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Foreign Affairs | Exchanges with the British prime minister in context of the Northern Ireland Protocol

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he has met with or exchanged views with the British prime minister in the context of the Northern Ireland Protocol.


As we have done throughout the Brexit process, the Government remains fully engaged with our key interlocutors and stakeholders in the EU, the UK, Northern Ireland and the US

I had a meeting with Prime Minister Sunak at the British-Irish Council in November and spoke with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in December. I also met Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris twice in recent weeks.

The Taoiseach spoke with Prime Minister Sunak by telephone last week. The Minister of State for European Affairs also spoke with his British opposite number last week.

Beyond our engagements with the UK Government, I remain in close contact with the Northern Irish political parties and other key stakeholders in the North, including business groups. I have made clear the Government’s commitment to resolving the difficulties around the Protocol and helping to ensure that the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement can operate effectively.

We also continue to engage extensively with our EU counterparts. The Taoiseach spoke with Commission President Von der Leyen on 11 January. I met Commission Vice-President Šefcovic in Brussels earlier this month and we maintain regular contact.

As has been the case throughout Brexit, there remains an unshakeable commitment across the EU to mitigating the impacts Brexit brings for this island. This is constantly reflected in our engagements with our EU partners, whose continued support we are deeply grateful for.

The Government is in ongoing contact with the US administration and Congress and key interlocutors in the United States. We are grateful also for continued bipartisan US support for peace and stability in Northern Ireland. The recent appointment of a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs is a welcome development.

In all our contacts, I have been clear that shared solutions are the only sustainable way forward. Resolving the issues around the Protocol would also result in opportunities for greater EU-UK cooperation, which is vital at a time of significant global challenges.

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