George Eustice says agri-food checks continue despite Edwin Poots direction

The British agriculture secretary George Eustice has told the British House of Commons Edwin Poots took his own legal advice before ordering a halt to agri-food checks at Irish ports yesterday, before noting that Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) are still carrying checks out today.

The British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, speaking at Westminster this afternoon, said: "Yesterday Minister Edwin Poots directed his officials in DAERA to suspend checks on points of entry for goods from Great Britain from midnight last night.

"There have been no operational changes on the ground as yet while officials in DAERA seek further advice in response to the direction provided by Minister Poots yesterday.

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"Whilst the overarching responsibility for international relations rests with the United Kingdom Government, delivering many of the requirements under the NI Protocol, including agri-food checks are a devolved matter and responsibility for doing so falls to DAERA in the NI Executive. This includes checks that take place at points of NI entry."

George Eustice

Mr. Eustice revealed that he spoke to Mr. Poots this morning to gain an understanding of his perspective.

"He explained that he had taken his own legal advice before issuing the advice to officials. He also explained that he had hoped to secure an opportunity for the NI Executive to discuss the situation regarding the current implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks at points of entry," he said.