Taoiseach Micheal Martin will hold talks with political leaders in Belfast today amid ongoing deadlock at Stormont over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Taoiseach will also meet a range of business representatives on a visit that will be dominated by the political crisis over the contentious post-Brexit trading arrangements.
The Taoiseach’s visit comes in the wake of the UK Government’s controversial move to act unilaterally to scrap parts of the protocol.
While welcoming Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s announcement on Tuesday to legislate to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal treaty it struck with the EU, the DUP has said it will not immediately lift its powersharing boycott. It said it will instead adopt a “graduated and cautious” approach to re-engaging with the devolved institutions depending on the progress of the legislation.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said the party needs assurances over removal the Irish Sea trade border in the form of actions, not words.
Ahead of his meeting with the Taoiseach, Sir Jeffrey insisted operation of the Stormont institutions would not have the consent of unionism while the protocol remained in place.
“We are happy to engage with the Taoiseach regarding the protocol and how our two countries operate on matters of mutual concern. The functioning of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, however, are entirely matters for the Northern Ireland parties and the UK government,” he said.
Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy said there was no reason why an Executive and Assembly should not be formed at Stormont while the UK Government and the EU resolve issues over the protocol.
“Let’s get the Executive up and running, let’s get round the table discussing these issues, discussing how to fix the health service and to deal with the cost-of-living crisis,” he said.