Sir Jeffrey – “time to remove the dark shadow of the Protocol”

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP will meet the Republic of Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Friday morning in Belfast.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Sir Jeffrey said,

“Powersharing only works with the consent of Unionists and Nationalists. For two and half years every unionist MLA and MP in Northern Ireland has been voicing opposition to the Protocol. There must be new arrangements if we are to move forward.

We want to see the institutions working fully and relationships restored but that can only happen by building consensus. The Unionist viewpoint can no longer be ignored.

The Protocol has damaged both Northern Ireland’s economic and democratic arrangements. It must be resolved or both our political and economic future will be bleak. It must be replaced by arrangements that can command the support of Unionists as well as Nationalists.

We are happy to engage with the Taoiseach regarding the Protocol and how our two countries operate on matters of mutual concern. The functioning of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, however, are entirely matters for the Northern Ireland parties and the UK government.

The time for denial is over. The Protocol has failed. The day London, Dublin and Brussels decided to move ahead without Unionist support was a mistake. Dublin must belatedly recognise that if nothing is fixed then there will be no progress.

There is a great prize of stable devolution if we can remove the dark shadow of the Protocol from our politics. The choice is clear. The current protocol is incompatible with the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The Irish Government can’t have both. Now is the time to find a better way forward. I believe that is possible.”

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