All of the trade associations that represent various sectors of the Northern Ireland food and drink sector released statements on Friday afternoon expressing support for the Northern Ireland protocol.
The Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), the Dairy Council and Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA) were explicit in their support for the protocol and warned the UK government that unilateral action by way of legislation would jeopardise the sector.
NIMEA, which represents meat factories in the North, said that its members are “very concerned about the impact of unilateral UK government action”.
In giving support to the protocol, NIMEA said that its members “have adapted well to the checks” and have “significant benefits relative to other UK and EU regions and our members are anxious that those benefits are protected”.
NIFDA, which is an umbrella organisation for the entire food and drink industry, also released a statement supporting the protocol, which it says is working for a majority of members, while there have been issues for a minority.
It also pointed out that while politicians debated constitutional implications, their concern was for the 113,000 people that depend on the prosperity of Northern Ireland food and drink.
Earlier this week, Dr Mike Johnston from the Northern Ireland Dairy Council, which represents milk processors, said in an RTÉ interview that for them, the protocol is working and it allows one third of milk from Northern Irish farms to be processed in the Republic of Ireland, as there isn’t the capacity to process in Northern Ireland.