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Taoiseach | Discussion of Northern Ireland Protocol with UK and European counterparts

To ask the Taoiseach the extent to which he has had discussions with his UK or European counterparts in respect of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
                                                                                          – Bernard J. Durkan.


A Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 5 to 8 together.

I spoke with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, by phone on 11 January 2023.

This was my first opportunity to speak with the President since my reappointment as Taoiseach.  

She offered me her congratulations and we looked forward to cooperating closely on the important agenda of work ahead at European level, not least our collective response to the war in Ukraine and the current economic situation.

We took the opportunity for an exchange on current negotiations between the EU and the UK on the Northern Ireland Protocol, and I briefed the President on efforts to restore the Assembly and Executive in Northern Ireland.

We welcomed the improved atmosphere and engagement in the negotiations on the Protocol and expressed our shared desire to see joint solutions to issues that have arisen for people and businesses in Northern Ireland in its implementation.

I thanked the President for her work, for that of Vice President Sefcovic, and that of their teams and wished them every success in the period ahead.

We looked forward to meeting in person at the Special European Council in Brussels on 9/10 February.

I met with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, at the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos. She looked forward to visiting Dublin and she made clear the Parliament’s continuing interest in a positive outcome in the negotiations with the UK.

I spoke with Prime Minister Sunak by phone on 23 January.  We discussed a range of issues including restoring the democratic Institutions in Northern Ireland, the ongoing EU-UK negotiations on the Protocol, and our shared wish to strengthen British-Irish relations more broadly.

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