Speaking to Sky News, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should “very seriously consider” decisions over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Mr Martin’s comments come as Mr Johnson warned he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, a comment which has stoked tensions amongst EU leaders. The Irish premier explained how tensions can be avoided after US President Joe Biden’s piled into the debate and stressed options should be explored.
Mr Martin said: “I believe the US administration’s comments are interesting as well in so far as they deal with a significant issue that would concern the British government, i.e. the capacity to do a trade deal with the United States.
“Whilst also having an SPS arrangement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
“In my view, there’s a legitimate issue there for the United Kingdom government but in our view, an SPS agreement would deal with up to 80% of all of these issues and I think it’s a prize worth certainly exploring in the fullest manner possible.”
He added: “It’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into not too long ago.
“And if there’s consistent unilateral deviation from that agreement that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in
Mr Martin went on to discuss Joe Biden’s comments about the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol on the Good Friday Agreement.
He said: “He (Biden) doesn’t want discussions around the Protocol to undermine the Good Friday Agreement and he also wants to see full engagement and he believes there’s a way and a route, as I do, to getting these issues resolved.”
The Irish PM stressed how the protocol: “Doesn’t in any way interfere with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as defined and articulated in the Good Friday Agreement, we’re very clear from the Irish government perspective on that.
“But we do believe in seamless trade on the island of Ireland, it makes sense… and we believe in seamless trade, in so far as we possibly can, between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.”
More to follow…