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Talks planned

Foster demands new NI deal amid border chaos

No hard border poster in Ireland

The Irish border has been a point of tension in the Brexit deal

The UK government and the EU are to hold more talks to resolve tensions over post-Brexit checks at Northern Ireland ports.

In a joint statement, both sides said talks on Wednesday with Northern Ireland leaders were “constructive”.

Under the Brexit agreement some products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain must be checked on entry because unlike the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland has remained in the single market for goods.

It has led to delays in delivering some food supplies and online shopping into the province. Staff carrying out inspections have reported threats made against them.

Talks were held on Wednesday between the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, his EU counterpart, Vice-President Maros Šefčovič and Northern Ireland’s leaders to seek a way through the dispute.

Britain earlier demanded a two-year extension to the grace period, raising the stakes in a row that threatens to reopen the rift that bedevilled years of Brexit talks.

Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster: ‘we need a replacement’

However, Northern Ireland’s First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster has warned that simply extending grace periods for businesses would not solve the problem.

She said the Northern Ireland Protocol – the arrangements for the Irish border – “cannot work” and must be replaced.

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, the NI protocol guarantees an open border between the EU and Northern Ireland, with no controls on exported products.

It was introduced to avoid creating a hard border on the island of Ireland.

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