Sinn Féin spokesperson on Brexit John Brady has welcomed EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to initiate legal proceedings against the British government following their failure to remove the problematic elements of the draft Internal Market Bill, which breaches international law.
Speaking today, Teachta Brady said: “The Irish Protocol is an essential element of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and the British government.
“It is designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement, the all-Ireland economy, prevent a hard border, and to preserve the integrity of the EU single market.
“The EU set a deadline of yesterday for the British to remove the problematic parts of Internal Market Bill, which contradict the Irish Protocol, representing a breach of the articles of good faith.
“The British have refused to do so. The EU have now issued a letter of formal notice to the British. This is the first step in legal proceedings against the British government.
“I commend the EU for taking this very significant step. It demonstrates that it is committed to the adherence of the rule of law, and to the fidelity of signatories to internationally binding agreements.
“The manner in which the British insist on conducting themselves has left the EU with no alternative but to issue the letter of formal notice.
“Taoiseach Micheál Martin is in Brussels for a two-day summit. Tomorrow, in recognition of the potential disastrous impact of Brexit on the Island of Ireland, he will be given the floor in order to address the leaders of EU member states.
“This represents an opportunity for the Taoiseach to outline in stark terms the implications that the Internal Market Bill holds for Ireland.
“To date, the Taoiseach has at best been tepid in his defence of the Irish Protocol. He must now stand firm and assert the rights of the people of Ireland, which have been guaranteed under the Good Friday Agreement, and which are further protected under the Irish Protocol.
“The Internal Market Bill, if it is allowed to stand, will allow the British government to override decisions taken by the devolved Assembly in the North, to railroad in Tory legislation that will not only tear apart workers’ rights, but will lead to a situation where we will have two environmental strategies on this Island.
“All previous protections run the risk of being overturned. The Tories will have the power to force the North to accept sub standard products, such as the likes of chlorinated chicken.
“The British government has antagonised the international community. From Brussels, to the US, and even the southern hemisphere, the international community clearly see the imperative of protecting the GFA through the Irish Protocol. Now they could find themselves in the European Court of Justice.”