Taoiseach, Sinn Féin and DUP react to resignation announcement from Boris Johnson

Taoiseach, Sinn Féin and DUP react to resignation announcement from Boris Johnson

AN TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has urged the British government to pull back on unilateral action relating to Northern Ireland, the Protocol, legacy issues and human rights in the wake of Boris Johnson's announcement that he is to resign.

Releasing a statement after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation, Mr Martin said that both governments have "joint responsibilities concerning stewardship of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as nurturing broader bilateral relations" which requires working "together in a spirit of respect, trust and partnership."

"We have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

Commenting on the prime minister's resignation, Martin said he was conscious that Johnson has been through a difficult few weeks and he extended his best wishes to him and his family for the future.

"Britain is Ireland’s closest neighbour and the relationships between our two countries are long, deep and enduring.

"While Prime Minister Johnson and I engaged actively together, we didn’t always agree, and the relationship between our Governments has been strained and challenged in recent times."

Martin also welcomed the fact that the UK and EU are working together in response to Russia's war in Ukraine.

"We need to see that approach extended to addressing other challenges, including the practical issues around implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol that are of genuine concern to people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

"I remain committed to working with the British Government and Prime Minister in that spirit in the times ahead," he finished.

Sinn Fein (L-R) Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, leader of Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald tweeted her reaction to Johnson's resignation, saying he "will not be missed."

"Boris Johnson's interactions with Ireland have been wholly negative - Brexit, attacks on the Good Friday Agreement, threats to break international law, austerity and placating the DUP - all in a self serving attempt to cling to power," she said. "He has come unstuck. He will not be missed."

Similarly, Sinn Féin First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill said "it has been an utter absurdity that the people here have been subjected to Boris Johnson for any length of time."

"He is a figure of absolute disrepute. Anyone who tries to sabotage our peace agreements, a quarter century of progress and our shared future is truly no friend of ours."

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted to say the "PM has made the right decision":

Leader of the DUP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has also said that the new leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister "will face very significant challenges both at home and abroad."

"I recognise the efforts made by the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team to replace the Northern Ireland Protocol with arrangements which can command the support of unionists as well as nationalists," he said.

"It is no secret that we believed that Boris Johnson had a duty to get rid of the Irish Sea border having disastrously gone against our advice and signed a Withdrawal Agreement containing the Protocol. After two years of failed negotiations, the efforts to remove the Protocol must continue.

He said the new leader should "recognise that no unionist MLAs or MPs support the Protocol."

"Fully functioning devolved government in Stormont and the Protocol cannot coexist.”

Fine Gael Spokesperson for European Affair Neale Richmond TD said the resignation of Johnson is "an opportunity for a reset in Anglo-Irish and UK-EU relations."

“As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has overseen a marked decline in political relations between Ireland and the UK, the lowest ebb since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

“We now need a partner in London who will work to implement the Protocol in a way that works for all, who ensures the UK properly fulfils its role as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, and who acts in good faith.

“As soon as a new Prime Minister is elected and their Government appointed, the Irish Government should seek an emergency meeting of the British Irish Council.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation as he announces his resignation outside 10 Downing Street on July 7, 2022 in London, England. After a turbulent term in office, Boris Johnson will resign from his roles as Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister today after coming under pressure from his party. Eton and Oxford-educated Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, was elected as Prime Minister in the 2019 General Election. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

In his resignation announcement, Johnson said that it is "painful not to be able to see through so many projects and ideas" that he had intended to.

He said a timetable for a leadership contest would be announced next week.

The winner of that contest will become the next UK prime minister.

"In politics, no one is remotely indispensable," he said adding: "I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them's the breaks."

He thanked his wife Carrie and their children, as well as the staff of Downing Street and the British public for the immense privilege" they gave him.

While Johnson said he will remain in office until autumn when a new leader will likely be elected, ome MPs want it expedited so he is not still in office until then.