The British Government’s latest threat to scrap the Northern Ireland protocol is counter-productive and entirely unnecessary, Fine Gael’s European Affairs spokesperson Neale Richmond has said.
Dublin Rathdown TD, Neale Richmond, called on the British Government to quit the political games and engage with the EU and European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič on the EU’s proposals on the protocol in good faith.
“Once again we are seeing the British Government through media leaks outline their intention to try and override the Northern Ireland protocol with domestic legislation to remove checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“That we are seeing these pointless threats raised again is deeply depressing, even more so given that this move comes mere days after the people of Northern Ireland reaffirmed their support for the protocol in electing 54 pro-Protocol MLAs out of a total of 90 in Stormont.
“Clearly, the British Government is not willing to represent the will of all the people of Northern Ireland, and is instead pandering to the minority of those throughout the UK who insist on taking issue with the protocol, while refusing to engage with the EU on alternative options.
“At a time where much attention is being given to international law, does the British Government really want to violate international law? Such a move would open the United Kingdom up to legal action from the EU once again, including the possibility of tariffs on UK exports and even the possibility of the suspension of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“With the people of Northern Ireland facing into yet another Stormont stalemate as the DUP repeat their insistence that they will not nominate a Deputy First Minister, the last thing they need is the British Government playing political games with their remaining link to the EU.
“The EU have already proposed sensible and practical solutions to the problems identified with the protocol and over the past few weeks, the issue regarding the importation of medicines was resolved by the EU.
“In times like this, it is worth recalling that no one forced the British Government to sign up to the protocol; they themselves negotiated each line and every detail, voted it through Parliament and sold it to the people of the UK.
“The British Government should quit their political games and engage with the EU in good faith to find a solution to benefit everyone, most importantly the people of Northern Ireland,” Deputy Richmond concluded.