Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan resigns over Brexit border checks
Friday, February 4, 2022
The (DUP) First Minister of Northern Ireland resigned effective midnight Friday as part of his party's protests against checks on goods coming from .
Givan's resignation will also force Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister from office in the devolved (Stormont). This cripples the body's legislative power, meaning it can no longer meet to pass vital policies like the three-year budget, an energy bills grant and relaxing Covid-19 restrictions. However, other Stormont ministers remain in portfolio until the scheduled for May.
Givan's emotional press statement indicated Northern Ireland's institutions are "being tested once again and the delicate balance created by the Belfast Good Friday Agreement that introduced the power-sharing Executive.and agreements has been impacted by the agreement made by the United Kingdom government and the European Union [Brexit]". He specifically mentioned the "cornerstone" provided as part of the
However, he emphasised his "earnest desire that all sections of the community will soon be able to give consent to the restoration of a fully functioning executive, through a resolution to the issues that have regrettably brought us to this point".
He called his resignation after almost eight months in the post "the end of what has been the privilege of my lifetime - to serve as the First Minister of Northern Ireland". He succeededafter she resigned in June 2021. It was something "I never expected to have the opportunity to [do]" when first elected as in , he added.
The decision was criticised by opposition parties, including "reckless and self-serving" by Sinn Féin finance minister Irish governments. Leader of Sinn Féin urged an early election to be called "in the absence of a functioning Executive" to show "the DUP actions have consequences, real consequences for people struggling". Leader of the framed it as destabilising, generating "more hardship for the people of Northern Ireland" and ultimately fruitless: "At the end of it all, the Protocol will still be there"., in addition to officials in the British and
While McDonald criticised coming inaction on the budget and healthcare investment for "the DUPs own narrow and self-serving political interests", others expressed concern over the crippling of government services. UK Boris Johnson emphasised the UK government's priority "for a resilient Northern Ireland Executive".called the move "extremely disappointing" and urged a reinstatement to "ensure the necessary delivery of public services for the citizens of Northern Ireland". Prime Minister
Taoiseach of Ireland Covid pandemic". He urged "the DUP to return to full engagement with all the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement" that the Protocol protects "in all its dimensions".called Givan's decision "a highly damaging move". Through a spokesperson he warned "[i]t is absolutely vital for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland that the Executive is delivering for the people of Northern Ireland, particularly now as we emerge from the
He added talks between the UK and EU, of which Ireland is a member, are ongoing and "must be given every chance to succeed". He further said: "The [European] Commission has put forward serious proposals which directly address the concerns about outstanding issues on implementation of the Protocol". Givan had told reporters he was resigning as Unionists were being required "to be seen and not heard" regarding the Protocol.
British Foreign Secretaryand Commission vice president met via video conference on Thursday to discuss the Protocol, "the only solution we have found with the UK government to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement". In a statement, Šefčovič called yesterday's instruction by Stormont Agriculture Minister and former DUP leader to suspend certain checks for goods entering Northern Ireland "very unhelpful". Truss and Šefčovič will meet again on February 11.
Unionist politicians have made their position on the Protocol clear. Following Givan's resignation, DUP party leader Sirsaid it "represents an existential threat to the future of Northern Ireland's place within the Union". He added the UK government has not held up the agreement that was the basis for the DUP re-entering the Executive in January 2020. The deal ended a three-year impasse in power-sharing between Sinn Féin and the DUP following the .
Theunderstands the statement and time of Givan's resignation was confirmed in a meeting between high-ranking DUP members earlier on Thursday.
Poots's decision to suspend sanitary and phytosanitary checks not imposed by December 31, 2020 allegedly followed legal advice which "concluded that I can direct the checks to cease in the absence of Executive approval". Although the UK government has said it will not intervene in a "matter for the Northern Ireland Executive", it faced criticism as "a breach of international law" by Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Šefčovič called it as "essential" that checks are still being conducted, while a spokesperson on Johnson's behalf expressed support for "a swift resolution."
- Lisa O'Carroll. "Northern Ireland first minister resigns over Brexit checks on goods" — , February 3, 2022
- David Young, Jonathan McCambridge, Philip Ryan. "DUP’s Paul Givan resigns as first minister of Northern Ireland in Brexit Protocol protest, as Sinn Féin calls for early election" — , February 3, 2022
- Vincent Kearney. "Paul Givan resigns as NI First Minister" — , February 3, 2022
- Maroš Šefčovič. "Statement by Vice-President Šefčovič following his videoconference with the UK Foreign Secretary on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland" — , February 3, 2022
- Vincent Kearney. "UK Government will not intervene in order to halt NI Protocol checks" — , February 2, 2022