British government and the NI protocol


Sir, – The British ambassador to Ireland refers to finding “pragmatic solutions to the challenges of implementation”, which demonstrates that his own government has signed the treaty without adequately considering how it would be implemented (Letters, May 21st).

It would be interesting to see the ambassador write an article for your opinion page on the general subject of international treaties and on the importance of studying the detail before signing on the dotted line, and then on the importance of parties to a treaty implementing the treaty fully and without complaint. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – The British ambassador to Ireland tells us that the UK “will always do what is required to uphold the Belfast Agreement in all its dimensions and thus the stability of Northern Ireland itself”.

It is pity that the UK electorate did not follow that advice when it voted for Brexit.

It is also a pity that the UK government did not follow that advice when, after a period of four years, it ended up negotiating a hard Brexit. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – The British ambassador to Ireland takes umbrage at your use of the word “reckless” in describing his government’s conduct on the Northern Ireland protocol, and seeks to assure us that his government want to find “workable solutions” to its implementation.

This is all very reassuring, but carries the thinnest veneer of plausibility when measured against the actions of the British government, and in particular those of its minister Lord Frost, who has said he will not rest until the protocol is torn up.

May I remind the ambassador, who pleads the limited time available to prepare for implementation as a cause of difficulty here, that the protocol came into being in December 2019, a full year before the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement was signed.

Surely Lord Frost, who led the negotiations on the UK side, must in this 12-month period have had ample time to fully understand the practical implications of the implementation of the protocol. Not to have done so suggests a level of incompetence incompatible with his position.

Or has it been the UK strategy to undermine the protocol at every opportunity? Lord Frost is the alleged strategist behind the powers included in the Internal Markets Bill of September last which sought to override aspects of the protocol, and which Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, cheerily acknowledged in the House of Commons as breaking international law. More recently, with the ink barely dry on the trade and cooperation agreement, the British government moved to infringe its terms by unilaterally extending the grace period for post-Brexit checks. Might the finger of duplicity not be reasonably pointed? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.