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Taoiseach says there's an 'obligation' to consider Article 16's impact on the peace process

Micheál Martin has called on the Progressive Unionist Party to reconsider their withdrawal of support for the Good Friday Agreement

Image: PA

TAOISEACH MICHEAL MARTIN has said he thinks it would be “reckless and irresponsible” to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol and has urged the UK to consider the impact this would have on the peace process, as well as EU-UK relations. 

“I believe that all parties need to take on board the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and the relationship between Irish government and the British government, in terms of what has happened over the last 50 years,” Martin said, speaking at the official opening of Munster Technological University today.

He added that he doesn’t think “anything should be taken as inevitable” regarding ongoing talks between the EU and the UK government on triggering Article 16.

The relationship between UK and Ireland has been “central to the peace process (and) to the Good Friday Agreement”, he said. Nothing should be done unilaterally to “endanger that architecture”, he added. 

“And there’s an obligation on all parties to take those two fundamental sets of relationships into account before any action is taken.

“In my view triggering Article 16 would represent a very serious issue in the context of both those relationships.”

Asked whether Ireland should be preparing for a trade war, Martin said “we should be aware of self-fulfilling prophecies” and that “nothing is certain”.

In response to indications from the North’s Progressive Unionist Party that it would be withdrawing its support for the Good Friday Agreement, Martin said he would ask them to “reconsider that decision”.

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The Progressive Unionist Party said today that unionists should not support the peace deal because the consent principle, which is central to the 1998 accord, has been undermined by the protocol.

Martin said he “would not agree with the comments that have been attributed to that party this morning in respect of the agreement itself, or in terms of the issue of consent”.

With additional reporting by PA

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