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Call for evidence on the operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

21 May 2021

The Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland publishes a call for evidence, inviting interested individuals and organisations to submit their views on the operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The deadline for written submission is 9am on Monday 14 June 2021

Background

The House of Lords European Affairs Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland was appointed in April 2021, to consider all matters related to the Protocol, including scrutinising EU legislation applying to Northern Ireland under the Protocol, the Protocol’s overall socio-economic and political impact on Northern Ireland, and to engage in interparliamentary dialogue, notably with the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Sub-Committee launched an introductory inquiry into the operation of the Protocol in April 2021 and has already taken oral evidence from key experts and business representatives. It expects to publish its first report in the summer. The inquiry wishes to examine the following issues:

  • the current situation in Northern Ireland as it relates to the Protocol, including the views and concerns of communities and stakeholders;
  • the current state of play regarding the Protocol’s operation;
  • the continuing dialogue between the UK and the EU regarding the Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and the governance bodies reporting to it; and
  • efforts to identify solutions to the problems thus far identified.

Questions

The Sub-Committee’s call for evidence asks the following questions:

  • What is your assessment of the overall socio-economic and political impact upon Northern Ireland of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland since it came into force on 1 January?
  • What would you identify as the main practical issues that have so far arisen in relation to the Protocol’s operation, including both for GB and Northern Ireland-based businesses? How significant have these problems been, and what impact have they had on the ground?
  • What impact has the Protocol, and UK withdrawal more broadly, had on trade flows between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and the rest of the EU?
  • Has the Protocol had any positive impact for Northern Ireland?
  • Is there a viable alternative to the Protocol?
  • How would you characterise the attitudes of the communities in Northern Ireland in relation to the Protocol? How significant, compared to other issues and concerns, has the Protocol been as a contributory factor to the recent community disturbances in Northern Ireland?
  • What action would you wish to see the Northern Ireland Executive take in relation to the Protocol, including in its engagement with the UK Government, the EU and the Irish Government?
  • What is your assessment of the UK Government’s approach to the Protocol, and its engagement with Northern Ireland stakeholders, since it came into force?
  • What is your assessment of the EU’s approach to the Protocol, and its engagement with Northern Ireland stakeholders, since it came into force?
  • What practical steps can the UK and EU take through the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and Ireland/Northern Ireland Specialised Committee to mitigate the Protocol’s negative impact on the people and businesses of Northern Ireland?
  • What practical difference would a UK-EU veterinary/SPS agreement have on the operation of the Protocol?
  • How can concerns about the perceived democratic deficit at the heart of the Protocol, in view of the continued dynamic application of significant areas of EU law to Northern Ireland in the absence of UK participation in the EU institutions, be addressed?
  • What work would you like to see this Committee undertake in scrutinising the operation and impact of the Protocol?

Further information