Leading Irish American politicians in the US House of Representatives have denounced new British legislation to override unilaterally parts of the Northern Ireland protocol and have warned it could threaten peace.
In a joint statement on Monday night Bill Keating, chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on Europe; Richard Neal, chairman of the ways and means committee and co-chair of the Friends of Ireland caucus; Brendan Boyle, co-chair of the congressional EU caucus; and Brian Fitzpatrick, ranking member of the foreign affairs subcommittee on Europe urged the UK and the EU to continue talking to try resolve their differences.
“The introduction of legislation in the United Kingdom undermines the Northern Ireland protocol, threatens international law, and, most concerningly, could jeopardise the almost 25 years of peace established by the Good Friday agreement.”
“The protocol is a negotiated solution ratified by UK lawmakers and signed by Boris Johnson to ensure an open border on the island of Ireland and to protect peace and security following Brexit. We encourage the UK and EU to continue negotiations in good faith to achieve durable solutions to post-Brexit trade challenges.”
Mary and Anne Boleyn: ‘Their story has been written by men. This sets it straight after five centuries’
David Corkery: ‘I feel like I’m being villainised by the whole rugby community because I’m taking this action’
The four politicians said that as members of the US Congress they remained committed to protecting and upholding the important legacy of the Good Friday agreement.
“We have and will continue to signal to the United Kingdom our support for a negotiated outcome with the EU. The people of Northern Ireland are counting on their elected officials to govern and maintain peace and stability in the region—now is the time to deliver.”
[ Analylsis: Protocol bill is more extreme and far-reaching than anticipated ]
[ Explainer: How does the UK want to change the Northern Ireland protocol? ]
On Monday the Biden administration also urged the UK government and European Union to return to negotiations on the protocol.
A White House spokesman said on Monday that “transatlantic peace, security, and prosperity are best served by a strong UK, a strong EU, and the closest possible relationship between the two”.
The White House said the priority for the US remained protecting the Belfast Agreement and preserving peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland.
“We have welcomed the provisions in the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol as a way to manage the practical challenges of preserving distinct EU and UK markets while preventing the return of customs infrastructure on the land border.
“We recognise there have been challenges over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol. We urge the UK and EU to return to talks to resolve these differences.”