Main block to protocol deal is British government, not DUP, says Taoiseach

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has accused the British authorities of being the principle stumbling block to resolving the Northern Ireland protocol situation as a result of, in contrast to the Democratic Unionist Party, it has did not set out a doable resolution.

In a blunt evaluation of the political deadlock that has paralysed the Northern Assembly, Mr Martin stated it appeared to him the European Union not trusted Boris Johnson’s authorities to work with it to resolve difficulties over the protocol.

The Taoiseach cited the function the UK’s former chief Brexit negotiator David Frost performed in making an attempt “to torpedo” a proposed decision final 12 months.

His feedback drew a immediate response from Mr Frost who recommended on Twitter that the British authorities’s stance was being “ignored or misrepresented”.

Speaking to reporters in Cork on Saturday, Mr Martin stated: “The elementary problem with the Northern Ireland protocol will not be with unionism. I believe it lies with the British authorities and the British authorities must resolve in itself what it truly needs.

“I believe unionism has made a case to us and now we have mentioned it over time with the European Union. The European Union has met the unionist neighborhood and it has met with companies and with business in Northern Ireland and got here ahead with proposals

“But the European Union really has never got a landing zone from the British government in relation to the protocol. It’s very unclear what will suffice for the British government. We have some sense of what would work with unionism, but we don’t have that sense with the British government.”

Frost intervention

Mr Martin instanced the choice final 12 months of Mr Frost – then performing as Brexit minister for the British authorities – to boost the problem of the European Court of Justice on the eve of the publication of a proposed compromise by the European Commission vp Maros Sefcovic.

“Unionism did elevate points in regards to the operation of the protocol which we did work with our European Union colleagues to attempt to take care of and, should you recall simply previous to Maros Sefcovic outlining his proposals, Lord Frost tried to torpedo them by elevating the problem of the European Court of Justice.

“That was a deliberate attempt, it seems to me, to undermine what Maros Sefcovic was about and we need less of that from the British government to be frank and the problem for Europe is that Europe is not sure and has no trust now as to what would settle the protocol issue.”

Mr Frost tweeted a hyperlink to The Irish Times report of Mr Martin’s feedback on Saturday, with the remark: “I wouldn’t usually need to use Twitter to answer to @MichealMartinTD the Taoiseach, however, as he accuses me personally of wrecking the talks final 12 months, I really feel I have to reply.

“The suggestion the UK has not set out a ‘landing zone’ is solely fallacious. Our July 2021 Command Paper and the authorized textual content that adopted it have been a really clear touchdown zone, defined in vital element.

“That July paper was additionally very clear that the function of the Court of Justice needed to be eliminated. So it’s merely fallacious to say that I raised it for the primary time in October in my Lisbon speech or that the purpose was to wreck the talks course of.

“If the Protocol problem is to be resolved, Ireland & the EU need to engage with what we have actually said. I’ve always been clear a negotiated way forward would be best. But if HMG positions are ignored or misrepresented it is hardly surprising unilateral action is on the table.”

‘Destabilising impact’

Speaking on the official opening of Cork ARC Cancer Support’s new dwelling at Sarsfield House in Wilton, Mr Martin stated that he had spoken with Mr Johnson earlier this week and made clear to him that any unilateral motion by the UK authorities could be a mistake.

“I made it clear that any move unilaterally to undermine the protocol would have a destabilising impact on Northern Ireland and, in my view, what is important, the British government needs to work professionally with the European Union in terms of resolving any issues about the protocol.”

The British prime minister has stated that the protocol is popping right into a political drawback and that it isn’t working within the context of Northern Ireland. He has demanded adjustments to it regardless of agreeing to it in 2019 and the British authorities has warned that it’s going to act unilaterally to vary the protocol if settlement can’t be reached with the EU.

Mr Martin stated: “The United Kingdom government need to put the stability of the political situation in Northern Ireland first and foremost – these issues can be resolved – and I know unionism stands ready to resolve them as well.”

Parallel discussions

Mr Martin stated that he believed the answer to the present stand-off over the DUP’s refusal to enter the manager until the protocol situation is resolved, was to get the meeting up and operating in parallel with discussions on the protocol.

“Discussions around the protocol should be parallel with the restoration of the executive and the restoration of the assembly because democracy means there is a duty on all parties to fulfil the mandate given to them by the people and that is to set up the assembly and to set up the executive,” Mr Martin stated.

“Then the executive and the assembly can make a strong contribution to the resolution of the issues around the protocol, but I think the British government needs to think long and hard on its strategy and its approach because in my view, its unilateral approach is not helpful whatsoever.”

Earlier, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has stated she meant to inform Mr Johnson on Monday morning that his techniques in relation to the Brexit protocol are “shameful and disgraceful”.

Ms McDonald stated the British authorities is conniving with the DUP to stymie the desire of the citizens as expressed within the Northern Ireland Assembly elections the place Sinn Féin emerged as the largest celebration.

Speaking following a gathering of the Sinn Féin’s ard comhairle in Dublin, she referred to as on the worldwide neighborhood to “call out” the British authorities on its absence of excellent religion in relation to the protocol.

Ms McDonald accused Mr Johnson of utilizing the North as a “pawn in a wider game played out with the European Union and this is clearly a shameful tactic and approach”.

“Lets be clear – the protocol is going nowhere. The protocol is a necessary outworking of Brexit which the Tory Party and the DUP campaigned for. We will not be collateral damage in the Brexit negotiations,” she stated.

She anticipated that each the US authorities and the EU will inform the British authorities “loud and clear” that their makes an attempt to vary the protocol is not going to be accepted.

Sinn Féin’s Assembly chief Michelle O’Neill stated Sinn Féin turned up because it promised to do for the meeting.

“The people voted for politics to work, for people to work together. The DUP are punishing the public for their own Brexit mess. They are being facilitated in that by the Tories,” she added.

“When Boris Johnson involves Belfast on Monday, we are going to make it very clear to him that they’re punishing the general public and that it isn’t acceptable.

“Boris Johnson has no mandate on the island of Ireland yet he is facilitating this DUP madness. I want the opportunity to be in the office of First Minister.”

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