There is no alternative to the NI protocol, says Michelle O’Neill

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister to meet UK Brexit minister David Frost

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said jobs and livelihoods must be safeguarded and the all-island economy must be strengthened. Photograph: Rebecca Black/PA Wire

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said jobs and livelihoods must be safeguarded and the all-island economy must be strengthened. Photograph: Rebecca Black/PA Wire

 

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has warned there is no alternative to the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol ahead of a meeting with David Frost.

It is understood First Minister Paul Givan will also meet the UK’s Brexit minister virtually later ahead of an intensification of talks between the UK and EU.

Speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions conference in Belfast, Ms O’Neill reiterated her view that Brexit is bad for Ireland, and urged that the gains of the peace process not be undermined.

“The invisible border is our greatest symbol of our peace and there will be no return to a border on this island,” she said.

“Jobs and livelihoods must be safeguarded and the all-island economy must be strengthened. Continued access to the single market and the British market gives us an economic advantage to build and grow exports from local businesses and position ourselves well in attracting FDI (foreign direct investment).

“We campaigned for special status and we went on a diplomatic offensive across Europe and the USA. The Irish protocol represents that special status and there is no credible alternative.

“The protocol was the alternative to the backstop which was painstakingly negotiated, agreed and ratified by the Westminster parliament and by the European Parliament by no less than David Frost himself, who is now trying to renegotiate. It’s an international law, it must be respected.” – PA