This region needs to continue to be in compliance with the Northern Ireland Protocol, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said, after a consultation document was launched by the UK Government into the future of the UK internal market.
The blueprint would see more powers handed to the devolved regions, however, standards drawn up in other regions will have to be recognised across all, with the Government saying it is a bid to protect cross-border trade.
“Today’s announcement inevitably raises questions around the nature and integrity of devolution,” said Alliance Deputy Leader Dr Farry.
“The balance and scope for local decision-making operated smoothly under the umbrella of the EU Single Market prior to Brexit. It is the UK Government’s determination for a hard Brexit necessitating this exercise around the redistribution of powers and the tensions that are created.
“The Assembly must have the capacity to ensure this region remains in ongoing compliance with the terms of the Protocol. Ultimately as the sovereign government, the UK must ensure the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement are upheld.
“Yet at the same time, there is a commitment from the UK Government Northern Ireland will have continued unfettered access to the UK internal market. Especially in light of the terms of the Protocol, the onus lies with the UK Government to address any tensions or complications that may arise.
“Devolution is primarily about shaping policy and resource allocation to meet the particular circumstances of the region. Any monitoring or oversight mechanism must respect this fundamental situation.”