Baroness Hoey slams UK-EU protocol amid Belfast violence ‘We haven’t got Brexit’

Northern Ireland 'haven't got Brexit' says Baroness Hoey

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The Brexit supporting peer has argued the population of Northern Ireland is being treated as “second class citizens” as a result of the protocol signed under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Baroness Hoey’s comments came as unrest in Belfast saw angry youths take to the street and confront police with rocks and petrol bombs. The former Labour MP condemned the violent scenes and warned that paramilitary groups appeared to “still be exercising control” within their communities.

Baroness Hoey told TalkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “Firstly we have to condemn everything that we have seen over the past few nights.

“It has been pretty shocking and has brought back memories of all those terrible things that happened in the past.

“And of course up until quite recently, we have had a quiet peaceful situation.

“It is a number of factors all kind of coming together at once.”

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She added: “Clearly when Brexit happened, and people keep saying to me, trolling me and saying well you campaigned for Brexit it is all your fault.

“But I have to remind people that Northern Ireland hasn’t actually got Brexit, we have got a protocol which keeps us in the single market and keeps us under the EU rules.

“Now that has clearly upset huge numbers of people not just from the pro-union community but people who have been affected by not being able to get their good across, not being able to order things as they normally would.

“And being treated as basically second-class citizens.”

Northern Ireland: Petrol bomb thrown at bus by crowd

During the recent clashes in Belfast on Wednesday, police were attacked, a bus was burned and petrol bombs were thrown.

More than 50 police officers have been injured in similar violence since the end of last month, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts saying it was likely paramilitary organisations were involved in the disorder.

Tensions within Loyalist communities have been rising over the recent imposition of a trade barrier in the Irish Sea, meaning checks on some goods being shipped from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

While a decision by prosecutors not to charge anyone, including 24 Sinn Fein politicians, for attending the funeral last June of IRA member Bobby Storey has also been blamed for sparking the disorder.

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The situation has led Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney to call on Brussels and London to defuse the tensions in Northern Ireland over Brexit before somebody is killed. 

Mr Coveney told RTE: “This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured.

“These are scenes we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history and I think there needs to be a collective effort to try and defuse tensions.”

He added: “This is a time of real tension in Northern Ireland, unfortunately, that political leaders and community leaders need to respond to, like they have done in the past, to defuse tensions and come together rather than have a go at each other.”

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