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DUP: Food Standards Agency talking to council about funding port staff for Northern Ireland Protocol checks

The DUP has claimed that officials at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have been in discussions with the Food Standards Agency about staffing Brexit food checks at Larne Port.

DUP Councillor Gregg McKeen
DUP Councillor Gregg McKeen

The DUP Group Leader on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Gregg McKeen, said today: “I am disappointed to learn that Officers from Council have been in discussions with the Food Standards Agency regarding the employment of Environmental Health Officers who are implementing some of the checks associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol at Larne Port.

“The Food Standards Agency has now offered to cover the cost of 12 Environmental Health Officers for the next three years.”

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But Mr McKeen added: “No amount of money offered by the Food Standards Agency will persuade us to comply with the damaging dictate of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“Apart from anything else, this offer provides no guarantee for the ratepayers of Mid and East Antrim, who could be left with a staggering bill for the long term, continued employment of these officers.”

Noting that the DUP UUP and TUV had issued a joint declaration against the NI Protocol, he called on UUP and TUV councillors on the authority to join him “in opposing and rejecting the Foods Standards Agency’s lure of additional moneys”.

In February checks on animal and food products at Larne and Belfast ports were suspended after the appearance of graffiti threatening the staff. The PSNI later said there had been no threat.

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