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DUP leader writes to French president explaining how Northern Ireland is part of the UK

Emmanuel Macron reportedly implied that Northern Ireland was a separate country.

File photo of Edwin Poots.
File photo of Edwin Poots.
Image: PA Images

THE DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST Party’s new leader has sent a copy of the Good Friday Agreement to French president Emmanuel Macron after he reportedly implied that Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that UK prime minister Boris Johnson attempted to explain his frustration with the Northern Ireland Protocol by asking Macron what he would do if sausages from Toulouse could not be moved to Paris.

The French president claimed the comparison did not work because Paris and Toulouse were both part of the same country, according to the paper.

It comes amid increased tensions over post-Brexit checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Boris Johnson warned that he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin warning that any unilateral action on extending the grace period would be ‘problematic’.

g7-summit Johnson and Macron pictured together at the G7 summit. Source: PA Images

In a statement today, Edwin Poots said:

“Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion that Northern Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom is offensive and demands a statement from the French administration which recognises Northern Ireland’s constitutional status.”

He suggested that Macron’s comments expose “ignorance” within the European Union. adding:

It’s five years since the referendum. Northern Ireland has been centre stage for most of that time yet the most powerful man in one of the most powerful EU countries still doesn’t realise that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It’s incredible.

Poots again called for the Northern Ireland Protocol to be removed.

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The Good Friday Agreement – also known as the Belfast Agreement – was passed by a large majority in referendums on both sides of the border in 1998 and states that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.

It can only form part of a united Ireland “subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland”.

It can be read in full here.

Contains reporting by Press Associaton

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Nicky Ryan

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