Home News Nicola Sturgeon warned violence could ‘spill over’ as row over Union threat...

Nicola Sturgeon warned violence could ‘spill over’ as row over Union threat erupts


Unionists are furious about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which introduced some customs checks on goods moving between the province and Great Britain. Many are demanding the Northern Ireland protocol is scrapped, removing the new Irish Sea border.

Loyalist rioting across Northern Ireland in April was blamed in part on anger over the protocol.

A senior counter-terrorism expert has warned there is the “potential” for unrest to spread into Scotland.

The message came from Ken Pennington, formerly police superintendent of Northern Ireland.

Speaking to 1919 Magazine he noted Scotland has its own problems with sectarianism, making it vulnerable to events similar to those seen in Northern Ireland.

He said: “As for the violence spilling over? I think it has that potential.

“The football season isn’t going to stop, and we’ll see what the imagery is like over the summer, and the perceptions of it, and what that throws out.

“I think it has a potential to inflame things.

“The protocol is raising tensions. Well, it’s not itself, people are raising tensions around it.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford leaves Commons stunned as he’s forced to back England

In March the Loyalist Community Council wrote to Mr Johnson, announcing the groups it represents have ended their support for the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

To preserve the Good Friday Agreement, the UK and EU agreed there would be no border checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Instead, Northern Ireland remains tied to the European single market, with customs checks on trade with the rest of the UK.

In June the UK and EU agreed to delay introducing new checks on fresh meats.

There had been concerns these could spark disorder, if imposed during the traditional loyalist marching season.

However, critics argue this will merely delay the point of confrontation until later in the year.

Mr Johnson has called for greater flexibility from Brussels if it wants the Northern Ireland protocol to survive.

The EU threatened to suspend the protocol in January during a row with Britain over coronavirus vaccines.

Following outrage in London, Dublin and Belfast the threat was withdrawn.

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