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Growing view in Northern Ireland that Brexit protocol is working – Irish premier

The Taoiseach was speaking to reporters at the Embassy of Ireland in London.

12 March 2022

Irish premier Micheal Martin has said there is an increasing view within Northern Ireland that the Brexit protocol is working.

The Taoiseach said everyone he has met in Northern Ireland wants continued access to the EU single market.

His comments come after Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said on Friday he will not go back into the Stormont Executive until the matter of the protocol is dealt with.

Brexit
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson speaking at a rally in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol at Crossgar Orange Hall (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Martin was asked what the Irish government’s communication channels were like with the DUP and how likely it is that the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol will be resolved by the time of the elections.

Speaking to reporters at the Embassy of Ireland in London, Mr Martin said the Irish government has good channels of communication with all parties in Northern Ireland.

He said: “What’s very interesting from our perspective though is that what’s increasing and growing is a view within Northern Ireland, particularly in Northern Ireland business and industry, that the protocol is working in terms of inward investment into Northern Ireland, and in terms of access to the EU single market.

“So anybody I’ve met in Northern Ireland all want to continue access to the EU single market. It’s a good basic principle to start off on. And my view, given the improved relationship between the UK and the EU as a result of the partnership on Ukraine, I would like to think that in the fullness of time we will be able to resolve this issue.

Taoiseach visit to UK
Taoiseach Micheal Martin arriving to speak to the media at the Embassy of Ireland in London (James Manning/PA)

“But we’ll take it step by step. And there’s a channel there between the European Union and the United Kingdom that’s ongoing and we’re going to take this step by step.”

Sir Jeffrey was applauded at Crossgar Orange Hall on Friday night as he said his party would not re-enter the Stormont Executive until the Government acts to “protect Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom”.

Paul Givan resigned as first minister earlier this year as part of the DUP’s action against the protocol in a move which also removed deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill from the joint office.

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