Brexit may mean no kosher meat for Pesach in Northern Ireland

An ‘enormous amount of red tape’ is blocking supplies, says chair of Belfast Jewish Community


SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 08: Sarah and Aaron Sanders celebrate a Passover Seder with their children, Noah, 19, Bella, 18 and Maya, 13, at home and different family members across the country via video conference on April 08, 2020 in San Anselmo, California. Many families are turning to video conference to celebrate Passover Seders because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There are fears that post-Brexit arrangements will prevent Northern Ireland’s Jewish community from getting kosher meat ahead of Pesach. 
Michael Black, chairman of Northern Ireland’s last remaining shul, said there has been an “enormous amount of red tape” since the UK's exit from the EU.
“You’ve got two problems, the actual butcher or delicatessen having the right paperwork to trade, and you’ve also got the problem of finding a carrier to bring it over,” the Belfast Jewish Community chair said. 
The community of around 60 members orders kosher supplies every eight to ten weeks, but its last shipping slot dates back to last year. 
Mr Black said the community has been generally “very accepting” of the issue.
“If they can’t get it, they can’t get it, but our minister is obviously very upset because he would be very observant. We’re a very small community with differing levels of observance.”
But Mr Black has been in contact with the local government and said the congregation remains hopeful.
North Belfast MLA William Humphrey raised the issue in the Stormont Assembly on Monday.
“As we reach Passover, this problem has become particularly acute,” he said, challenging first minister Arlene Foster about the “scale and depth” of problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Ms Foster replied that the matter was “very concerning”. 
She said: “I have to say that that is very concerning. We have a very small Jewish community in Northern Ireland, and the fact that it cannot access kosher meat causes me a great deal of concern.”

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies, meanwhile, said: “We are concerned about the issue and raised it with the Government to see if we can find a means of resolving it.”

A UK government spokesperson said: "We recognise the importance of ensuring the Jewish community in Northern Ireland can continue to access kosher meats and that the process of getting these goods to them is as smooth as possible for traders.
“We were made aware of an issue with a single supplier and have worked proactively and constructively with those concerned to ensure that an alternative GB supplier is now in place".

Northern Ireland’s Jewish community dates back to the mid 19th century but its population numbers have sharply dwindled.

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