London, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Shortly before the rugby match between Ireland and England on Saturday 12th March, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Micheál Martin, Ireland’s taoiseach (Prime Minister).
The two leaders discussed the Northern Ireland Protocol (which determines the future of the border and customs between Ireland and Northern Ireland) and cooperation regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ever since the UK population voted for Brexit in the EU referendum, the nations have been struggling to find a way to allow free trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland to continue.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was introduced as a solution, but Northern Ireland hasn’t been happy with the mechanism, claiming it will make it more difficult for Northern Ireland to trade with Great Britain (consisting of England, Wales, and Scotland).
In February 2022, the first minister of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland Paul Givan resigned in protest, and the country has been in havoc ever since. It’s currently working with Ireland, the UK, and the EU to find a solution.
Martin has expressed there’s been some progress regarding the protocol, but he’s not hopeful about a breakthrough happening before the upcoming elections in Northern Ireland, which are set to take place on 5 May. However, he believes the situation in Ukraine and the way nations across the globe have responded proves that cooperation is possible — suggesting the same thing could happen when it comes to the Northern Ireland question.