The Irish deputy premier has warned the UK Government against taking unilateral action on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“We can’t have any unilateral action from the UK. This is an international agreement, they have to honour their obligations. I was in the Wirral with Boris Johnson. I know what he agreed to,” Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said.
He told RTE radio that there is a majority of MLAs in the Northern Ireland Assembly who support the post-Brexit arrangements for the region.
“The people of Northern Ireland voted and they did not vote for a majority of MLAs who want the protocol to be scrapped. So the British government has to have regard to that. This is a democracy and an election just happened.
“The British prime minister and the Secretary of State need to be wise to that, if they’re not already,” he said.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin spoke to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone earlier today.
In a tweet, the Irish premier said: “We both agreed on the need to see the NI Executive formed as soon as possible. On the Protocol, I stressed need to intensify EU and UK discussions, and to avoid any unilateral action.”
Boris Johnson told Martin the situation surrounding the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland is “now very serious”.
Downing Street’s account of the call read: “Following last week’s Northern Ireland Assembly elections, they both agreed on the vital importance of restoring the devolved institutions, both the Assembly and Executive, as soon as possible. The Prime Minister said that the UK Government would remain in close contact with the parties following initial engagement yesterday.
“The Prime Minister made clear that the situation in respect of the Northern Ireland Protocol was now very serious.”Boris Johnson spokesperson
The balance of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement was being undermined and the recent elections had further demonstrated that the Protocol was not sustainable in its current form.
“Despite repeated efforts by the UK Government over many months to fix the Protocol, including those sections related to the movement of goods and governance, the European Commission had not taken the steps necessary to help address the economic and political disruption on the ground.
“The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK Government would take action to protect peace and political stability in Northern Ireland if solutions could not be found.”