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Donaldson: I don't need to trust Boris Johnson on Northern Ireland Protocol

The DUP leader says he is 'focused on getting a solution, rather than name-calling'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.09 21 Oct 2021


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Donaldson: I don't need to tru...

Donaldson: I don't need to trust Boris Johnson on Northern Ireland Protocol

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.09 21 Oct 2021


Share this article


The leader of the DUP, Jeffrey Donaldson, says he doesn't need to trust the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in order to deal with concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He described comments by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that Britain's word could not trusted when it comes to international agreements as 'unhelpful'.

Britain's Brexit Minister David Frost had also accused the EU of being an organisation "that doesn't always look like" it wants the UK to succeed.

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He called for the removal of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from oversight of the protocol.

This is something that Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said created a new "red line" barrier to progress.

Minister Coveney claimed this was an issue that London knows the EU "can't move on".

Mr Donaldson told The Pat Kenny Show the protocol was not working as designed.

"I don't think that's very helpful at all - it is not unknown in the international realm that people want to change agreements that have been put in place where agreements have proven not to be working in the way they were designed.

"And even the European Union, now, accepts that the protocol is harming Northern Ireland.

"I'm focused on getting a solution, rather than name-calling.

"In the end it's not a question of taking things on trust, it's a question of getting things done."

Asked if he trusted Boris Johnson, he replied: "I don't need to. I'm a pragmatist.

"There are many people in politics I don't necessarily trust, that I disagree with strongly.

"But in the end politics is the art of the possible - it's the art of being able to get these done and find solutions for the people, and that's what I'm focused on".

Asked what he thought of claims by former UK government advisor Dominic Cummings that they always planned to ditch the protocol, he says: "I take that with a pinch of salt.

"I had very close contact at that time with the government, and no one ever said that to me".

On President Michael D Higgins non-attendance at an event marking the partition of Ireland, Mr Donaldson says it was disappointing.

"I think it's disappointing that he wasn't able to join us for this service.

"I hope on reflection that he will feel in time that maybe wasn't the right decision - but we are where we are.

"We need to focus on the hope and reconciliation that it at the heart of this service".

Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney attended the event in Co Armagh on Thursday.

Describing partition as 'a mistake', Minister Chambers earlier told Newstalk the Government had to listen to different perspectives.

"I believe in uniting our people and our country, but I do in the spirit of constitutional republicanism that I think was underpinned in the Good Friday Agreement.

"I think if we're serious about building trust, building reconciliation and promoting peace we have to hear different perspectives from people who have a different tradition than we have", he added.

Donaldson: I don't need to trust Boris Johnson on Northern Ireland Protocol

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Main image: DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson speaks to the media in June 2021. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo / Peter Morrison

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Boris Johnson David Frost EU Ireland Jeffrey Donaldson Leo Varadkar Northern Ireland Protocol

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