Brexit: Micheal Martin says deal ‘in best interest’ of everyone
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Mr Martin urged Mrs Foster anther party to put politics aside in order to find a solution to post-Brexit problems. And he admitted he found the attitude of Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party on the Northern Ireland Protocol was disappointing.
In an interview on Saturday on RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta, Mr Martin insisted a practical resolution to any difficulties needed to be identified within the structure of the Withdrawal Agreement.
He added: “As I said before, we need to dial down the rhetoric.
“That type of politics is no good for anyone in my opinion.
“We all have an obligation to dial it down, to come together to discuss these questions.
“We have to put politics aside and deal with the issues within an economic, social and practical context.”
Mr Martin voiced concern at what he saw as the increasing tension within unionism and loyalism on the matter, as well as the DUP’s boycott of north-south contacts.
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He said: “We’re happy to work together with all parties to find a resolution to their concerns.
“There’s a committee where these matters can be discussed, and problems can be resolved, within the Northern Ireland Protocol, and they should be used.
“A lot of work was done over several years on this, and it’s not even two months since January.
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“I think the most effective way to deal with the questions are within the Agreement.”
The DUP is pushing to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol, the provision aimed at preventing a hard border between the North and South, which has caused red tape on goods transported to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK – and what the DUP regards as a border down the Irish Sea.
Mr Martin added: “I’m sorry that the DUP has taken this stance, I don’t think that’s the right way to deal with the question.
“After Christmas, the DUP was happy to work with the protocol on a practical level, although they didn’t agree with it.”
The arrangements keeping Northern Ireland in line with the EU’s single market regulations have heightened political tensions.
Unionists and loyalists are angered at the imposition of economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland remains in the EU single market for goods.
Products which enter from Great Britain must comply with strict EU rules on animal and plant health.
Traders must also complete new processes and checks to ship animal-based food products and plants across the Irish Sea into Northern Ireland.
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