How to increase your confidence and why it’s crucial
How to increase your confidence and why it’s crucial

Niamh Ennis

The scariest thing about Halloween? Competitive parenting
The scariest thing about Halloween? Competitive parenting

Sophie White

Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border


by Jennifer McShane
04th Feb 2021
Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border

A row has erupted between the European Union and the United Kingdom over the supply of coronavirus vaccines.

It all started when AstraZeneca informed the European Commission there would be a serious shortfall in its delivery of 81 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the first quarter.

Over the previous few days, the dilemma over what to do about this has seen the European Union threaten to impose a vaccine border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. In turn, this has risked reigniting one of Brexit’s most talked of disputes, with members of UK Government saying the move proved the need for an immediate overhaul of the bloc’s treatment of Northern Ireland.

What exactly happened?

The EU initially threatened to stop vaccines crossing freely from the EU to Northern Ireland, saying they would trigger an emergency provision in the Brexit deal to control Covid vaccine exports from the EU. The move could have seen checks at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland to prevent shipments entering the UK.

The plans had been part of the EU’s new export controls on vaccines, to combat delivery shortfalls, which are ongoing. Reportedly, the EU commission suspected the shortfall in vaccine doses was a result of a “pecking order”, which meant the UK was getting its full slate from AstraZeneca, while the EU had been denied desperately needed supplies.

The reason the move was condemned was due to the Brexit deal, which guarantees an open border between the EU and Northern Ireland, with no controls on exported products.

Emergency provision 

Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol part of the deal allows the EU and UK to choose to suspend any aspects they consider are causing “economic, societal or environmental difficulties” and last Friday, the EU announced it would trigger the clause and introduce the export controls on its vaccines entering Northern Ireland. Essentially, in a bid to prevent the region becoming a backdoor for vaccine jabs to be sent to the UK mainland. They claimed the move was “justified” in order to avert problems caused by a lack of supply.

However, the intended move was met with extreme concern, as Taoiseach Micheál Martin and all five parties in Northern Ireland’s government made their feelings known.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster described it as “an absolutely incredible act of hostility” that created a hard Irish border, while Simon Coveney also condemned the move.

Ultimately, the EU backtracked, which the Taoiseach said was “welcomed.”

“Welcome decision by the European Commission tonight not to invoke the safeguard clause of the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol… This is a positive development given the many challenges we face in tackling COVID-19,” he said in a Tweet.

The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said she had spoken to Martin to agree a “satisfactory way” to impose export authorisations for coronavirus vaccines.

The WHO had also criticised the EU’s announcement of export controls. Its director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “vaccine nationalism” would only serve to draw out the Covid crisis.

Also Read

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BUSINESS
PODCAST: Melanie Morris & Derval O’Rourke: Episode 3

In this new episode of the IMAGE Business podcast, Melanie Morris chats with Derval O’Rourke, former Olympian and founder of...

By IMAGE

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BREAKING STORIES
‘I trust in Eve because I can’t see a thing on the back of the bike’: Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal’s amazing journey to Paralympic gold

Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal have secured their second medal win of the Paralympic Games so far – this time...

By Sarah Finnan

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BUSINESS
To-do list stressing you out? This simple task will improve your productivity

Being truly productive during the working day has little to do with multi-tasking.I used to think I thrived on multi-tasking....

By Jennifer McShane

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BUSINESS
5 things to consider before setting up your own business

We asked a very successful Irish entrepreneur what she thinks everyone should consider before setting up their own business. Here’s...

By Grace McGettigan

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BREAKING STORIES, FASHION
First look at the autumn/winter issue of IMAGE Interiors

Our autumn/winter issue will hit shelves this Saturday. Here, editor Lizzie Gore-Grimes gives us a look into the cosy decor...

By Shayna Sappington

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BUSINESS, EVENTS
4 Irish female bosses on getting organised, confidence and the importance of creativity

This year’s virtual IMAGE Business Summit will feature a keynote interview with British fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, a masterclass on...

By Shayna Sappington

Explainer: All the drama behind vaccine blunders and the Brexit row over Irish border
BREAKING STORIES
Hillary Clinton will be in Belfast this week for her inauguration as Queen’s University chancellor

She was appointed to the role in January 2020, but has been unable to travel to Northern Ireland since then due to the pandemic.

By Megan Burns