Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney has raised concerns that the British government may unilaterally enact Northern Ireland Protocol laws to address the concerns of “one community” in Northern Ireland.
He said he had shown that this approach could be taken this week “if the EU does not give them everything they want”.
Speaking earlier on Sky News, Coveney warned that “this is not the way to approach a problem with a neighbor and a friend” and said it would create major problems for Ireland and “unnecessary tensions” with the EU. .
Minister Coveney said information this week from the British government had raised a “true red flag” in Dublin and Brussels.
“The British government is now threatening to violate international law, to break a treaty that they signed with the EU and they drafted with the EU and ratified it in the House of Commons, and doing so by creating potentially big problems on the island. of Ireland. “, He said.
He added that while issues related to the implementation of the protocol need to be resolved, there are concerns in the union community in particular that require a comprehensive response.
“The way to do that is not for the British government to act unilaterally and inform against the EU.
“They did it this week, encouraging the prime minister to act as if he had acted with Ukraine over the protocol and asking him to tear it down.”
“This kind of aggressive language does nothing to push us forward on what is a difficult issue.”
He said the EU has not threatened anything, but only wants a partnership with the UK to work together to resolve issues around the protocol.
“The last thing the EU wants, the last thing Ireland wants is tension with the UK, especially at the moment with what is happening in Ukraine, Russian aggression and the need to work together on the international stage,” he said. Coveney.
He referred to a “difficult and polarizing election” in Northern Ireland and how the challenge now is to listen to all communities to ensure that agreements signed in the past are implemented with “flexibility and pragmatism” to respond to all concerns.
The Stormont Assembly failed to elect a new chairman on Friday after the DUP said it would not support the process as part of its protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The movement will stop the functioning of the delegated Assembly.
Mr Coveney also highlighted “disappointments” in Ireland over Brexit and protocol issues.
He was responding to comments that there was “disappointment in Westminster” over the EU’s reluctance to act quickly enough.
“Ireland is also frustrated. We are facing the consequences of the British people in our country costing us hundreds of millions of euros, which is jeopardizing the peace process and its institutions on the island of Ireland,” he said.
“When we focus on frustrations, we have to think beyond Westminster.”
“Legitimate trade union concerns”
He said he has been in discussions for five years with four or five Brexit ministers.
Minister Coveney said the EU has acknowledged that there are “legitimate concerns” within the trade union community that need a comprehensive response, “the priority is that we should treat goods that stay in NI differently from goods that are at risk of travel. through NI in the EU ”.
He said the EU was ready to “dramatically” change the number of checks on those goods if it could “find a partner in London to do it with”.
“This is such an important issue for Ireland.”
He said he would speak again with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tomorrow evening and hoped to return “dialogue to the right path” and avoid creating unnecessary tensions by publishing unilateral legislation.
“If the British government decides to set aside international law, there is certainly a consequence,” he said.
“The EU is obliged to respond, but this is not where we want to be.”
He called on “influencers” in the British government to focus on a problem-solving approach together.
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