Taoiseach Michael Martin warned that the British government should seriously consider the impact of the release of Article 16 on the UK’s relationship with the European Union and the Irish government, as well as the damage it might cause to the peace process.
Mr Martin said he had not assumed it was inevitable that the UK government would trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol despite reports that senior EU and government officials had been in talks to plan a response should the UK take such action.
Mr. Martin said at a flag raising event in Cork for Monster Technology University.
Mr Martin said the relationship between the EU and the UK had always been more than just the Northern Ireland Protocol and that anyone considering invoking Article 16 should be aware of the broader implications that could have for Anglo-Irish relations and the peace process in the North.
“This is so much more than just protocol – it is clear that the EU-UK relations are very important over time and it has to be a relationship based on sustainable trust and it has to be constructive and it has to lead to the mutual benefit of both UK citizens and EU citizens.
“The relationship between Ireland and Great Britain is also fundamental – the relationship between the two governments for 30 years has been central to the peace process, fundamental to the structure of the Good Friday Agreement, and there is an obligation on all parties to take these two basic sets of relationships into consideration before taking any action. .
«In my view, triggering Article 16 would be a very serious issue in the context of these two relations, so I would say and hope that the talks that are still ongoing between the UK and the EU will bear fruit.»
Mr Martin said Ireland has been instrumental as an EU member in making the European Commission aware of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, which has led the European Commission’s Vice-President, Maros Shevkovic to visit Northern Ireland to meet people there and hear their concerns.
This led to the EU advancing a wide range of measures that surprised many people in terms of how far the EU was willing to go to facilitate the deal, and it was believed that these proposals provided the basis for a positive conclusion to the EU deal. current conversations.
Rejecting any characterization of the EU’s approach to the talks as «appeasement», Mr Martin said he again stressed the need for the UK to reciprocate in terms of movement to reach an agreement.
“I wouldn’t describe it (the EU’s approach) as a ‘policy of appeasement’, but rather as a very constructive and sensitive engagement and focused on the solution – the EU was focused on the solution – the EU was also aware of the overall framework for peace and the importance of the Good Friday Agreement.
«And that’s the spirit in which they went into dealing with the UK and then the changes they made and that’s why I think it has to be achieved, the UK government should respond to this generosity of spirit.»
Mr Martin advised people creating a «self-fulfilling prophecy» regarding talk of an imminent trade war between the EU and the UK if Article 16 was triggered, and said such talk should be avoided, especially since negotiations were still ongoing and an agreement was possible.
«We’ve been here before, negotiations are still going on, there is still engagement between the UK and the EU – as I said in Dáil last week as I stand on my comments, I think it would be reckless and irresponsible to launch Article 16.»
“But I think and believe that all parties have to bear in mind the fundamental importance of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and the relationship between the Irish government and the British government in relation to what has happened over the past 30 years of working with the parties in Northern Ireland to change the lives of the people of Northern Ireland and nothing should be done Something, in my opinion, unilaterally would jeopardize that architecture.»
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