Lou McDonald – 2022 Comments on the Irish Protocol

The comments made by Lou McDonald, the President of Sinn Fein, on 12 May 2022.

The Irish Protocol gives the north access to both the EU and British markets; representing a market of more than 500 million people. It protects the Good Friday Agreement and prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland.

It presents massive opportunities for the north, and does nothing to undermine the constitutional provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

Whilst there are practical issues related to the operation of the Protocol to be addressed, joint solutions to these issues must be found through dialogue between the British government and the EU, not unilateral action.

The EU has offered solutions, and this message has been echoed again today by the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič. I welcome his statement.

On the other hand, the British government is engaged in threats to breach international rule of law.

If the British government follows through on these threats to unilaterally denounce and disapply the Protocol, this would terminate the Withdrawal Agreement Treaty between the British government and the EU.

Walking away from international obligations would represent an appalling attack on the international rule of law. Any such action, and the threat to do so, must be firmly condemned by the international community.

The British government says that it wants to act responsibly and respect the Good Friday Agreement, yet their objectives are incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement. Unilateral action will deepen political instability and economic uncertainty.

It amounts to an anti-Good Friday Agreement agenda disingenuously wrapped up in pro-Good Friday Agreement rhetoric.

This strategy is actively supported by the DUP, who refuse to enter government in the north, despite the fact that the political institutions are not a party to the Withdrawal Agreement. It is denying democracy and punishing the public and this reckless boycott must end.