Martin and O'Neill raise 'serious concerns' about British moves on Northern Ireland protocol

Taoiseach and Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland discuss Stormont stalemate and risks it wll bring
Martin and O'Neill raise 'serious concerns' about British moves on Northern Ireland protocol

Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill leaving Government Buildings in Dublin after meeting Irish premier Micheal Martin today (Monday).

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill have expressed serious concerns about Britain's attitude to the protocol.

As part of his ongoing engagement with political leaders in Northern Ireland, Mr Martin met this morning with Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin's leader in the north.

The meeting comes ahead of a meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Northern Ireland party leaders amid a Stormont stalemate due to the decision of the DUP to not nominate a deputy first minister.

A statement issued in the wake of the meeting between Mr Martin and Ms O'Neill raised concern over the British comments regarding the protocol.

"They expressed serious concern about possible unilateral moves on the Protocol by the British Government, which would have a destabilising impact on Northern Ireland," a statement said.

They recognised that there are genuine issues "regarding aspects of the implementation of the Protocol but these can be taken forward in the context of EU-UK discussions".

"Only agreed outcomes will provide the stability and certainty that Northern Ireland needs.

They both agreed on the importance of having the NI Assembly and Executive up and running as soon as possible.

The leaders agreed that the people of Northern Ireland voted for an Assembly less than two weeks ago. That the democratically elected Assembly is being impeded from sitting and doing its business is in nobody’s interests.

Ms O Neill tweeted that there is a priority to have a functioning Assembly and Executive without delay.

"The democratic outcome of the election must be respected. People cannot wait a day longer for parties to get to work on their behalf," she said.

The Taoiseach also met with EU Commissioner Mairéad McGuinness this morning.

They agreed the importance of urgent and real engagement by the UK Government with the EU towards resolving issues in implementation of the Protocol, and agreed also that any unilateral action by the UK would be destabilising and counterproductive.

“The Taoiseach took the opportunity to again express his thanks to the Commission team, especially Vice President Sefcovic, for the dedicated and patient work they are doing to find ways forward,” a statement said.

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