"No renegotiation of the Northern Ireland protocol," says Ireland's Europe minister, Thomas Byrne

Ireland's Europe minister, Thomas Byrne, has said "there can be no renegotiation of the Northern Ireland protocol," the BBC reports.

The UK is expected this to tell the EU that it will take unilateral action if fresh agreement is not reached.



The two sides agreed the Northern Ireland Protocol in 2019, as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the Northern Ireland Protocol is being "used and abused by the EU" to retrieve lost influence in the UK.

Thomas Byrne said the Irish government is "willing to discuss any creative solutions within the confines of the protocol".

The Protocol prevents a hard border in Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods.

The UK says its implementation has been "unbalanced" and it is "unsustainable" in its current form.

UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost will lay out the UK's proposed way forward in a statement to the House of Lords later.

On Monday, he said ways needed to be found to "hugely reduce" or "eliminate" the new barriers to trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland which have emerged as a result of the protocol.

An SPS agreement (deal with EU on plant and animal health measures) is what we've proposed and we strongly urge the British government to consider that - it would solve a lot of problems for people in Northern Ireland and Britain. The EU commission has offered this agreement to the British government so this is something we can really work well with the British government on. There are opportunities for Northern Ireland within the Protocol and there is unprecedented interest in investment in Northern Ireland, including Marks & Spencer, who announced in April they were building a huge new food hall in Coleraine.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis.

Sammy Wilson said that since "95% of goods that come across the Irish Sea from GB into Northern Ireland never go near the Irish Republic, they're not causing a threat to the EU single market".

"There are clauses that allow for renegotiation and changes to be made and new arrangements to be put in place so the EU can't say this is set in stone."

He said that "if there is acceptance of equivalence of rules, then the rules made in Northern Ireland and GB would be held to be equivalent to EU rules and the problem would go away.

"Or go down the route that we have mutual recognition of each other's standards and enforcement of this," he added.

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