In first 6 months of N.I. Protocol, Ireland’s exports to NI have jumped by 73%

EXCLUSIVE: Facts4EU.Org reveals how the South has benefited from the EU’s Protocol

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2021

Ireland’s manoeuvres during Brexit have been about unification, but it’s done well financially too

Today Facts4EU.Org can reveal how the Republic of Ireland’s exports to Northern Ireland have risen since the Protocol was fully implemented on 01 January 2021. This has happened during a period when mainland UK firms have struggled to get their goods through to Northern Ireland, due to the EU's Protocol.

We also show how other EU countries have taken advantage, while many GB businesses have found it not to be economically viable to continue selling to what is supposed to be a sovereign part of the United Kingdom.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Official EU data, Jan-June 2021

All exports worldwide have grown as Covid restrictions have eased.
Here we try to strip out the Covid element, by showing the export growth to NI compared to GB.

  • Republic of Ireland’s exports to N.I. have grown by 72.6% since January
  • Meanwhile Republic’s exports to GB have only risen by 47.5% in the same time
  • Republic’s export growth rate to Northern Ireland is over 50% faster than to GB – and that’s only first 6 mths

Total Irish goods exports to N.I. in first 6 months of 2021: €1.62 billion (c. £1.4 billion pounds)

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

How have other EU countries done?

While countries in mainland Great Britain have had to deal with onerous EU bureaucratic demands to continue sending goods to Northern Ireland, including more than a hundred forms for a single lorry coming from the mainland UK, EU firms have not. It seems that many EU27 countries have stepped in to fill the gaps caused by the EU’s rigid application of the extreme requirements on mainland UK suppliers, caused by the EU’s N.I. Protocol.

Many of these mainland British firms have had to decide to discontinue supplying Northern Ireland. Meanwhile goods from EU27 countries have been able to sail through.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The Irish have made far more than any other country, but growth for other EU countries has been high

How other notable EU economies have increased their sales to N.I. in the first six months of 2021

  • Finland : +426.2% (but to GB only +48.6%)
  • Belgium : +139.5% (but to GB only +35.2%)
  • Netherlands: +88.8% (but to GB only +30.9%)
  • Denmark : +78.6% (but to GB only +64.1%)
  • Germany : +70.2% (but to GB only +26.7%)

The above countries sell far less in cash terms to Northern Ireland than the Republic of Ireland, but their growth rates have been very high since the Protocol came fully into force. As can be seen, their export growth rates to Northern Ireland are significantly higher than to Great Britain (UK excl. NI).

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

Statistical note: All data comes from the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat. We have not quoted the EU27 as a whole, as there is a very large statistical anomaly in respect of France’s data and we therefore believe the EU’s total is unreliable. (France’s sales to NI supposedly fell by 81% in March and have stayed at this level. At the same time France reports its sales to GB as having risen sharply in the same month.)

EU now records Northern Ireland’s trade separately from EU’s trade with rest of UK

In the vast range of statistics that it gathers on almost every conceivable activity in the EU27 countries, the EU Commission stopped including the UK even before the UK formally left.

As Facts4EU.Org has reported on several occasions, many sets of data simply stop at 2019 when it comes to the UK, despite the fact that the UK was still a member up until its formal departure at the end of the Transition Period, on 31 December 2020.

One exception to this rule is in the case of Northern Ireland. Or, as the EU refers to it, “UK (NI)”. The reason the EU still collects statistics for Northern Ireland is quite simply because N.I. remains part of the EU, as far as the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union are concerned.

As a result, today Facts4EU.Org has been able to bring readers the facts from the EU itself about the large rise in the value of goods which the Irish Republic has exported to Northern Ireland since January, when the N.I. Protocol became fully operational.


We must stress that no-one is claiming that all of the 72.6% increase in Ireland’s exports to Northern Ireland is due to the Protocol. As Covid restrictions have lifted, exports have risen in most countries. That said, it is interesting that RoI’s exports to Northern Ireland have risen at a rate over 50% faster than they have to mainland UK, i.e. Great Britain.

The last time we looked, Northern Ireland was still notionally part of the United Kingdom. That is certainly how it still appears on world maps.

Instead, the reality is that it remains part of the EU’s Single Market. It is subject to EU laws – existing and new – over which it has no say. Its ultimate arbiter on these laws does not sit in Belfast or London, but in Luxembourg. No judges from Northern Ireland (nor from GB) are on the panel.

Its companies – and even companies in mainland UK servicing Northern Ireland – are subject to EU state aid rules. It no longer has free access to products from the rest of the UK. And if N.I. residents visit relatives in the UK with their dog or cat, they can’t even bring their pet back home with them without incurring large fees and conditions.

None of the above will change under the EU Commission’s latest proposals issued on Wednesday. This is not “getting Brexit done”. Not yet. Over to you, Lord Frost. A supposedly sovereign nation awaits.

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[ Sources: EU Commission trade data ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 15 Oct 2021

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