Brexit fallout slammed by Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin
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Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast with the corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the Irish premier said he was “frustrated” with primarily the impact the Northern Ireland Protocol, along with other post-Brexit issues, has had on relations but remained optimistic for a brighter future.
Discussing the issue of the protocol, Ms Kuenssberg asked: “If this cannot be resolved, what is the worst case scenario?”
The Irish premier replied: “I don’t want to be entering into a Doomsday scenario or making comments that might be perceived as threatening.
“But I think the implications have a clear trend here.”
He stressed how both Ireland and other EU leaders feel aggrieved by the ongoing disagreements within the Northern Ireland Protocol given that it was a “negotiated agreement” between the UK and the bloc.
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The Taoiseach also noted that the Protocol chaos has threatened serious setbacks with relations between the UK and EU.
He suggested: “Do we really want that to go into a period of stress?”
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg interjected noting how Mr Martin sounded “frustrated” as he relayed the current state of relations.
He replied how he is indeed frustrated about the current state of relations adding “I don’t think this needs to be where it is right now”.
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But the Taoiseach was clear that he “passionately” believes broken relations with the UK and the bloc can be “resolved” eventually.
Mr Martin highlighted this as he said that during his last meeting at the Prime Minister’s country retreat Chequers with Boris Johnson, the pair focused on the British and Irish relationship and the importance of preserving it.
But despite his optimism for a brighter future, he added how the issues which continue to roll on through the Northern Ireland Protocol are getting in the way of a “full flowering” of the two country’s relationship in the future.
His comments come as talks to resolve the chaos caused by the Northern Ireland protocol stalled yet again on Friday as UK and EU negotiators struggled to make concessions or reach a compromise to solve the trade crisis.
Speaking on Friday following a meeting with European Commission Vice President Marcos Sefcovic in Brussels, Chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost said the bloc are unwilling to relinquish the oversight of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland.
While he said some progress had been made and there was “potential to generate some momentum” in talks, he warned unless the EU compromised in discussions, triggering Article 16, the legal mechanism to suspend the treaty, may still be necessary in order to protect the integrity of the UK.
Setting out the EU’s plans, Mr Sefcovic said he wanted to create an “express line” for goods set to remain in Northern Ireland with little likelihood of entering the EU via the Republic of Ireland.
For months the UK has warned the Protocol is having a damaging impact on the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
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