LONDON (Reuters) – The Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government is demanding a seat at post-Brexit trade talks as its price for supporting her twice-defeated divorce deal, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.
The Democratic Unionist Party wants a guarantee that Northern Ireland will be treated no differently from the rest of the United Kingdom and a seat at trade talks, the newspaper said.
“We are determined that Brexit should happen in accordance with the referendum result but the only way it can happen which is acceptable to us is if the United Kingdom is treated as one,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds told The Sunday Telegraph.
“The government is now focused on this key issue but political statements or pledges are not enough.”
With many thanks to: Reporting byAndrew MacAskill;editing byGuy Faulconbridge and Reuters for the original posting
It was billed as a large event that would show the “political class” that the British people would not put up with Brexit being delayed.
But organisers claim just 350 people have signed up to this weekend’s Leave Means Leave 200-mile march from Sunderland to London.
The march will make its way to Hartlepool on Saturday, before proceeding on to Middlesbrough on Sunday.
It will then stop off in towns including Pontefract, Doncaster and Wellingborough before arriving in London on March 29 – the day Theresa May originally set as Brexit day.
They will be joined by Brexiteers Andrea Jenkyns MP from the Conservatives and Kate Hoey MP from Labour.
Haggis_UK #FBPE 🇬🇧 🇪🇺
Nigel Farage betrays his own Brexit Betrayal March by not completing the full distance as he said he would.#peoplesvote #FinalSay #RevokeA50
9:50 AM – Mar 16, 2019
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Nigel Farage, who has been the face of the protest, is also unlikely to participate in the full march, telling social media users he would only be doing “some of it”.
In announcing the protest, Farage declared: “All of us who want Britain to be a great country once again accept that we must be prepared to stand up for what we believe in and fight for our independence.”
But it now appears the “will of the people” have spoken and they are not entertaining the publicity stunt.
The event was mocked by social media users from the start with Leave Means Leave urging those interested in participating to pay a £50 fee for a marchers’ kit and for help with accommodation and transport costs – because they will be bussed between different legs of the journey.
But questions remain over where the remaining funding is coming for the overhead costs associated with the event.
The march is likely to be overshadowed by a number of counter protests this weekend, including one by Led By Donkeys, a group which have arranged mobile billboards to troll the Brexiteers during the journey.
“He’s organised this march with his millionaire friends and a Westminster lobbying firm while all the time pretending this march is a grassroots thing,” a spokesperson told Sky News.
On the other hand we’re a bunch of volunteer dads who’ve crowdfunded these vans with fivers and tenners from people around the country.”
Led By Donkeys
A big Sunderland welcome to @Nigel_Farage
(Billboard location: Pallion Rd, Sunderland)
7:53 AM – Mar 16, 2019
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MORE: Farage is told to apologise to the British people by a leading Brussels official
MORE: Farage is trolled by beermats at his European parliament table
It is not the first time Nigel Farage’s attempts to sell something have been a flop.
His Australia tour dates were either cancelled or moved to smaller venues because of a lack of interest, and in 2017 his one-man show in Clacton was outsold by an Elvis tribute act.
Next weekend anti-Brexit campaigners will be heading to London to end the madness by calling for a People’s Vote. A demonstration in October attracted three-quarters of a million people.
With many thanks to: The New European for the original story
Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal has been rejected by MPs for a second time, throwing her Brexit strategy into further confusion.
MPs voted down her deal by 391 to 242 – a smaller defeat than when they rejected it in January.
The PM said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal on 29 March and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed.
She said the EU would need to know what use any extension would be put to.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister should now call a general election.
She had earlier warned MPs that if they did not back her “improved deal” they risked “no Brexit at all”.
But she failed to convince enough of them that concessions she had agreed at the last minute with the EU were the “legally-binding” changes they had demanded when they rejected the deal by 230 votes in January.
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which keeps her government in power, voted against the deal, along with Brexiteer Conservative backbenchers.
With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story
Detectives investigating devices sent to addresses in London and Glasgow have said a claim of responsibility has been made in the name of the “IRA”.
The Met and Police Scotland said similar packages were sent in the past by dissident Northern Ireland groups.
Officers also revealed that one package may be unaccounted for.
The devices arrived on 5 and 6 March at Waterloo Station, buildings near Heathrow Airport and London City Airport and the University of Glasgow.
A joint statement from Police Scotland and the Metropolitan Police said the claim of “IRA” responsibility was received on Monday by the Belfast-based Irish News. A recognised codeword was used.
University of Glasgow evacuated over suspect package
Explosives found at airports and station
It added: “Given the packages received last week bore similarities to devices sent in the past which were linked to dissident groups associated with Northern Ireland-related terrorism, officers were already looking at this as a line of inquiry. However, we continue to keep an open mind and enquiries continue.
“We are also aware that those claiming responsibility have indicated five devices were sent. At this time, only four devices have been recovered.
“Extensive advice has already been issued to relevant businesses and sectors to be vigilant for and report suspicious packages to police. This advice was previously sent to armed forces personnel and is being reiterated again in light of this claim.
“We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.”
On 5 March, three “small improvised explosive devices” were found at sites across London.
Scotland Yard said the packages were all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags. One caught fire when opened by staff at Heathrow.
Irish police have been assisting the Met as the Heathrow and Waterloo packages had Republic of Ireland stamps.
The following day, a suspect package was found in the mail room at Glasgow University.
Several university buildings were evacuated before bomb disposal officers detonated the item.
VETERINARY professionals have expressed concern over the future of pet travel throughout the island of Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in just 18 days-time.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK government expects to be treated as an unlisted third country in relation to the movement of pets to EU countries.
If this happens, the owners of Northern Ireland’s 141,210 licensed dogs, as well as owners of cats and ferrets, will require a new health certificate for their pets for each individual trip they make to an EU country from March 29, 2019 onwards, including for entry into the Republic of Ireland.
NI’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has stated these certificates – their cost as yet unknown – would only be valid for 10 days after their date of issue for entry into the EU, and for four months of onward travel within the EU. They can only be issued by authorised veterinary inspectors (AVIs).
Nick Weston, an AVI vet and a clinical director in Belfast City Vets, told The Detail if the UK is unlisted it “almost puts us in the same situation as when I was sending dogs to far flung parts of the world”.
He added: “We are taking this into the realms of it being a complex scenario rather than a simple one.”
Dogs, cats and ferrets owned by people in Northern Ireland would also be legally required to go through designated Traveller’s Points of Entry (TPEs) in EU countries they’re visiting in order to undergo official compliance checks.
However, ROI’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed to The Detail that, at present, the country’s only TPEs are based at Dublin Airport, Rosslare in Co. Wexford and Ringaskiddy in Co. Cork, none of which are at the border.
There will, however, be no change to arrangements for pets crossing the border from the Republic into Northern Ireland, with the current European Pet Travel Scheme rules still due to apply.
Additionally, the government has advised pet owners to take their animals to AVIs at least four months before travelling to the EU (including before travel to ROI) because NI dogs, cats and ferrets will also need to meet further standards.
These requirements, along with the health certificate, could cost pet owners up to £200 with costs varying between different veterinary practices. Dogs, cats and ferrets will also need:
• To be microchipped (dogs require this regardless). Cost: £12-£15
• To have a rabies vaccination, which must be carried out after the animal is microchipped. Cost: £25-£50
• To complete a blood test. Vets must take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination and three months before intended travel to the EU (including ROI). The sample then has to be sent to an EU approved blood testing laboratory to prove the vaccination was successful. The pet owner must also be issued with a copy of the results. Cost: £80-£110
• Dogs will also need to have tapeworm treatment (this may not be required for travel to ROI but will be needed when visiting most other EU countries).
If we leave the EU as planned on March 29 this year with no deal, anyone hoping to travel to the Republic or elsewhere in the EU would not meet the necessary criteria for travelling with a dog, cat or ferret until at least the end of July, provided they hadn’t begun getting the above checks done prior to the date of exit.
Aurelie Moralis was recently elected joint president of both the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Veterinary Association and the North of Ireland Veterinary Association.
She told The Detail that results of a recent survey showed 88% of Northern Ireland vets are worried about the impact this increased demand for certification by vets will have on an already stretched workforce. She added that there is also concern for farmers and horse owners about future arrangements after Brexit.
She said: “We really favour a pragmatic and risk-based approach and we will continue to make this case at senior political levels.”
Pet passports are currently used to legislate for the travel of dogs, cats and ferrets from the UK into the EU and vice versa, under the terms of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
Therefore, even though enforcement procedures are limited, pet passports have in the past, and are currently still, technically required for animals travelling between NI and ROI, until March 29, when they will become invalid for entry into the EU from the UK.
The UK will, however, continue to accept pet passports for animals coming the other way, entering from the EU, including for those coming from ROI into NI.
Vet Nick Weston previously worked in the south of England where many of his clients transported dogs all over the world.
He told The Detail: “I know plenty of people who travel backwards and forwards (between NI and ROI) and they don’t have the correct documentation because they are never asked for it. A lot of them don’t know that they need it (pet passport).”
He believes, even in a no-deal scenario, that people will initially be able to transport their pets across the border unhindered as before because he doesn’t envisage ROI government workers immediately being deployed in large numbers to patrol the border.
Mr Weston does feel, though, that if border checks come in, pets crossing into the Republic will be one of the first things to come under scrutiny by officials, adding: “The difficulty is going to be trying to explain to an owner that, by law, they cannot travel for the next four months and their dog has to undergo a vaccination and then a blood test and there is going to be a cost involved.
“The problem is going to be explaining to people the logistics of this and I can see a lot of people going, you know what, we aren’t going to bother.”
Mr Weston also pointed out the irony in the situation given the current European pet travel rules were put in place, in part, to protect the UK pets from rabies from continental Europe and further afield “never thinking that the UK itself would become an unlisted third country”.
“A TOTALLY UNNECESSARY MOVE”
Owners of recognised assistance dogs, which visually impaired or deaf people rely on for daily life, for example, must currently follow the same travel rules, with regards to Europe, as those which apply to other pet owners.
This will continue post-Brexit and will have implications for individuals who require assistance dogs, who cross the border often, if the unlisted rules are to apply. Guide Dogs NI declined to comment when approached by The Detail.
Although travelling with five pets or more is considered a commercial move by the EU, if the travel is for the purpose of a competition, show or training for an event, then a declaration can be completed which will allow exemption from the requirements for commercial travel between EU countries. It’s expected that this will continue to be the case after March 29.
Sean Delmar is the president of the Irish Kennel Club, an all-island organisation which organises dog shows in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
He told The Detail: “Trying to limit the movement of properly documented, perfectly healthy and well-looked after dogs around the island of Ireland would be a totally unnecessary move and to criminalise people for doing so would be a foolish decision.
“There isn’t an issue in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland with rabies so I don’t see why there should be concern about dog travel going forward. Anyone trying to enforce lots of checks is being very pedantic.”
Source for dog licence figures: DAERA. As of the 2017/18 financial year.
For more information see both the European Commission’s notice on the future of pet travel between the UK and the EU after Brexit and DAERA’s advice on pet travel (see subsection – Pet Travel to the EU after Brexit).
With many thanks to: The Detail for the original story
BARRISTER and GAA pundit Joe Brolly has said the association’s “endorsement and support for a unity poll… is entirely legitimate, peaceable and reflective of our membership’s views”.
The former Derry All Ireland winner was tackling the contentious issue of whether the GAA should remain neutral if a referendum is called on the Irish border.
During last year’s abortion referendum campaign, it reminded its county boards of the organisation’s strict rules against political involvement and insisted no club or county facilities should be provided to either campaign.
However, in recent days senior figures connected with the association have spoken out to urge it to officially step away from such neutrality in the event of a vote on Irish unity.
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In yesterday’s Sunday Independent, Mr Brolly described Northern Ireland as “a dysfunctional entity, a pretence that cannot survive” two decades after the Good Friday agreement.
He said during the Troubles “the GAA sustained” nationalists, saying “it was them and us, and us was the GAA”.
Claiming “GAA folk up here are feeling isolated and under attack”, he accused Sinn Féin of “abdicating all responsibility for (Brexit) by refusing to take their seats in Westminster, something – given the numbers – that could have made all the difference”.
“It is time for the most important community and cultural organisation on the island to show leadership, to show loyalty to its northern members, and ready itself to support the poll for Irish unity which is coming down the tracks in the next 10 years.”
He argues it has “never been non-political, rather we are non-party political”, giving the example of Rule 21 which banned the RUC and British army from being members.
“What could be more political? In the wake of the peace process, in 2001 the GAA were the first public body on the island to endorse and promote the Patten reforms.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story