UK Government has ‘moved the goalposts’ on Northern Ireland Protocol – Taoiseach

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the UK Government has moved the goalposts on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

r Martin told reporters in Belfast following meetings with political and business leaders.
that London has “widened the picture” around protocol issues.

His comments came after the DUP drove a Stormont stalemate when he refused to go into a power-sharing government with Sinn Féin unless their issues with the protocol were solved.

London this week indicated that it will move to scrap parts of the protocol, and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney this morning met with British foreign secretary Liz Truss.

“On the UK government side, we haven’t quite got a clear landing, or as others would say in the European Union, what would square the circle, so to speak and the goalposts keep moving in that respect,” said Mr Martin.

“This week, the UK government again indicates a widening of the picture in terms of resolving issues arising out of the protocol.

“Our genuine desire, as a member of the European Union and understanding the issues in the north and having listened to the concerns in the north, has been trying to resolve those issues.”

He called on the UK government to work with the EU and hold “parallel discussions” around the protocol.

He urged the UK government to “get in there and negotiate in a serious way”.

“This was a deal that the UK government signed up to, ratified in their parliament and they are now unhappy with aspects of it.

“Well, let’s try to resolve those aspects in a meaningful way and that means getting into the tunnel and negotiate in a serious way,” he said.

“We accept that legitimate issues have been raised in the context of the protocol, but it is our view that they can be resolved.”

He said that “serious, substantive negotiations” are something that “needs to happen” and is “the only way to resolve this issue”.

Mr Martin said that the “narrative” that the NI protocol is damaging to the economy in the north “doesn’t quite stand up”.

He said that the government structures which are already in place in the north cannot be changed to help solve the stalemate which arose out of the recent election.

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