N.I Protocol Statement

Monday 08 Feb 2021

Associated Clubs Apprentice Boys Of Derry

Apprentice Boys’ say NI Protocol is not an ‘unfettered’ UnitedKingdom.

The Apprentice Boys Association took no position on the 2016 Referendum on whether the UK should or should not leave the EU. TheAssociation accepted the democratic result of the 2016 Referendum and believed that the UK voted to leave the EU as onenation, the UnitedKingdom.At the end of 2019 our concern on the NI Protocol alongside the Withdrawal Agreement was that the UK did not leave the EU as one nation; that in Northern Ireland alone, our daily lives would be impacted by decisions made by a remote, unaccountable, and un-elected bureaucracy. Recent actions on Friday 29th January crystalised all the worst aspects of an EU legalistic approach, that since the end of 2020 had already led to a litany of disruptions to businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland, already evident or impending. It is now obvious that the outworking of the NI Protocol as it stands will mean lost jobs and a significant increase in the cost of living, affecting business owners, workers and families across Northern Ireland irrespective of community or politics. The NI Protocol, and the clear barriers it places between our islands, our families, friends and fellow citizens, in travel and trade, is the very opposite of an ‘unfettered’ United Kingdom promised by successive Prime Ministers since 2016. This is not time for engaging in blame or pointing the finger at who is responsible for where we are today. There is a very clear, present and specific challenge to peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland that is the NI Protocol. It is imperative on the UK Government to do what is best for all its citizens, across the UK, equally.In the coming days the Apprentice Boys’ Association will be prepared to lend support to any legal and peaceful action necessary to end this affront to democracy and impediment to free exchange within the UK. END

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