Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the DUP had wrongly placed power-sharing conditions in order to restore a functioning executive branch in Northern Ireland after the assembly elections.
r Martin said the UK government must now “proactively” work with the European Union to resolve issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol, to which unionist parties and the UK are calling for further changes.
“We have to get this straight,” the Taoiseach said of calls for changes to the protocol, adding that negotiations for changes to the trade deal had already secured Northern Ireland’s full access to products such as medicines.
He said the main goal is to make trading “as seamless as possible”.
“There has already been progress on medicines, tremendous progress has been made on that,” said Mr. Martin. “It’s been done, we have to nail some of that now, the election is over and very significant progress has been made on the medicines front and we’re ready to get back into action.”
He also said the outcome of the election was significant.
“Yes, I think everyone should think about the result, it’s a significant result as Sinn Féin and a nationalist party are now in a position to have the First Minister. If you look at the election campaign, all parties except TÜV were focused on the cost of living, the very basic bread-and-butter issues that affect people,” he said.
“We hear people’s concerns about the functioning of the protocol, the European Union has signaled and already concretely demonstrated its ability to be flexible and make progress towards improving the functioning of the protocol for all stakeholders.
“The UK government must now proactively work with the EU to resolve issues surrounding the protocol, it will not be removed but it is important for it to work for all parties involved and it can be done if there is a political will from all.” there are pages on this.
Mr Martin said this election is focused on current hot topics and political parties could “lose” if they don’t act on them.
“Basically, the real lessons from this election are that people want their public representatives to carry out their mandates, take their seats and get the Executive to work for the people of Northern Ireland,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
“This was very much an election held on topical issues that affect people in their daily lives and so I think parties could lose if they don’t respond to what people have on their doorstep regarding this bread and butter said problems.
“The difficulty with this is that if issues around protocol were resolved before the election, it would never have been enough.
“In my opinion, the parties should meet, they should form an elective and, in parallel, talks with the EU and the UK should pick up more intensity now that the election is over.”
Mr Martin said he did not think the UK Government’s assessment of the European Union’s position on the Protocol was “fair”.
He said the EU needed a clear indication that “people are in the mood” to resolve issues surrounding the protocol.
“I think the European has shown flexibility, but every time the EU has shown flexibility so far, it hasn’t been reciprocated. I think the moment is now for both the EU and the UK,” he said.
“Nobody in Northern Ireland has ever told me they want to stop all access or end access to the EU single market.
“My view is that the UK government wants to see this through, the UK government has said time and time again that the only reason in the last UK general election was to get Brexit through.
“Any further negative development on this front would prove that Brexit is not going through. I would like to think that the UK Government will approach this with a determination to resolve this reasonably with the EU.
“The main goal is to make trading as seamless as possible. We are ready to engage, but the European Union needs a clear sign that people are in the mood to get this sorted and resolved.”
The Taoiseach said the idea of a border survey was “almost buried” in the Sinn Féin manifesto. He said it was not the dominant theme of the campaign.
“During the election there was no talk of a United Ireland. We all support a United Ireland, but it was striking and it has to be said, that wasn’t the mandate that Sinn Féin has been seeking for the last three weeks,” he said.
“The border survey was almost buried by its documentation and manifesto. And once the votes are counted, it’s back in focus.
“The clear message of the election for me is that people want the institutions to work, they want a fully functioning executive branch.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/we-have-to-nail-this-uk-must-now-engage-proactively-with-eu-to-resolve-protocol-issues-micheal-martin-says-41629966.html “We need to get this straight” – the UK must now “proactively” engage with the EU to resolve issues with the protocol, says Micheál Martin