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Clearer information needed on NI protocol to halt spread of ‘propaganda’

Clearer info is required on the Northern Ireland protocol so that individuals “don’t listen to community propaganda” however as an alternative make an “informed choice”, a Belfast neighborhood employee has advised a Westminster committee.

Eileen Weir, of the Shankill Women’s Centre in west Belfast, was one among six girls who gave proof to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on feminine experiences of the protocol and peacebuilding on Wednesday.

They advised the committee of MPs that of their expertise there was confusion moderately than opposition to the protocol and there had been a “real absence” of feminine voices in discussions round Brexit.

Protests have been held in elements of Northern Ireland in opposition to the protocol, which is opposed by the unionist events as a result of it locations an financial border within the Irish Sea. There have been warnings from sections of loyalism that opposition to the protocol is so sturdy it might result in violence.

Propaganda ‘rife’

Ms Weir stated “community propaganda” concerning the Northern Ireland protocol was “rife” and there was “a lot of confusion.”

Women from a loyalist neighborhood background had been “openly saying to me they don’t understand it … I explain to them about the single market and trade, and they’re going, ‘I didn’t know that was in it’,” she stated, including that individuals wanted “hope within these communities”.

While the protocol “needs fixed, it’s not good in parts of it, but we’re only hearing the negative, we’re not hearing the positive,” she stated.

Elaine Crory, good relations co-ordinator with the Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA), stated that in analysis carried out by the organisation and in the middle of neighborhood work “individuals are not saying to us that they oppose the protocol.

“What they are saying, at worst, is that they don’t understand the protocol, and that’s not the same thing at all.”

Part of the explanation they didn’t perceive it, she stated, was as a result of it was being “used as a cudgel, it’s being propagandised. People are claiming it’s all sorts of issues that it’s in reality not.

“When you hold a microphone out, and you point it directly at the people who oppose it for all sorts of reasons, which is their right, you get the impression that everyone opposes it when in fact they don’t,” she stated.

Not represented

Rachel Powell, a girls’s sector lobbyist with the WRDA, advised the committee that those that lived in rural border communities, “are not represented in this very vocal, anti-Northern Ireland protocol rhetoric that is happening now.”

She stated a latest survey of ladies from throughout Northern Ireland confirmed they had been extra involved concerning the influence of Brexit on human rights than the protocol.

The foremost theme, she stated, was “around socioeconomic rights and how there are major threats to these but that this has been lost in the discourse around the Northern Ireland”. She added that the ladies stated they did “not have very much faith” in both the UK authorities or the Northern Ireland Assembly to match the protections offered by the EU.

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