Is the Court of Justice of the EU the supreme court for all Protocol issues?

CLAIM: The Court of Justice of the European Union is the supreme court for all Northern Ireland Protocol issues.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The Court of Justice of the European Union is the ultimate arbiter on certain Articles of the Protocol, and has an indirect role in interpreting EU laws as part of the agreed arbitration process.  Continue reading Is the Court of Justice of the EU the supreme court for all Protocol issues?

Are ‘extra months’ on pre-Brexit UK passports no longer valid?

CLAIM: Additional months of validity on UK passports issued before the UK left the EU are no longer valid.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. British passports used to visit the European Union or the Schengen Area following the end of the Brexit transition period must be less than 10 years old on the day the traveller leaves. However, this rule only applies for travel to the European Union or the Schengen Area; the rules for travel to the rest of the world are unchanged, and the new rules do not apply for travel to Ireland. Continue reading Are ‘extra months’ on pre-Brexit UK passports no longer valid?

Does the Northern Ireland protocol require certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland and can this only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law?

CLAIM: The Northern Ireland Protocol requires certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland but this can only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. Certain aspects of EU law do still apply in Northern Ireland as a result of the Protocol, but these do not have to be incorporated into Northern Ireland law to have effect. Section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 makes those EU laws applicable in Northern Ireland. Any future legislative changes that may be necessary to implement the Protocol, or related EU laws, could be made at Westminster if Stormont refused to act. Incorporation into Northern Ireland law is therefore not a requirement.  Continue reading Does the Northern Ireland protocol require certain aspects of EU law to apply in Northern Ireland and can this only happen if they are incorporated into Northern Ireland law?

Comparing suicide statistics

During the pandemic, there have been claims that the number of deaths by suicide has increased, reflecting the acknowledged mental strain experienced by many. FactCheckNI has published several fact checks, citing the lack of recent data to substantiate such claims. Recent data have been published, but analysing statistics on suicide remains complicated, due to registration delays and how the definition of suicide is applied. Continue reading Comparing suicide statistics

How-to: Reverse image search

Take a brief moment to check viral images online before you share them. This can help stop the spread of misinformation/disinformation. There are many online search engines and tools which will point to the origins of images you see on social media channels and elsewhere on the web. As fact checkers these are often our “go to” tools when considering an image. 

Images are a quick, easy, and shareable way to communicate a message online. At FactCheckNI we often see them  reappear some time later because of a renewed interest in the topic that the image is associated with. We also see them used out of context (e.g. a different time and/or place) in misleading ways.

Here’s a worked example of how we checked an image that was widely shared.  Continue reading How-to: Reverse image search

COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media.

These particular anti-vaccination campaigners are not alone in this view. Theories are being spread across social media, particularly about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about how a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID-19), called a “spike protein” works. 

This is where it gets a little complicated.  Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy