Ireland’s taoiseach says ‘unacceptable’ for parties to block party

Ireland’s taoiseach says ‘unacceptable’ for parties to block party

Ireland s taoiseach has said it is unacceptable for a party in Northern Ireland to block others from taking power, as he visits Belfast to try to break the deadlock over the Brexit protocol and power sharing at Stormont.

It is unheard of in a democratic world that a parliament would not convene in the aftermath of an election. We can't have a situation where one political party decides that the other political parties can't convene in a parliament, Miche l Martin told BBC before a meeting on Friday with party leaders including the Democratic Unionist party, which has refused to re-enter power-sharing until decisive action is taken to scrap elements of the Northern Ireland protocol.

He said that he understood that there were legitimate issues to be discussed with the DUP, but he said that the only answer to the problem was collaboration, not confrontation.

Martin accused Boris Johnson of moving too far in a unilateral way over the UK approach to Northern Ireland after the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, announced plans to introduce domestic laws to override the protocol if the EU did not meet the government's demands.

He said that the EU was being inflexible and intransigent. I spoke to Boris Johnson and I have to nail this idea that somehow the European Union is being inflexible on this is just not the truth, it doesn't stack up.

What has happened now, is a certain unilateralism on behalf of the British government saying our way or no way and you don't negotiate with the European Union on that basis, especially when you have signed off on the agreement that you don't like. A US delegation of Republican and Democratic congressional representatives arrived in Europe for a week of talks with leaders in Brussels, London and Dublin to try to calm tensions over Northern Ireland.

They will meet Truss on Saturday morning. Richard Neal, the chairman of the US Way and Means Committee, said he would be reminding everyone that the peace agreement of 1998 was hard won and not just a cavalier achievement that could be used for domestic political ends.

His trip coincided with a broadside by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said unilateral action on the protocol could damage the UK's chances of a trade deal.

The DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the BBC in response that if Pelosi wants to see the agreement protected, she needs to recognise that it is the protocol that is harming and undermines the agreement and that is why we need to deal with it.