Martin and Johnson discuss 'importance of good relations'

brexit
Martin And Johnson Discuss 'Importance Of Good Relations'
Micheál Martin and Boris Johnson during a previous in-person meeting at at Hillsborough Castle in August of 2020. Photo: PA Images.
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By Press Association

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British prime minister Boris Johnson spoke this evening to discuss the “importance of continued good relations between the UK and Ireland” after Brexit.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “They discussed Northern Ireland and the importance of continued good relations between the UK and Ireland to the peace process.

“They committed to strengthening the partnership further and finding new ways to cooperate on areas like trade and science.

“The prime minister and Taoiseach looked forward to meeting in person as soon as possible.”

The spokeswoman also added that the leaders had “updated one another on the Covid situation and progress on vaccine rollouts in their countries.

“They agreed to continue working together to fight the pandemic and to consider ways they may support each other.”

Solutions

It comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney separately said that solutions can be found to the outstanding issues around trade in Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

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Mr Coveney said finding a way forward within the framework of the Northern Ireland Protocol will foster stability in Northern Ireland when it is “needed now more than ever”.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the Brexit trade deal has “real teeth” and Brussels will not hesitate to take action if Mr Johnson breaches its terms.

“The Protocol is the only solution to the problems created by Brexit for the island of Ireland and we firmly support ongoing contacts between EU and UK on its implementation,” Mr Coveney told an Irish parliamentary committee.

He said the Irish Government had listened to the concerns voiced about some aspects about how the Protocol operates.

Acting together within the framework of the Protocol, the EU and UK can find solutions

“The EU is doing everything it possibly can to reflect these concerns and working with the UK to implement the Protocol in a way that impacts as little as possible on people’s everyday lives and on trade,” he added.

“I firmly believe that acting together within the framework of the Protocol, the EU and UK can find solutions to the outstanding issues.

“Finding a sustainable and collaborative way forward is ultimately to the benefit of all communities in NI and to the EU and UK as a whole.

“It will also foster stability that given recent very concerning disturbances in Northern Ireland is needed now more than ever.”

26 issues

Mr Coveney also told the EU Affairs Committee that 26 issues had been identified by negotiators, and about 20 of them can be resolved through technical negotiation.

He described some of the issues as “much more political” and “more difficult” to deal with and may require “changes in the approach that can allow the protocol to be implemented more easily”.

He said the most high profile of these was sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards on animals and animal products.

The supply of medicines, steel tariffs and the labelling of goods are some of the other issues that need to be addressed.

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