Statement by Minister Coveney on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s statement of intention to table legislation to dis-apply parts of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
I deeply regret the decision of the British government to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that will unilaterally dis-apply elements of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Such unilateral action in respect of an internationally binding agreement is damaging to trust and will serve only to make it more challenging to find solutions to the genuine concerns that people in Northern Ireland have about how the Protocol is being implemented.
At a time when people in Northern Ireland have chosen their elected representatives and want to get the Executive back up and running, the path chosen by the British government is of great concern. It undermines political stability and confidence in Northern Ireland’s economy. The British and Irish Governments have a shared responsibility to support the institutions. This unilateral action is contrary to the wishes of people and business in Northern Ireland.
I welcome that the Foreign Secretary has expressed her preference for a negotiated solution with the EU. The EU has indicated that it is ready and willing to resume talks with the UK at any time.
I have listened carefully to the genuine concerns of people and business in Northern Ireland around the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and having a greater say on how the Protocol works. There is a basis for solutions to all of these issues in the package of Proposals brought forward by the Commission last year. I fully agree with Commission Vice President Šefčovič’s view that there is further potential to be explored in these proposals.
I have spoken to Vice-President Šefčovič and many of my EU counterparts in recent days and it is clear that the EU remains united in its commitment to Northern Ireland. With the full support of the Member States, Commission Vice-President Šefčovič and his team have been consistent in their readiness to work with the UK to reach agreement on pragmatic and flexible solutions. Jointly agreed solutions are the only sustainable way forward to bring certainty and prosperity for all in Northern Ireland.
17 May 2022