British-Irish optimism about the end of the political crisis in Northern Ireland
Concluding Friday’s British Irish Council summit, British and Irish leaders expressed optimism about the prospect of an end to the political crisis that has paralyzed Northern Ireland for months amid tensions following the UK’s exit from the European Union has union.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin stressed during a press conference concluding the two-day summit, which brought together politicians from various British provinces with Irish officials, that “there is now an opportunity” to bring the negotiations on Northern Ireland to a successful conclusion, even if protocol this will require “a significant commitment from the European Union” and the UK Government to become a reality.”
He indicated that he left the summit “with a positive feeling” after his meeting with Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday.
Sunak was the first British Prime Minister to attend the summit since 2007, showing London’s will to make a difference in the current crisis.
“We remain optimistic about the chances of a solution” to this crisis, said UK Minister for Regional Resettlement Michael Gove, adding that the talks had been “constructive and friendly”.
Relations between Ireland, a member of the European Union, and the UK, which left the bloc in 2021, have been marred by differences over the application of trade deals in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.
The deal signed between London and Brussels effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European Single Market and Customs Union.
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