Call for evidence on the follow-up inquiry on the impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
13 May 2022
The House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland today publishes its call for evidence, inviting interested individuals and organisations to submit their views on the impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
The deadline for written submission is 9am on Monday 6 June 2022.
- Call for evidence
- Send a written submission
- Inquiry: Follow-up inquiry on the impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
- European Affairs Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
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 published an introductory report into the operation of the Protocol in July 2021 and has launched this follow-up inquiry to examine developments in the months since, including the 5 May Northern Ireland Assembly elections and subsequent reports that the UK Government intends to bring forward legislation in relation to the Protocol. The Sub-Committee already taken oral evidence from key experts and business representatives. It expects to publish its follow-up report in the summer. The inquiry will examine the following issues:
- How the current political impasse between the UK and the EU over the Protocol can be resolved
- The main practical issues that have arisen, and how they can be resolved
- The benefits and potential opportunities that the Protocol presents
- Whether there is a viable alternative to the Protocol
- The impact of the Protocol on political instability and uncertainty in Northern Ireland
The Sub-Committee’s call for evidence asks the following questions:
(1) What is your assessment of the overall socio-economic and political impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland since the publication of this Committee’s introductory report in July 2021? What lessons can be drawn from the Protocol’s operation since it came into force?
(2) How can the current political impasse between the UK and the EU over the Protocol be resolved?
The practical impact of the Protocol
(3) What would you identify as the main practical issues that have arisen in relation to the Protocol’s operation, including both for GB and Northern Ireland-based businesses? To what extent have these issues been ameliorated or exacerbated over the past year?
(4) Which aspects of the Protocol’s operation are creating most difficulties? Which practical modifications to the operation of the Protocol would make it operate more effectively?
(5) What impact has the Protocol, and UK withdrawal more broadly, had on trade flows between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and the EU? What trade data is available to illustrate these impacts?
(6) What is the impact of regulatory divergence between the UK (in respect of Great Britain) and the EU upon the operation of the Protocol and the ability to identify solutions to the current problems?
Benefits and potential opportunities
(7) What, if any, benefits has the Protocol had for Northern Ireland, and what, if any, potential opportunities might it provide for?
Alternatives to the Protocol
(8) Is there a viable alternative to the Protocol? To what extent would such alternatives address the priorities and concerns of each side?
Social and political attitudes to the Protocol
(9) How would you characterise the attitudes of the communities in Northern Ireland in relation to the Protocol? Are these attitudes evolving, and what impact is this having on inter-community relations?
(10) What impact has the Protocol had on continued political instability and uncertainty in Northern Ireland, and vice versa? In the context of the outcome of the May 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly elections, how can these political disagreements over the Protocol be overcome?
(11) 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?
The UK and EU approach
(12) What is your assessment of the UK Government’s approach to and management of the impact of the Protocol since the publication of its Command Paper in July 2021?
(13) What would be the political, legal and socio-economic impact if the UK Government a) brings forward domestic legislation in relation to the Protocol, and/or b) uses the safeguarding mechanism contained in Article 16 of the Protocol?
(14) What is your assessment of the EU’s approach to and management of the impact of the Protocol over the past year, including the publication of its four ‘non-papers’ in October 2021? Has it done enough to take account of concerns over the Protocol?
(15) Are the EU’s proposals sufficient to mitigate the impact of the Protocol on movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
(16) Do you see any grounds for compromise between the UK and EU’s positions that would respect both sides’ concerns?