'The UK simply cannot be trusted' following Northern Ireland Protocol move, says Simon Coveney - Simon Coveney
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'The UK simply cannot be trusted' following Northern Ireland Protocol move, says Simon Coveney - Simon Coveney

SIMON COVENEY has launched a stinging attack against the British government, insisting that they "simply cannot be trusted" following their recent spat with the EU regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs described the UK's unilateral decision to continue Irish Sea border grace periods until October as "very frustrating".

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 this week, Minister Coveney accused the British government of breaking the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as its own promises.

"This is not the first time this has happened, that they [the EU] are negotiating with a partner that they simply cannot trust," he said.

"That is why the EU is now looking at legal options and legal actions which effectively means a much more formalised and rigid negotiation process as opposed to a process of partnership where you try to solve problems together, so this is really unwelcome.

"It's the British Government essentially breaking the protocol, breaking their own commitments again, and the EU having to then consider how they respond to that."

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The border grace period had been due to expire at the end of March, and shops would have had to produce export health certificates for all shipments of animal products since Northern Ireland is part of the EU’s single market.

Though the UK has since intervened and extended the period by seven months in order to supposedly allow time for constructive discussions to take place with Brussels.

Mr Coveney said the timing of the UK's move could not be worse and that the British Government has “changed their approach”.

“They have decided to act unilaterally, which is clearly in breach of the protocol and the commitments that have been made only a few weeks ago,” he said.