BELFAST (Reuters) - Northern Ireland's regional government has delayed for a further three months the introduction of post-Brexit checks on pets arriving from the rest of the United Kingdom, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said on Tuesday.
The British government earlier this year delayed the introduction of the unpopular measure from Jan. 1 to July 1.
"In order to provide much needed clarity, I have taken the decision to delay routine pet travel checks for citizens travelling from GB (Great Britain) to NI with their pets until at least 1 October," said Poots.
"This is to allow a further period for the ongoing UKG/EU discussions, where pet travel is under consideration, to provide direction on both the requirements necessary and any potential flexibilities," the statement said.
Poots, who was recently elected as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland's largest political party, has repeatedly called for the scrapping of the Northern Ireland Protocol of Britain's European Union exit treaty.
The protocol leaves Northern Ireland within the EU's trading sphere, avoiding a hard border on the island with EU-member Ireland but infuriating pro-British unionists like Poots for undermining the region's economic ties with Britain.
British and EU negotiators have said they will seek in the coming weeks to smooth the disruption to trade in everyday goods such as cheese originating in Britain.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries and Amanda Ferguson; Editing by Giles Elgood)