EU/UK talks on Protocol expected to restart tomorrow

Simon Coveney said the Republic's role in protocol talks between the EU and UK would be “encouraging progress”

The Republic's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that reports of protocol negotiations between the EU and UK restarting tomorrow “is positive news”.

“Both sides have agreed to engage this week for the first time since mid February,” he told reporters in Co Donegal.

“So this is a very welcome change of course that the British government is engaging now seriously, as opposed to moving ahead with unilateral action which would certainly have caused a lot more problems than it would have solved.”

Mr Coveney said the Republic’s role in protocol talks between the EU and UK would be “encouraging progress”.

Speaking to reporters in Co Donegal, Mr Coveney said: “Tomorrow evening, I’ll be with the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly for dinner in London and I’ll be co-chairing a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris on Friday.

“We will be discussing these issues on how together we can solve the outstanding problems and frustrations with the Northern Ireland Protocol. Of course this is a negotiation between London and Brussels primarily, but obviously the Irish government has a central role to play in trying to find solutions.

“The EU has shown a willingness to compromise, to try to respond to legitimate concerns that have been expressed in Northern Ireland, and it remains to be seen whether this new-look British Government is willing to make compromises to get a deal done.

“But certainly the mood music has changed quite fundamentally, we welcome that, and we will work on not only the relationships to rebuild trust, but also work on solutions in a practical way, and I think that process very much starts in earnest this week.”