, and I think that’s why it makes the demands, the most recent demands of the UK Government very hard to accept because the role of the ECJ is to adjudicate on European laws and European standards.
“I don’t see how that could be handed to a British court or to another court.