Braid councillor Christopher Jamieson said the disruption caused by vets not checking the movement of livestock shows the scale of the requirements imposed by the NI Protocol/Windsor Framework post-Brexit trading arrangements.
“The massive disruption to the movement of livestock flowing from the veterinary strike has exploded the spin surrounding the Windsor whitewash,” he said.
“Who now would argue that ‘any sense’ of a border in the Irish Sea has been removed?
“The core of the issue is a dispute about the additional workload which is being placed on vets in Northern Ireland because of the checks they are required to perform at the Sea border.
“We now have the ridiculous situation where products from the rest of the UK are being routed through Dublin.”
Cllr Jamieson added: “Not only is this causing huge disruption to supply chains within this part of the UK but it is also highlighting the constitutional obscenity which is the Protocol.
“At a time when the UK Government is seeking to browbeat unionists back into Stromont to implement the Protocol, we couldn’t have have more powerful illustrations of why this remains impossible.”
Also commenting on the impact of the industrial action, Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said the disruption could have “serious consequences” for local food producers.
“The agri-food sector in Northern Ireland is currently facing an unprecedented challenge due to the Veterinary Service Animal Health Group taking part in strike action,” he said.
“Without these vets carrying out their jobs, some ‘red lane’ goods will be forced to be shipped through Dublin. Businesses will be forced to incur extra costs to transport their goods from Dublin to distribution or processing centres in NI.
“I sincerely hope this dispute is resolved to ensure the agri-food sector’s continued growth and sustainability… contributing to our local economy and investment, also that the dispute with the vets can be settled as soon as possible.”