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Political will ‘certainly there’ from EU to resolve NI Protocol issues – Martin

‘I think it really is a time to engage and ensure we get a resolution to these issues’, Micheal Martin said.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Irish premier Micheal Martin said there is political will from the European Union to resolve the issues stemming from the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Martin said there is now a window of opportunity to “knuckle down” after a deal was reached to extend the grace period on chilled meats to avoid a trade dispute.

Speaking at Government Buildings in Dublin, Mr Martin said it is “very important” that the UK Government works constructively with the European Union.

He said the mechanisms in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement are in place to resolve issues such as the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin said there is political will from the EU is resolve Brexit trade issues

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said there is political will from the EU is resolve Brexit trade issues

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin said there is political will from the EU is resolve Brexit trade issues

“I made the point that I do think the UK Government should acknowledge and respond and reciprocate the generosity of spirit that has been demonstrated by the European Union side but also the degree to which they’re entering into these discussions with goodwill,” Mr Martin added.

“I know from having talked to European leaders that they’re anxious to resolve this.

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“When there’s a will, there’s a way.

“The political will is certainly there from the European Union side and I think the United Kingdom wants to get this resolved as well.

“I think it really is a time to engage and ensure we get a resolution to these issues.

“I think the announcement last week has been significant and represents progress.

There's a window of opportunity now given the extension that has been granted to knuckle down and get these issues resolvedMicheal Martin

“The pathway has been laid out, and I think the EU has indicated that it is very anxious to get these issues resolved.”

Last week the EU announced a number of solutions to ease the implementation of the Protocol.

As well as extending the grace period on chilled meats, it changed its own rules to allow medicines to continue to flow from the UK into Northern Ireland and waived the obligation to show the motor insurance Green Card for drivers from the UK.

Unionists – who have demonstrated against the UK-EU treaty in recent months – have complained the terms of the Protocol are splitting Northern Ireland from Great Britain and hitting the pockets of businesses, with suppliers either giving up exporting across the Irish Sea or facing added checks and costs to do so.

Mr Martin said the EU is “very conscious” of the issues that have been identified.

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People take part in a Loyalist protest in Newtownards, County Down, against the Northern Ireland Protocol (Brian Lawless/PA)

People take part in a Loyalist protest in Newtownards, County Down, against the Northern Ireland Protocol (Brian Lawless/PA)

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People take part in a Loyalist protest in Newtownards, County Down, against the Northern Ireland Protocol (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I think last week’s deal indicated the European Union’s goodwill in this regard, I think the visit of the German Chancellor (Angela Merkel) to Chequers is further evidence of the will of the European Union at a commission level and a political level to get these issues resolved.

“There’s a window of opportunity now given the extension that has been granted to knuckle down and get these issues resolved.”

Mr Martin said the issues were to be discussed at the last North-South Ministerial Council however it was cancelled because of the fallout within the DUP.

Mr Martin also said he has not spoken to DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson about the issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“In respect of the protocol we haven’t had a formal meeting yet or indeed a meeting with Jeffrey Donaldson but we will in the fullness of time, and I think he obviously will require a certain degree of space in terms of having assumed the leadership of the DUP.

“Then we will also meet with (Ulster Unionist leader) Doug Beattie.”


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