Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said if the UK government takes steps to break the Northern Ireland protocol, it will “crash the whole mess” of the already troubled Brexit deal.
Mr Ahern told Piers Morgan on TalkTV tonight that any attempt by the UK to change the deal would likely result in trade sanctions from the EU.
He said both the Irish and US governments were “very upset” by the UK government’s recent actions.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has told the EU that London will unilaterally lift its commitments under the Brexit deal signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in autumn 2019. The deal was later finalized with a new EU-UK trade deal on Christmas Eve 2020.
Ms Truss said the London Government will soon tear up parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, despite obligations under international law.
“Boris Johnson negotiated this protocol with the Irish Government and the European Union and said within months of negotiating that he did not like it and that it was a bad idea,” Mr Ahern said.
“If the UK government breaks protocol arbitrarily, there will be a response from Europe. They’ll probably start looking at parts of the trade deal and it’ll just mess things up.
“Several ministers in the last 24 hours, secretaries of state including the Attorney General seem to be suggesting that the UK Government is prepared to unilaterally change the protocol without consulting the Irish Government or Europe and that would just be absolute chaos. ”
Morgan echoed Mr Ahern’s comments and accused the UK government of “betraying” the deal.
The Protocol gave Northern Ireland full access to the EU’s single market of 450 million people and access to markets in England, Scotland and Wales of over 60 million people.
Referring to the potential for a future border poll, Mr Ahern said “preparatory work” was needed before a vote was called and politicians needed to work to allay the concerns of “most” trade unionists.
“Hopefully the work will be completed and there will be a border survey. It’s up to the people what they decide,” he said.
“It should be done on an informed consent basis. The only thing we don’t need on the island of Ireland is to go back to the troubled days. It will be the ability of politicians to see over the next 20 years whether they can both do the preparatory work and be able to negotiate and please most trade unionists.
“I don’t think you’ll ever get everyone on board, and probably no one should expect that, but it will be a challenge… If we can’t even solve the protocol, how are we going to solve the bigger problems that lie below?” Street.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/bertie-ahern-tells-piers-morgan-the-british-government-risks-making-a-total-mess-over-northern-ireland-protocol-41644736.html Bertie Ahern tells Piers Morgan the UK government is risking making ‘total chaos’ over the Northern Ireland Protocol