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We want the NI Protocol to work as smoothly as possible, says Taoiseach as he insists his government recognises unionist concerns

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at a climate conference at the SSE Arena Belfast while on a day-long visit to Belfast. Picture: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at a climate conference at the SSE Arena Belfast while on a day-long visit to Belfast. Picture: PA

PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at a climate conference at the SSE Arena Belfast while on a day-long visit to Belfast. Picture: PA

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said his government recognises the "genuine concerns" of some of those in Northern Ireland regarding the Protocol, however he is standing by his position that the mechanism needs to work "as smoothly as possible".

Mr Martin was speaking at an all-island climate change event in Belfast, alongside First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, where he also stressed cross-border co-operation is needed to tackle the climate crisis.

The Fianna Fail leader said his government has contributed €1bn to its Shared Island fund for north/south projects.

Regarding the ongoing negotiations over the Protocol, which was designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods, Mr Martin said: "I, and my Government, recognise the genuine concerns of some in Northern Ireland on certain aspects of the operation of the protocol.

"We are engaging closely on these issues with all communities in Northern Ireland. I will be listening carefully to the views of all those I meet today from business, civil society and across all communities.

"My consistent position has been to get the protocol working as smoothly as possible for people and for business in Northern Ireland.

"I have no doubt about the readiness of the EU to engage in good faith in this same spirit."

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Under the Irish Government's revised National Development Plan, published earlier this week, Mr Martin said his government has set out its investment priorities to tackle climate change, to:

  • Deliver the North/South Interconnector, which will enhance the Single Electricity Market and facilitate the integration of renewable electricity into the power system;
  • Support cross-border climate action partnerships and interventions;
  • Invest in coordinated roll-out of Electric Vehicle charging networks across the island; and,
  • Explore cross-border approaches on renewable energy.

"Effectively tackling climate change demands that we marshal our financial resources, coordinate our policy interventions and work with common strategic purpose," Mr Martin said.

"The Irish Government will keep working strenuously to that end: by listening to stakeholders across the island; by working with the Executive and with the UK Government; and by and seeking to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement.

"A sustainable, shared future for all on this island requires nothing less."


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