Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern calls for 'compromise' on all sides amid Northern Ireland Protocol row

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern is the first ever former or serving Taoiseach to appear before Westminster's NI Affairs Committee. Credit: Parliament

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has told a committee of MPs at Westminster that solving the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol is not "rocket science".

As one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Ahern has been speaking about the negotiations which led to the deal 25 years ago this Easter.

He told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: "When you think of the things we resolved, we got the IRA to decommission their arms, we released prisoners... we reformed the old RUC... that we can't find a way of working out how sausages and rashers will work in the internal market, it's beyond comprehension."

Bertie Ahern became the first ever former or serving Taoiseach to appear before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster on Monday afternoon.

When asked about unionist demands on the Protocol and the DUP's refusal to take their seats at Stormont, Mr Ahern said he didn't believe the DUP's seven tests could all be met.

"I don't think for a minute that a solution that by-passes unionists... is the solution to this. The solution is to find a compromise...neither do I think that the seven points that have been thrown up all have to be resolved because I think some of them are probably impossible, but there comes the compromise."

Mr Ahern was also asked if he thought there should be a review of the Good Friday Agreement and the institutions set up under the 25-year-old deal.

Bertie Ahern told MPs his preference would be for the Stormont institutions to be up and running when any review took place but that he had "no difficulty" with a fresh look at the arrangements.

Mr Ahern also said without compromise on the Northern Ireland Protocol is risked "building a future on quicksand."

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