Brexit LIVE: Irish border tensions erupt as angry graffiti daubed at port– police seizures

Brexit: Expert warns UK has to be ‘innovative’

Slogans were painted at various locations in Larne on Saturday, with one stating “Larne says no to Irish Sea Border”. Police have arrested two males following a call at around 9.40pm on Saturday after receiving a report in relation to people reportedly spray painting graffiti on property.

It comes after inspections at Belfast and Larne ports were suspended last Monday amid concerns over the safety of staff which came after separate graffiti appeared threatening port staff.

UK and EU officials conduct checks required as part of Brexit’s controversial Northern Ireland Protocol at the ports to allow goods to flow to and from the UK mainland.

Police blamed the graffiti and menacing online comments on disgruntled individuals and small groups, and have made clear there is no evidence of wider paramilitary involvement in threats.

Some workers returned to work on Friday but inspections have not yet fully resumed.

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The UK Government and European Commission are due to hold further talks aimed at finding solutions in the coming week.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has suggested extending a series of grace periods that are currently in operation that limit the level of red tape associated with the protocol.

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said he would be open to limited extensions but he made clear there could be no renegotiation of the protocol’s terms.

Both men arrested in Larne remain in custody as of last night.

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8am update: NI powersharing under threat over Protocol 

Powersharing in Northern Ireland could be threatened if unionists continue to agitate for the “unrealistic” scrapping of new Irish Sea trading arrangements, the SDLP has warned.

Colum Eastwood’s warning came as the Irish Government said it would be open to “modest extensions” of current grace periods that limit the bureaucracy associated with the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Eastwood urged the DUP to end talk of political boycotts and dial down the rhetoric, and instead join with other Stormont parties to find workable solutions to issues linked to the new regulatory and customs processes on Irish Sea shipments.

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