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Taoiseach speaking in Rathmines today. Christina Finn
liz truss

Taoiseach says he 'takes heart' from UK PM's comments about Northern Ireland Protocol

Liz Truss said a negotiated solution with the EU would have to deliver ‘all of the things we set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill’

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN says he takes “heart” from the UK’s Prime Minister’s comments about the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

Liz Truss said a negotiated solution with the EU would have to deliver “all of the things we set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill”. 

Her comments came after former Northern Ireland secretary Shailesh Vara asked her to confirm that she will press ahead with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill if negotiations with the European bloc are not “forthcoming”.

Vara said: “It is the standard practice of the European Union that when they can’t get their way in negotiations with the UK, they play for time and wait for a new leader, who they hope will have a different view to their predecessor.

“For the sake of clarity, will my right honourable friend confirm that it is the UK’s preferred option to have a negotiated settlement as far as the Northern Ireland Protocol is concerned. But if that is not forthcoming, then we will proceed with the Protocol Bill that is currently going through Parliament?,” he said. 

Truss replied: “My preference is for a negotiated solution, but it does have to deliver all of the things we set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

“And what we cannot allow is for this situation to drift because my number one priority is protecting the supremacy of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”

Asked about her comments, Micheál Martin said: “I take heart from the Prime Minister’s comments that her preferred approach to the protocol issues is to have it resolved by negotiation. That is certainly our view also and that of the European Union.”

The Taoiseach said he looked forward to speaking to the Uk prime minister “within the next day or two”. 

“I look forward to talking to the British prime minister to put our own ideas and particularly to make it very clear that we believe there is a pathway to a resolution of the protocol issue.

“We accept that there has been legitimate issues raised in terms of the operation of the protocol. We also believe that the protocol has operated well, for different sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, particularly manufacturing and agriculture.

“There are certain issues around the consumer sector. And we believe with goodwill, the European Union is ready to be flexible and responsive. And if the European Union and United Kingdom can engage in a process, we believe there’s a pathway to resolving that particular issue,” said the Taoiseach. 

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