From Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP <[email protected]>
Subject Others talk, we deliver.
Date March 23, 2024 7:59 AM
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Good morning, John

Last week I was in the United States meeting with political and business leaders. Once again, I was reminded that global names can trace their beginnings back to Ulster. No less than 20 US Presidents as well as names like James Gamble who established Proctor and Gamble and Thomas Watson who established IBM, all have their roots in Ulster.

Northern Ireland is a special place. In recent decades, our people have been known across the world as victims of terrorist atrocities yet before the IRA launched its campaign of violence, this place was a thriving hub of industry and creativity. Whilst in those dark days we lost many of our brightest and best, there is still an enormous reservoir of talent.

The DUP is in the business of building for the future. Building for future means making Northern Ireland work for everyone who lives here. From the cradle to the grave. We must ensure all our people have affordable and accessible childcare, hospital services without unreasonable waits, world class schools and a thriving economy. A prosperous Northern Ireland will generate good jobs for our people and support our public services.

Just over seven weeks ago, we reached an agreement with the UK Government on a balanced package of measures to safeguard Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom. Did we achieve everything we sought? No, and in lengthy radio interviews at the time, I outlined how we would like to get more goods out of the red lane, particularly for those companies who are manufacturing here.

The red lane exists for goods coming from Great Britain and at risk of transiting through Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland thus entering the EU single market. If Northern Ireland wants to retain access to the EU Single Market, then the red lane will be necessary to satisfy the EU that goods entering its market meet their standards. We have achieved an outcome which restores our place within the UK Internal Market whilst, at no monetary cost, retains access to the EU Single Market for goods. This is a good long-term deal for the Northern Ireland economy as Northern Ireland exports £8bn worth of goods to the EU each year.

By the end of 2024, a one-off registration to a UK Internal Market system will enable businesses to bring goods to Northern Ireland from Great Britain without customs declarations and physical or identity checks - save for those conducted by UK authorities as part of an intelligence-based approach to tackle criminality, and smuggling. Reaching this kind of outcome was real progress and will be a gamechanger once fully in place.

On Thursday, the Government laid the Windsor Framework (Implementation) Regulations 2024. These Regulations will give the Government power to direct Northern Ireland Departments in matters relating to the Windsor Framework and the Safeguarding the Union Command Paper.

This provides a legal basis to enable the Government to regulate the United Kingdom internal market. This includes its commitment contained within our recent agreement to eliminate any unnecessary physical checks when goods move within the UK internal market system, and staying within Northern Ireland except those conducted by UK authorities and required to tackle criminality, abuse, smuggling and disease risks.

Next week, the East-West Council will meet for the first time. It is designed to strengthen our Union across all parts of the UK. This new forum flows from our negotiations with the Government. Intertrade UK will also be established under the East-West Council which is designed to address trading problems between UK regions. Work also continues to secure a long-term solution on veterinary medicines and build a broader horticulture solution.

On Tuesday the Northern Ireland Assembly debated a DUP motion. This was the first opportunity for MLAs to vote on whether a new EU law should apply in Northern Ireland. It was a ‘significant’ and ‘watershed’ moment because it demonstrated that the legal protections now in existence can be tested and used elected representatives from Northern Ireland.

MLAs are now given a genuine input as part of the process to determine whether new or any amending laws ought to apply in Northern Ireland. Through our action in bringing the EU and UK back to the negotiating table, legal change to Article 13 of the Protocol was agreed, which ends the automatic pipeline of new or amended EU law. Dynamic Alignment, where Northern Ireland followed lockstep with every EU law, was ended.

For us, we will always judge the impact these new or amended measures have on Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market and whether new or amended EU measures will create barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Tackling the democratic deficit created by the Protocol was a central plank of our negotiations. Our opponents claimed this would be impossible, yet the new arrangements we have secured from the Government give MLAs a say on whether new EU rules and regulations should apply in Northern Ireland.

Whilst others talk, we deliver. The Democratic Unionist Party is the party for Northern Ireland. We want this place to succeed, and we exist to deliver for the people who live here. I have been heartened over the last seven weeks by the momentum. People are joining the party and putting their shoulder to the wheel because they also want to see Northern Ireland succeed.

Rear-view mirror leadership that debates what could or should have been done will not deliver for Northern Ireland. Our focus is on building a prosperous Northern Ireland within a stronger United Kingdom and our plan is working.

Building for the future is the best way to strengthen our cause and looking ahead rather than behind is the best way to undermine Sinn Fein’s divisive border poll campaign.”


Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP
DUP Leader
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