Meddling Macron teams up with Ireland as Boris Johnson issued message in tense border row

Micheál Martin discusses Northern Ireland Protocol

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The Irish Prime Minister and French President teamed up to send a joint message to the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Protocol, part of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by the UK and Brussels, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

This means checks on goods being sent from Great Britain into the single market in some cases could result in prohibitions on certain products that do not comply with EU rules.

However, following unionist anger over the Protocol at Stormont and trading difficulties experienced by hundreds of businesses, Brexit minister Lord Frost put forward plans to renegotiate the Protocol, which are currently being considered by the European Commission.

Following a visit by President Macron to Dublin today, Mr Martin said “positive and constructive future partnership is in everyone’s interest” to resolve the Protocol issues.

In a message for London, Mr Martin added: “The EU has demonstrated commitment, patience and creativity in its work to implement the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol.


“With the right political will, I believe that it will be possible to find sensible solutions to some of the outstanding issues, within the framework of the Protocol.

“Both the President and I strongly support the EU team and the positive approach it is taking in seeking to advance this work.”

And in an apparent swipe at Boris Johnson and the UK Government, the Irish Taoiseach pointed out “as consequence of Brexit, France is now Ireland’s nearest neighbour in the EU.”

He concluded: “A positive and constructive future partnership is in everyone’s interest.

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“But it will only be delivered if there is a relationship of trust, and a willingness to deliver on commitments entered into.”

This afternoon, the French Government backed Mr Martin’s calls and urged the UK to be more “cooperative” in tackling the Northern Ireland Protocol.

A Paris source told the Irish Taoiseach’s message was a “clear reminder” the UK needed to have a “constructive relationship” with European neighbours.

Speaking during his visit to Ireland, President Macron said Ireland “occupies a precious place in the heart of the European dream”.

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He said France will “remain a faithful friend” to Ireland in future.

He wrote in Irish President Michael D Higgins guestbook: “Because Ireland has constantly struggled in favour of peace, was a land of the silent before it became the land of the welcome, because its society showed solidarity and is open, Ireland occupies a precious place in the heart of the European dream.

“Your invitation on this day to meet the minds which shape Ireland is a great honour and a source of inspiration.

“France is your closest neighbour within the European Union and will remain a faithful friend for the future. In confidence, Emmanuel Macron.”

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