With goodwill the EU is ready to be 'flexible and responsive' over the protocol, says Taoiseach

Micheál Martin said he looked forward to speaking to the new British Prime Minister

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he takes "heart" from the new British Prime Minister's remarks that she would like to see issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol resolved by negotiation.

The Brexit trade deal was part of an agreement reached between the UK and EU.

Mr Martin said with goodwill the EU is ready to be "flexible and responsive".

"I look forward to be in a position to speak to the British Prime Minister within the next day or two," he told an event in Dublin.

"I take heart from the prime minister's comments that her preferred approach to the protocol is to have it resolved by negotiation.

"That is certainly our view also and that of the European Union," he added.

His comments follow Liz Truss's first Prime Minister's Question Time on Wednesday.

She told the House of Commons her preference is for a negotiated solution to issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

She also warned that a negotiated solution with the EU would have to deliver "all of the things we set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill".

Former Conservative secretary of state, Shailesh Vara asked the prime minister is she would press ahead with the Bill if negotiations with the EU bloc are not "forthcoming".

Mr Vara said: "It is the standard practice of the European Union that when they can't get their way in negotiations with the UK, they play for time and wait for a new leader, who they hope will have a different view to their predecessor.

"For the sake of clarity, will my right honourable friend confirm that it is the UK's preferred option to have a negotiated settlement as far as the Northern Ireland Protocol is concerned.

"But if that is not forthcoming, then we will proceed with the Protocol Bill that is currently going through Parliament?"

Ms Truss replied: "My preference is for a negotiated solution, but it does have to deliver all of the things we set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill."

"And what we cannot allow is for the situation to drift."

The Taoiseach said he would make it "very clear" to Ms Truss when they speak that he believes there is a pathway to a resolution of the issues.

"There are certain issues around consumer sector and we believe, with goodwill, the European Union is ready to be flexible and responsive," he said.

"If the European Union and United Kingdom can engage in a process, we believe there is a pathway to resolving that particular issue."

He added that he welcomed the US President, Joe Biden's, support for the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement.

"I do welcome the consistent interest of the US president in support the Good Friday Agreement, underpinning the Good Friday Agreement.

"And his interest has been genuine and I do welcome that," he added.

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