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Irish Premier hails positives of NI protocol amid political tensions | UK | News

Mr Martin stated it was “good to hear” some of the positives popping out of the Northern Ireland protocol whereas the Executive was nonetheless unable to type over continued disagreements. He stated there have been apparent points “over consumer-facing goods”, however the “big takeaway” from the meeting was that many companies have “managed to navigate and deal with the protocol”. 

Mr Martin stated: “We had a very interesting meeting with the Brexit and Business Working group. 

“It was good to hear, actually, during that meeting of the many beneficial impacts of the Northern Ireland protocol on many sectors of the Northern Ireland economy. 

“That group represents manufacturers, exporters, agriculture, small business, and quite a number of them were very clear in articulating how beneficial the protocol has been in terms of their particular sectors. 

“Now there were others who clearly raised issues in terms of other aspects of the protocol, particularly over consumer-facing goods on the retail side. 

“But the big takeaway was the majority of businesses at this stage have managed to navigate and deal with the protocol itself in their practical respect. 

“What industries are very anxious about is, no matter who comes up with solutions, be they unilaterally produced solutions or whatever, they should pass the test of pragmatism and of the real world of industry and business. 

“There were a lot of ideas in this group that clearly called for a more reflective and detailed examination [of the protocol] from all sides, particularly from the political domain in relation to new solutions going forwards.” 

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But talking after a meeting with the Irish Premier, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, chief of the Democratic Unionist Party, stated the protocol wanted “fundamental change”, including that “nothing short of that will suffice”. 

He stated: “We spelled it out very clearly to him the problems with the protocol, the harm it is doing to Northern Ireland and that we need a solution, we need decisive action to deal with these problems.

“We will not be desirous about a sticking plaster method, or tinkering across the edges, it must be basic change which respects Northern Ireland’s place inside the UK inside market and nothing quick of that may suffice.”

Concerning the British Government’s publication of revisions to the protocol, Sir Jeffrey added: “I need the establishments to function as quickly as potential however I’m not going to telegram to the Government what I’m going to do till we see what this laws says, that’s basically essential.

“I want the people of Northern Ireland to see what the Government is proposing to do, that is why publishing the legislation is important and once we see that legislation of course we will consider what our next step will be.”

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Sinn Fein vice chairman Michelle O’Neill in the meantime accused the DUP of “denying democracy” by refusing to enter authorities in Northern Ireland.

Ms O’Neill stated: “There are parties here that want to be in government together, there are parties that want to be in the executive but unfortunately the DUP, sponsored by the British Government, are holding back all of that progress and preventing us from being able to start to put money in people’s pockets.”

“I very much welcome the fact that the Taoiseach is here in Belfast this morning. I am glad of the opportunity to talk to him, as will all of the other parties have their opportunity.

“He has a really important position in phrases of being the co-guarantor of our peace settlement and due to this fact has a stewardship position to play.

“At a time the place democracy is being denied, at a time the place the DUP are persevering with to forestall the facilitation of an Executive being fashioned, an govt that would begin to ship for the general public, I feel it can be crucial that he’s right here to say his position and to take heed to all of the events.”

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