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Brexit Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 30 September 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Questions (54, 64)

Jim O'Callaghan


54. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on discussions in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47168/21]

View answer

Neale Richmond


64. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the status of the implementation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, including the Northern Ireland Protocol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46846/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 64 together.

The EU and UK continue to engage regularly on matters covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, including through the committee structures established under the Agreement.

The eighth meeting of the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights took place on 16 September to monitor the implementation and application of the Citizens’ Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement, which protects EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, including their family members.

The ninth meeting of the Specialised Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, took place on 24 September. The EU side took note of the fact that some progress has been made regarding real-time access to relevant databases and recalled the need that all work should be finalised by the end of the year. The EU also expressed its concerns regarding the lack of progress on Border Control Posts, as well as the issue of export declarations from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. The EU updated the UK on the ongoing work to implement flexibilities regarding the movement of live animals between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that it announced in June.

The Commission confirmed that it will soon come forward with a package of measures, within the framework of the Protocol, addressing the issues that matter most to the people of Northern Ireland, including on medicines.

Outside of the Specialised Committee, we welcome the continuation of technical talks between the two sides on outstanding matters on implementation of the Protocol. As has been made clear by the Commission however, the Protocol will not be renegotiated.

Our approach, shared by our EU colleagues, continues to be informed by regular engagements with people and business across Northern Ireland, taking on board their genuine concerns, as we seek realistic solutions. The clear message we have received is that most people in Northern Ireland – especially those in the business community – want the Protocol to work well. They see the very real opportunities presented by the Protocol and want these opportunities to be fully realised.

 On 9 and 10 September, Commission Vice President Šefcovic paid a very well received visit to Northern Ireland. His openness to engaging with political, business and civic representatives clearly demonstrates the EU’s wish to hear and understand the concerns of the people on the ground. Vice President Šefcovic made clear the EU’s unwavering commitment to the people of Northern Ireland and their focus on the issues that matter most to them.  I remain in regular contact with Vice President Šefcovic and we spoke most recently on 27 September where we discussed the Protocol.  I also briefed the Commissioner on my visit to Washington, and the continued strong support received from the US Congress.

We remain confident that solutions do exist, within the parameters of the Protocol, for the issues that have arisen to date. The EU has time-and-again demonstrated a considered, credible, solution-driven approach to these issues. We will continue to encourage the UK to work in partnership with the EU in a spirit of positive and constructive engagement in order to identify pragmatic and sustainable solutions.

Questions Nos. 55 and 56 answered with Question No. 40.