Orange leadership meets Taoiseach
The Grand Master and Senior Officers of the Orange Institution have met with the Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Irish Government officials in Dublin.
The delegation used the opportunity to reinforce the widespread dissatisfaction of the Unionist community with the Northern Ireland Protocol, and to remind the Irish Government of their role in the creation of the current crisis.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “The Irish Government was quick to warn of the threat of violence should a physical border be placed on their territory. Yet the Northern Ireland Protocol creates a new internal UK border which clearly breaches the Belfast Agreement. As such, rather than protecting the political Institutions, the Protocol has further alienated Unionists and has increased political instability.”
He continued: “The leaders of political Unionism have spoken with one voice in opposition to the current arrangements. Those concerns have to date been ignored by the EU and downplayed by those who are happy to see Northern Ireland’s economy re-orientate away from its main markets in the United Kingdom.”
In a frank and wide-ranging discussion, the Taoiseach was left in no doubt that the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, if unresolved, threatens not only political stability, but also the nature of current and future relationships with the Unionist community.
The Taoiseach was informed that solutions to the current impasse are possible - but only if they fully respect Northern Ireland’s constitutional position, ensure unfettered trade between all parts of the United Kingdom and remove the authority of foreign courts and legislatures in the affairs of Northern Ireland.
The delegation also took the opportunity to seek assurances that the Irish Government would address their moral responsibilities regarding legacy matters, a commitment made in the New Decade New Approach document of early 2020.