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HomeUK extension of Brexit grace periods ‘exacerbates uncertainty’, warns Martin

UK extension of Brexit grace periods ‘exacerbates uncertainty’, warns Martin

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Irish premier Micheal Martin has warned that the UK’s decision to extend post-Brexit grace periods “exacerbates uncertainty and instability”.

Mr Martin said the unilateral action on the Brexit divorce agreement corrodes trust.

Mr Martin said the Withdrawal Agreement contains mechanisms designed to deal with issues that arise.

He made the comments during an online address to the Brookings Institution in Washington, for a series of virtual events in the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day on Wednesday.

Mr Martin said: “The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union created a whole new category of challenges that we have had to deal with in recent years.

“Our shared membership of the EU had helped to create the context in which the Good Friday Agreement was secured. Changing that context removed an important prop.

“We worked hard to minimise and to mitigate its worst impacts, not least the risk of the return of a hard border to the island of Ireland.

“In this, we had strong backing from our partners in the EU, but also, critically, from our friends in the US. As a result, the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK includes a special protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland to address the unique circumstances of the island.

“The protocol is specifically designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement, and the achievements of the peace process. Crucially, it avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland.

“It is the only agreed and viable means available to do so.”

The Fianna Fail leader said the protocol also protects the all-island economy and Ireland’s place in the single market.

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