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13th Jun 2022

Coveney fires back at UK Government plans to change NI Protocol

Hugh Carr

NI Protocol Simon Coveney

Coveney said the UK’s proposals “add to instability and is no fix”.

Simon Coveney has slammed the UK Government’s plans to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol in another twist in the Brexit saga.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence spoke to UK Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss on Monday morning (13 June).

“UK [Government] now proposing to set aside Int(ernational) Law, reject a partnership approach, ignore majority in NI and deliberately ratched up tension with an EU seeking compromise,” Coveney tweeted following the call.

“We remain open to dialogue to find agreement but [this] approach adds to instability and is no fix.”

Truss confirmed that there would be a bill related to the protocol announced today.

“Spoke to Simon Coveney about the Bill we’re announcing today to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland and uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement,” Truss said.

“We remain open to negotiations with the EU, but we cannot wait to fix the issues facing the people of Northern Ireland.”

The Protocol, a piece of legislation which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has been a source of much debate over the past few months.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has said in recent weeks that his party will not form an Executive in Stormont until issues with the Protocol are resolved.

“Unionist concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol are not merely some political squabble which is impacting upon Stormont,” Donaldson said.

“The protocol is a direct challenge to the principles that have underpinned every agreement reached in Northern Ireland over the last 25 years,” he added.

“The economic and political damage to Northern Ireland we see now is merely the tip of the iceberg and will only increase significantly as time moves on.”

In not forming an Executive, the Government in Northern Ireland can’t commence, meaning Sinn Féin’s recent success at the polls has yet to come into effect.