Dublin hopeful N.Ireland protocol talks will resume within weeks


  • World
  • Friday, 16 Sep 2022

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends a news conference ahead of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., April 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday that he was optimistic that talks between Britain and the European Union on overhauling Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trading arrangements could resume within weeks.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol, the British-run region effectively remained in the EU's single market for goods as the rest of the United Kingdom departed, necessitating checks on some goods coming from Britain that London now want scrapped.

Britain's new Prime Minister Liz Truss said this month her preference is to find a negotiated settlement but only if it matched the unilateral action it has begun to scrap some checks.

Brussels offered a package of measures to ease the transit of goods to Northern Ireland a year ago.

Coveney said private conversations he and Prime Minister Micheal Martin have had with Truss' new government team suggest there is an opening beyond Queen Elizabeth's funeral next week for a "new and perhaps more real round of dialogue."

"I have to say I have some cautious optimism that we will see in a few weeks time the opening of an honest effort to try to settle some of these issues that have been outstanding for far too long," Coveney told national broadcaster RTE."

"But we are very clear, both the Irish government and the EU, are very clear that that does requires compromise on the UK side as well as the EU side."

EU Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, Ireland's representative on the bloc's executive, also told RTE that her expectation was that both sides would get back around the table in the coming weeks.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, Editing by William Maclean)

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