In September 2021, the new head of the DUP, Sir Jeffery Donaldson, stated that DUP ministers would no longer participate in North-South Councils of Ministers with Irish government ministers, that they would not apply measures in their departments to carry out border controls in the Irish Sea and, unless a long-term solution is found to remove the Irish maritime border, the DUP would leave the Northern Ireland executive, which, in turn, would bring down the entire government.  Later this month, the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party presented compromise proposals to amend the protocol to better protect Northern Ireland`s place in the UK single market. This would include a new criminal offence of knowingly exporting goods destined for the UK single market to the EU single market. The proposal was immediately rejected by the DUP and the TÜV.  At the end of the month, the four unionist parties (DUP, PUP, TÜV and UUP) issued a joint statement reaffirming their “opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, its mechanisms and structures” and reaffirming their “immutable position that the Protocol must be rejected and replaced by agreements that fully respect Northern Ireland`s position as a constituent and integral part of the United Kingdom.” However, the parties refused to conclude an electoral pact that could maximize the number of anti-protocol MPs voting on maintaining the protocol under Article 18.  In accordance with Article 1 of the Protocol, it is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement) on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. The 1998 agreement stipulates that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and that this position will not change without the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland voting in a referendum. In its half-year financial report dated 26 August 2021, the Irish continental group, which operates ferries between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, expressed concern that goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain had not carried out controls, as required by the Protocol. The company stated that the continued absence of these controls (for goods destined for the Republic of Ireland) distorts a level playing field, as goods arriving directly from the UK at the Republic of Ireland`s ports are screened on arrival.
 The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, commonly abbreviated as the Protocol of Northern Ireland, is a Protocol to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that regulates single customs and immigration issues at the border on the island of Ireland between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union, as well as certain aspects of trade in goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.  Its terms were negotiated in 2019 and agreed and finalised in December 2020. Due to thirty years of internal conflict in Northern Ireland, the British-Irish border has had a special status since that conflict ended with the Belfast Agreement/Good Friday Agreement of 1998. In the context of the peace process in Northern Ireland, the border was largely invisible, with no physical barriers or customs controls at the many border crossing points; This arrangement was made possible by the joint accession of the two countries to both the EU`s single market and customs union, as well as their common travel area. Article 3 recognises the right of the United Kingdom and Ireland to maintain the common travel area, their bilateral agreement on the free movement of British and Irish nationals between their legal systems. The European Parliament, which had not yet ratified the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, postponed the decision until the proposed violation was resolved.  On April 28, 2021, it was announced that the agreement had been ratified.  The Withdrawal Agreement concluded by the UK and EU governments contains special provisions for Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Protocol aims to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The protocol is due to enter into force on 1 January 2021, the first day of the new relationship between the EU and the UK. A survey of 1,000 participants conducted in October 2021 by Social Market Research for the University of Liverpool found that protocol is the fourth most important issue for respondents, with around 10% citing it as their first or second concern; 55% (against 24%) found the EU`s compromise proposals acceptable (as did a majority of DUP voters).  The main nationalist parties, Sinn Féin and the SDLP, as well as the Greens, expressed support for the protocol and called for its “rigorous implementation”.  Alliance Party leader and Stormont Justice Minister Naomi Long said it was necessary to find “pragmatic solutions” to protocol issues rather than “turn this into a constitutional crisis.”  Before the Roman conquest, Britain was home to about 30 indigenous tribes. The largest were the Belgae, the Brigantes, the Silures and the Iceni. .