Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has expressed his anger and concern over the actions of the British government on the Irish Protocol.
The Wicklow TD said:
“The decision by the British government to act unilaterally in changing the implementation of the Irish protocol is outrageous.
“We are all very aware that this is not the first time that the British have broken their commitments, disregarded international law, and behaved in an irresponsible and arrogant manner.
“The fact that reports suggest that progress was being made on the protocol makes the British decision even more irresponsible.
“We must remember that the problems that have arisen for the British in relation to the protocol were of the British governments own making, as a consequence of their cavalier attitude to Brexit from the outset.
“The fact that the government of Boris Johnson cannot be trusted has left the EU with little option other than to proceed with legal action.
“The actions of the British government merely result in entrenched positions, leaving little room for flexibility for negotiators.
“The EU has exhibited good will throughout its dealings with the British, who have thrown that good will back in the face of the EU with their unilateral actions.
“The British actions also come at time when Loyalist organisations have stated that they are withdrawing their support for the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).
“We now have a ridiculous and dangerous situation where Unionist politicians are attempting to parse Loyalist intent as one of non-violence.
“We only have to look at the groups that the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) purport to represent – the UVF, the UDA, and the Red Hand Commando’s – to see how Unionists are playing with fire.
“They are talking of the permanent destruction of the GFA. The GFA is not ‘Lanigan’s Ball’, there is not an option to step in and step out again.
“When you have violent organisations, withdrawing their support for a peace agreement, it is not the job of politicians to spin the situation.
“When the DUP tell us that us that they believe that this statement by Loyalist groups with a history of brutal sectarian and criminal violence does not signal an intent to return to violence, they are providing a pretext to allow violent loyalism back onto the political stage.
“We know that when this happens, when these groups are permitted back onto the streets – we are on the road to intimidation, to bullying and to coercion and to a risk to life and limb for innocent Catholics.
“Unionist politicians need to step up and show leadership in their communities. They need to step up and defend the Good Friday Agreement.
“The hard-won peace must be placed ahead of all other organisations.”