By – Thiruselvam
All meat and dairy products sold anywhere in the UK will be labelled “Not for EU” under a deal to restore power-sharing at Stormont.
The Government has published details of an agreement struck with the Democratic Unionist Party for it to end its two-year boycott. The party has been blocking the formation of a devolved government in Northern Ireland over concerns that post-Brexit trading arrangements were undermining its place in the UK.
Ministers have announced plans to minimise checks on goods crossing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as part of a package of measures to allow power-sharing to resume. MPs will vote on new legislation on Thursday and the Stormont Assembly could sit again as soon as Saturday.
As part of the agreement, all meat and dairy products will have to have “Not for EU” labels regardless of whether they are sold in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales. The UK Government last year agreed arrangements with Brussels that mean those moving between Great Britain and Ireland would have to have the labels in a bid to stop them crossing into Ireland, which has different food regulations as it is part of the EU.
But the DUP had raised concerns that some meat and dairy producers might just stop selling their products to Northern Ireland to avoid the extra red tape. To allay those fears, the labelling requirements will be extended to the whole of the UK. Some supermarkets had already started using the labels on meats sold in England, Wales and Scotland.
The UK Government has pledged that it will hold some Cabinet meetings in Northern Ireland in a symbolic gesture to demonstrate its importance, with the first taking place later this year. Civil servants and ministers will get training on the Good Friday Agreement and how to talk about it following concerns that some have appeared ignorant about it in recent years.
Ministers will also publish a series of documents over the next two years highlighting the benefits of Northern Ireland being part of the UK on themes including education, health and defence. It will form part of a campaign aimed at persuading “the majority of people in Northern Ireland that its future is brightest as part of the United Kingdom”.
Rishi Sunak said restored power-sharing in Northern Ireland offered the prospect of a “brighter future”. The PM told the Commons: “After two years without an executive, there is now a prospect of power-sharing back up and running, strengthening our Union, giving people the local, accountable government that they need, and offering a brighter future for Northern Ireland.”
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill is set to become Northern Ireland’s first Irish republican First Minister after it won the most recent elections there two years ago. Mary Lou McDonald, the party’s leader, has said she believes a united Ireland is “within touching distance”.
Source – THE DAILY MIRROR