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A poster calling for the Northern Ireland Protocol to be scrapped PA
eu-uk relations

MEPs issue call for US to play prominent role in resolving EU-UK tensions over NI Protocol

Barry Andrews, Fianna Fáil MEP for Dublin, said that the US Congressional delegation added “nothing whatsoever”.

Tadgh McNally reports from the European Parliament in Brussels:

FIANNA FÁIL MEPS have called for the US to play a more prominent role in resolving tensions between the EU and UK, following the publication of legislation to override the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Earlier this month, the UK Government have introduced a bill to the House of Commons that would unilaterally override significant parts of the Protocol, including scrapping checks for goods travelling between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Barry Andrews, a Fianna Fáil MEP for Dublin, told reporters this afternoon that the US needed to get involved and play a “proactive role”.

“The US government needs to take a little bit more proactive role… It feels to me like they’re not involved in this at this moment in time.”

Andrews added that the UK’s attempts to unilaterally override the Northern Ireland Protocol was “diplomatic vandalism”, saying that it puts Ireland’s place within the EU at risk.

“I think it’s diplomatic vandalism because it puts at risk the two cornerstones of our European and international policy, which is the protection of the Good Friday Agreement and our status within the EU,” said Andrews.

He said that the previous US Congress delegation to Ireland and Northern Ireland added “nothing whatsoever”, and that threats to abandon a US-UK trade deal was never a possibility.

I don’t think the US Congressional committee that came over added anything whatsoever. Talking about threatening the potential US-UK trade deal, and there’s no possibility of that happening.

4952 Richard Neal The US Congress delegation, including senior Democrat Richard Neal

Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South, said that there was “no goodwill” coming from the UK and that this was just domestic politics playing out on an international stage.

“My concern is that there’s no goodwill coming from the UK and this is primarily Tory domestic politics,” said Kelleher.

“There is just a deep unwillingness from the Tories perspective to settle because it just plays into politics at the moment.”

Fine Gael MEP, Seán Kelly, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol would “not be renegotiated, full stop”.

He added that the EU would not be backing down if the bill is passed onto the UK statute books, but that he hoped the UK would back down and return to the negotiating table.

“If they go ahead with it and it’s passed, then the EU is not going to back down. They can’t,” said Kelly.

“I think what might happen and hoping what might happen is that they will change their minds.”

Yesterday, European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said that the current UK Government approach of unilateral action on the Northern Ireland Protocol is not helpful for relationships between the UK and EU, especially while both sides are working together on the war in Ukraine.

“We need to resolve this particular issue. I would be concerned that it is not looking like it will be resolved in the medium term and that poses problems everywhere because we need it to be resolved,” she said.

“I think six years after the Brexit referendum, we have huge unfinished business and it shouldn’t be because we can solve these problems, but not unilaterally.”

Previously, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the legislation was a “reasonable, practical solution to the problems facing Northern Ireland” and reasserted that the plan did not break international law.

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