Minister Coveney meets with the leaders of four Northern Ireland parties
News24 September 2020
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, T.D., met with the Northern Ireland leaders of Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Alliance, and the Green Party. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss Brexit related issues, including in the context of recent developments and publication of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill on 9 September.
At the meeting, the Minister reaffirmed Ireland’s and the EU’s firm position with regard to elements of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill and outlined Ireland’s very real concern at this approach by the UK Government. The Minister discussed the serious concerns which the four party leaders also have in this regard, exchanged views on the current EU-UK negotiations, and considered the particular challenges facing Northern Ireland’s farming and business communities.
Following the meeting, the Minister said:
"I was very glad of the opportunity to meet this morning with Michelle O’Neill, Colum Eastwood, Naomi Long and Clare Bailey as part of my ongoing contact and engagement with Northern Ireland party leaders, and with other key Northern Ireland stakeholders, including business representatives. Since the beginning of the Brexit process, Ireland and the EU have been committed to finding a solution which works for the people of Northern Ireland and for the island as a whole. The Protocol does this. There was strong agreement this morning on the vital importance of implementing the Protocol in full and in good faith. We also noted the particular challenges facing business in Northern Ireland. They need certainty, and this needs to be delivered through full implementation of the Protocol."