LIVE BREAKING NEWS: Leo Varadkar will hold emergency EU discussions after the conference was dubbed “meaningless.”
LEO VARADKAR is having emergency discussions with Northern Ireland’s political leaders to find a solution to the country’s rising post-Brexit trade challenges, but his approach has been chastised by one of his political adversaries.
On Wednesday evening, the Irish Tanaiste met with Sinn Fein Finance Minister Conor Murphy, and on Thursday, he will meet with DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (today). The Northern Ireland Protocol, which was included in the UK-EU divorce deal and effectively retains the region in the bloc’s single market for goods, will be a heated issue of discussion. As a result, checks on some items moved from the UK into the single market have been carried out, with the result that certain products that do not conform with EU laws are frequently prohibited.
The heavily criticized mechanism was put in place to ensure that there would be no hard border with Ireland, but it has instead caused a slew of issues by effectively erecting a trade barrier in the Irish Sea, which has enraged unionists.
However, Mr Varadkar has come under fire from Sir Jeffrey, a strong political foe who claims it was the former Prime Minister who pushed on such EU agreements.
“A new visit from Leo Varadkar to Northern Ireland will be pointless unless he comes with a fresh approach,” the DUP leader raged.
“He has championed a protocol that undermines the Belfast Agreement fundamentally, and he has rejected economic and constitutional concerns with patronizing remarks about the color of our post boxes.
“It was then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who insisted on such arrangements with other EU leaders.
“If the Irish Sea border persists, Mr Varadkar would inherit a legacy of fundamentally weakened relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic, as well as a reversal of political progress in Northern Ireland.”
“Mr Varadkar has a choice,” Sir Jeffrey added. He may either stick to the rhetoric of recent years and wait for events to unfold, or he can embrace a new attitude of positive cooperation.
“Arrangements that respect both the EU single market and Northern Ireland’s role within the UK internal market are not only possible, but would also fulfill the Belfast Agreement’s pledge of protection.”