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19th Jun 2022

Taoiseach slams new NI Protocol Bill as “economic vandalism”

Hugh Carr

micheal martin ni protocol

“It represents unilateralism of the worst kind.”

Micheál Martin left little room for interpretation on how he feels about the latest development in the NI Protocol saga, describing a new bill from the UK government as “economic vandalism”.

The Taoiseach made the comments on BBC’s Sunday Morning Live programme today (19 June).

“Well first of all, the unilateral decision of the British Government to bring in legislation to undermine or to give the power to undermine all aspects of the protocol is not acceptable,” Martin said.

“It represents unilateralism of the worst kind – in terms of honouring & adhering to international agreements that governments adhere to and sign up to and ratify in their parliaments.

“We accept fully there are legitimate issues with the operation of the protocol and we believe, with serious sustained negotiation between the EU and the United Kingdom Government, those issues can be resolved.”

The new bill hopes to implement “red” and “green” lanes for products to travel between the UK, but to maintain full checks on items from the EU entering Northern Ireland.

“It effectively would be severely damaging to the Northern Ireland economy, particularly in the context of the dual regulatory standards approach now being put forward by the British Government which is deeply concerning to industry and businesses in Northern Ireland,” Martin added.

“In effect, it represents a form of economic vandalism on Northern Ireland because if you look at any objective data, it shows that the Northern Ireland economy is doing very well. Manufacturing is doing very well, the dairy industry, the meat industry, the food industry generally and agriculture is doing very well.

“There are certain areas where we can improve the protocol and we should continue to do that.”

Simon Coveney also recently heavily criticised moves to change the NI Protocol, describing the unilateral decision of the UK Government as “deliberately ratcheting up tension with an EU seeking compromise”.

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