Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, T.D., and Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, met today with the Friends of Ireland Caucus in the US Congress. The meeting was an opportunity for the Minister and VP Šefčovič to brief the Caucus on the latest EU-UK developments.
Following the meeting Minister Coveney said:
“The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of recent developments in Northern Ireland and the UK’s unilateral move on implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
“The EU and the US have been unwavering partners to the peace process. Throughout the Brexit process the EU has worked hard to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its dimensions and a hard border on the island of Ireland is avoided.
“We have consistently said that we want the Protocol to work for Northern Ireland, and for the island as a whole, in as smooth a manner as possible. Sustainable measures on issues around the Protocol are only possible with the UK working in cooperation with the EU.
“The Irish Government’s focus remains on ensuring that the Protocol, as an international agreement concluded by the EU and the UK, is fully implemented. It is the agreed and only solution to the problems created on the island of Ireland by Brexit.
“During the discussion we also spoke about the unique opportunities the Protocol gives Northern Ireland. Free and full access to the UK market and full access to the EU’s Single Market of some 450 million consumers is a huge advantage. The potential investment and job creation opportunities are clear.
“I would like to thank the members of the Caucus for their engagement today and their continued support for the Good Friday Agreement”.
10 March 2021
Note to Editors:
The Friends of Ireland group, the oldest caucus in Congress, is dedicated to fostering and strengthening ties between the United States and Ireland. It is an important bipartisan organization, co-chaired by Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA).
The Friends of Ireland Caucus was formed on St Patrick’s Day 1981 by Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and House Speaker Tip O’Neill to recognize the unique relationship between the US and Ireland and to support a just, lasting and peaceful settlement to the conflict in Northern Ireland.