Northern Irish trade unionist Sammy Willson has identified two alarming trends stemming from the Brexit protocol that could see the province being sucked ever closer to Dubin by European Union rules. Mr Wilson worries that post-Brexit trade deals have left trade unionists in Northern Ireland ‘speechless’ as businesses are forced into ever-closer trade links with the Republic of Ireland .

Mr Wilson told ‘It’s easier to buy from the Republic [of Ireland] than buying in Britain.

“But why didn’t people buy from the Republic in the first place? They didn’t buy because the goods weren’t as good or the goods were more expensive.

“So we are forced to divert trade to buy goods that are lower than what we were buying before.”

“The other big concern is that as Brussels starts to introduce more and more measures that will apply to Northern Ireland, we don’t have a voice in Brussels.

“The danger is that people will seek to use the Irish government as a voice, now that won’t always work for us of course.

“Because people call it the All Ireland economy, the truth is that the Irish government is in huge competition with Northern Ireland.

“I mean they cut our throats when it comes to tourism… when it comes to attracting foreign investment, they undermine us all the time with subsidies etc. because they want jobs in the Republic.”

He added: “I think what you will find is that the Irish Government will not always act in Brussels in the interests of Northern Ireland, they may well act in their own narrow interests.”

The DUP removed Prime Minister Paul Givan from the Stormont executive in February in protest at the protocol, a move that has prevented the institutions from fully functioning.

Sir Jeffrey has made his call for action against protocol a key part of his party’s campaign for the Stormont Assembly elections taking place on Thursday.

He said his party will not enter a future executive unless the government acts on the protocol.

Sir Jeffrey addressed a series of rallies that have taken place across Northern Ireland in recent months against the protocol which is seen by Unionists as an Irish Sea boundary.

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