Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill has said agreement on the Irish Protocol is welcome and hopes that it will signal a wider Brexit trade deal.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“It’s now four and a half years since the disastrous Brexit vote which has dragged the north out of the EU against the wishes of the people.
“It is clear there is no such thing as a good Brexit for the people of Ireland, north or south.
“Unique protections have been secured for the north in the Withdrawal Agreement and Irish Protocol which will avoid any hardening of the border, protect the all-Ireland economy and protect the Good Friday Agreement.
“Agreement on the implementation of this agreement is welcome and we will need to see the full detail of that.
“We have always advocated a workable solution on east-west trade which would allow businesses in the north to continue to trade and would not lead to additional costs for consumers.
“The tariff-free grace period which we had called for to ensure security of food supply for supermarkets which we had previously called for will create breathing space for retailers and traders.
“It is now incumbent on the British government to engage directly with businesses in order to make them aware of exactly what the new arrangements will be and what they will be required to do and, crucially, what support will available for them.
“It is welcome that the EU will have a permanent presence in the north to monitor the implementation and outworking of the Withdrawal Agreement and Irish Protocol.
“We hope that this agreement signals that there will be a wider deal but is by no means certain and we will continue our engagements with the British government and EU in the days ahead.”