26 July 2022

Northern Ireland Protocol: ‘Shameful, cynical’ UK government slammed by Irish lawyers

Dominic Carman


Dominic Carman discovers that some of Ireland’s top law firms are enraged, with ‘not one client thinking the Protocol should be scrapped’

The six counties of Northern Ireland (NI) are home to around 1.9 million UK citizens. Six years on from the Brexit vote, and two and half years after the conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement Act by the EU Council, their political relationship with the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and the rest of the European Union (EU) remains problematic – and to a degree, unresolved.

Beyond the myriad challenges arising from a dysfunctional Stormont Assembly – no functioning government, resignations and standoffs – the heart of the problem is an impasse concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol (Protocol). During Brexit negotiations in 2019 between the UK and Irish governments and the European Commission (Commission), the Protocol emerged as an attempt to address a range of complex, sometimes competing issues relating to customs and immigration at the Irish border between the UK and the EU, and assorted trade issues between NI and the rest of the UK.

 

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