Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for his assessment of the infrastructure that will be required at ports in Northern Ireland under the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: The Official Controls Regulation (OCR) requirements are part of domestic law as a result of Article 5(4) of the Northern Ireland Protocol and s. 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) must comply with this legal requirement. The OCR is included in Annex 2 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, which was entered into by the UK and the EU.
In common with the UK Government, I am clear that the Northern Ireland Protocol needs to be implemented in a way that minimises any frictions on the flow of agri-food trade and does not increase costs for our businesses and people living in Northern Ireland. Officials are therefore working to minimise the need for infrastructure.