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Brexit is increasing tension in Northern Ireland, but the protocol is the only way | David Phinnemore

The problems of a border down the Irish Sea were always known – checks and controls have to go somewhere

Will Boris Johnson now trigger article 16? There’s a question few people thought would ever be making the headlines. It’s a legitimate question, however, given the rising tensions in Northern Ireland over its new post-Brexit trade restrictions.

Unionist politicians and others are up in arms about the effects of the Northern Ireland protocol, which was negotiated as part of the EU withdrawal deal to prevent border restrictions between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Instead, there are checks and controls on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These have led to a significant increase in paperwork for suppliers and haulage companies making the crossing to ports at Belfast and Larne, and trade in some goods, such as those containing soil, is no longer possible at all.

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