Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin raises hopes of breakthrough on Northern Ireland Protocol after he says Brexit border row between UK and EU can be ‘ironed out’ and DUP says there is a ‘window of opportunity’ to fix issues
- UK and EU are locked in row over implementation of Northern Ireland Protocol
- Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he believes it is possible to ‘iron out’ issues
- Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan has also struck a more optimistic tone
- Mr Givan believes there is a ‘window of opportunity’ to resolve the border row
Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin today raised hopes of a breakthrough in the post-Brexit border row between the UK and the EU as he said he believes it is possible to ‘iron out’ problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Martin said the ‘potential exists’ to resolve the issues that have arisen as a result of border checks being carried out in the Irish Sea.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan also struck an optimistic tone as he said he believes there is now a ‘window of opportunity’ for progress to be made.
Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin today raised hopes of a breakthrough in the post-Brexit border row between the UK and the EU
Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan also struck an optimistic tone as he said he believes there is now a ‘window of opportunity’ for progress to be made
The protocol, agreed as part of the Brexit deal, was put in place to ensure there would be no hard border with Ireland.
But it has instead effectively placed a trade barrier in the Irish Sea, causing disruption to the movement of goods and inflaming community tensions.
The UK and the EU have been locked in talks for months to try to smooth the implementation of the protocol but progress has been slow and talks have been repeatedly hit by rows and threats of legal action.
Mr Martin today said he believes the post-Brexit issues can be fixed if the ‘political will’ exists to do so.
Speaking following a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council, he said: ‘I think there are issues in the (Northern Ireland) Protocol that we can work together to try and resolve.
‘The British Government and the European Union Commission are engaging in respect of dealing with those issues.
‘The British Government has issued a command paper, the EU have responded, the EU has extended the grace periods. There has been a lot of work done over the last number of months.
‘If the political will exists, I do believe that within the framework of the Withdrawal Agreement that the potential exists there to iron out and to resolve issues that have arisen in terms of the smooth implementation of the protocol and the resolution of those issues.
‘Again, there’s obviously more work to be done there, but there is engagement between the UK Government and European Union Commission.’
Meanwhile, the DUP’s Mr Givan said: ‘What we have is a window of opportunity with the UK Government recognising the political, societal and economic harm that has been caused by that protocol.
‘The European Union has now suspended its litigation and there’s recognition that the protocol is causing harm, that there needs to be constructive engagement between the UK Government and the European Union.
‘Obviously the Irish Government have a very important role in influencing how the European Union conducts its approach to addressing those issues.’
The protocol has effectively placed a trade barrier in the Irish Sea, causing disruption to the movement of goods and inflaming community tensions
Brussels published plans to simplify parts of the protocol and to remedy some of the issues associated with post-Brexit border checks.
But Number 10 said the suggested measures, which focused on the movement of medicines and livestock, were the same as ones floated previously.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, has already rejected Boris Johnson‘s demands to renegotiate major parts of the protocol.