Sinn Fein leadership to meet with European Commission in Brussels
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD and party Vice Preisdent Michelle O'Neill MLA are visiting Brussels for meetings with the Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, as well as senior members of the European Parliament.
They will be accompanied by Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands-North West, Chris MacManus.
Speaking in advance, Teachta Mary Lou McDonald said:
"I look forward to travelling to Brussels tomorrow to meet with the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič; with Vice President of the European Parliament, Pedro Silva Pereira; and with the various parliamentary groups in the European Parliament.
"We will also meet with the Co-Chairs of the European Parliament's Contact Group established to ensure co-ordination within the parliament on the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the Withdrawal Agreement.
"We will discuss the political situation in Ireland, north and south, the recent Assembly elections, and issues relating to the Irish Protocol.
"This follows our recent visit to London, as well as meetings in recent weeks with An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.
"Last week, both Michelle O'Neill and I also met with a senior US Congressional delegation to Ireland.
"The message we have brought to these engagements has been a clear one - the Good Friday Agreement must be protected and we must prevent any return to a hard border in Ireland.
"There is widespread support for that position internationally and we hope to hear that support echoed once again in Brussels tomorrow.
"Resolution to the implementation of the Protocol will be found in negotiations between the EU and British government free from threats of unilateral action to breach international law.
"The DUP are, once again, being used as pawns to back Boris Johnson's approach to the Protocol and continue to hold the north's political institutions to ransom.
"That is not acceptable. The outcome of the Assembly election must be respected and we need to get the Executive formed without any further delay."