Leo Varadkar mocks UK food shortages in a scathing Brexit hit at Boris Johnson.
LEO Varadkar has risked igniting a new battle in the row over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade laws.
Downing Street’s claims that the Brexit deal’s protocol to avoid a hard border has caused food shortages in the region have been refuted by Ireland’s deputy prime minister. Mr Varadkar made a daring move by mentioning previous fast-food shortages in England, Scotland, and Wales, which aren’t affected by the regulations. After months of disruptions and tensions, UK and EU officials are at odds over how to make the Northern Ireland Protocol operate.
Mr Varadkar was in Northern Ireland for meetings with prominent politicians in the hope of reaching an agreement to end the crisis.
During his two-day tour north of the border, he also visited with business representatives.
After No10 claimed that the Northern Ireland Protocol had caused unprecedented challenges in the area, Mr Varadkar suggested that both Ireland and England had been affected by trade interruption.
He fumed, “We know in England where Nando’s is having issue getting staff, McDonald’s is having trouble getting milkshakes, there is trouble getting hauliers, and the Protocol doesn’t apply to England, but they are having those same problems.”
“I believe that several of the issues attributed to the protocol are actually Brexit-related issues that affect both the Republic and England.”
Mr Varadkar, in an attempt to defuse tensions, stated that neither Dublin nor the EU had ever desired economic barriers to exist between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
He also hinted that Brussels would be willing to extend a number of EU red tape grace periods that are set to expire at the end of the month.
Since its implementation at the start of the year, the agreement to prevent a hard border has sparked intense debate.
Downing Street has warned that its actions have stifled trade between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Unionists claim that the laws, which essentially create a trade barrier in the Irish Sea, have pushed the region further apart from the rest of the UK.
Northern Ireland has effectively remained within the single market, with a number of inspections on products shipped from mainland Britain, in order to keep the Irish border open.
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