Northern Ireland news

Platform: Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond - Truss must pull back on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

Prime Minister Liz Truss has an opportunity to reframe British - EU and Anglo Irish relations according to Neale Richmond. Picture by House of Commons/PA Wire.


Neale Richmond

TD Dublin Rathdown

THE Conservative Party members have had their say and Liz Truss is now the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Truss is inheriting the role in a time of real political challenge, from war returning to Europe, the resulting cost of living and energy crisis, not to mention the immense challenge posed from the current inflation levels.

At such a difficult time, it is easy to forget that issues with Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol continue to linger, with relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union remaining at a precarious low.

While she has inherited a difficult political situation, there is an opportunity here for Prime Minister Truss to reframe and re-set the EU-UK relationship, as well as the Anglo-Irish relationship.

It is vital that the new Prime Minister speaks with the Taoiseach within the first days of taking office to allow both parties to move forward on a more positive footing.

The same goes for the new Foreign Secretary who must engage with the EU as a matter of priority.

While engagements and conversations are important in fostering good relations, actions of course speak louder than words.

As Prime Minister, Liz Truss must pull back on the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill which seeks to override the Protocol by breaking international law.

The way to make progress on Brexit is by returning to the negotiating table and engaging in good faith. Bearing in mind the fact that the British have not engaged in negotiations since February 24th, this alone would be a positive gesture.

The problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol are recognised by the EU, and appropriate solutions have been offered. These problems will not solve themselves and they require real political will to move them forward in a meaningful way. This will has been there from the European Union for some time now, we unfortunately cannot say the same for our British counterparts. This is an opportunity to change this and move forward.

Under the previous Prime Ministers' tenure, we saw the Northern Ireland Protocol and Brexit issues ramped up and used to foster political will within the Tory party and its members and supporters. There is simply no space for this in the political sphere anymore; the issues facing everyone across the EU and UK are simply too serious to be resorting to using Northern Ireland as a political plaything once again.

Here in Ireland, we will do our part to engage with Prime Minister Truss with an open mind and we are hopeful of improved and positive relationships throughout her tenure. Solving the issues with Brexit and the Protocol are in everyone's interests and we in Ireland will help wherever and however we can.

Ms Truss is an experienced political who clearly holds a great deal of support in her party, both from her colleagues and the grassroots members.

Her words carry significant weight and so if she took the decision to move forward and return to the negotiating table in good faith, this would go a long way to improving relations with both the EU and Ireland.


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