DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has hit out at Sinn Fein after Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said she is seeking legal advice over the party’s decision to boycott north-south ministerial meetings.
n protest to the Northern Ireland Protocol, Sir Jeffrey withdrew his ministers from all cross-border bodies.
He is now urging Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance to join unionists in calling for the removal of the protocol so “we can get on” with other challenges facing Northern Ireland.
Ms Hargey said Friday’s north-south ministerial council on languages failed to go ahead as the DUP did not attend and branded it as a “serious failure to comply with the law”.
“Therefore I am seeking legal advice on challenging the DUP inaction through the courts,” she continued.
“We must be clear that when the political institutions were restored through the New Decade, New Approach agreement last January, it was all of the institutions, not some.”
In response, Sir Jeffrey pointed to Sinn Fein’s blocking of north-south meetings for three years after the collapse of devolution in 2017.
He added that his party have put a stop to north-south bodies as the Irish Sea border, as a result of the protocol, must be brought to a head.
“We cannot have a border between us and Great Britain but continue with north-south structures as though there is no problem,” said Sir Jeffrey.
“The simple way to resolve this matter is for nationalist and republican ministers to recognise that the Irish Sea border is contrary to the Belfast Agreement.
“Rather than calling for rigorous implementation, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance ministers should join us in calling for London and Brussels to remove the Irish Sea border.
“The protocol has harmed Northern Ireland’s place in the union, and is driving up consumer costs and driving down consumer choice.”