Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has called for the restoration of the northern Executive without delay.
Speaking today in the Dáil, Teachta McDonald said:
“The announcement yesterday of an agreement by the European Commission and the British Government on the Protocol is very welcome.
“The announcement marked the end of negotiations to resolve trading practicalities.
“We have always said that workable and durable solutions existed if both parties engaged in good faith and if the necessary political will was demonstrated.
“The Protocol represents hard-won protections for Ireland against the sharpest edge of the Tory Brexit.
“This means guaranteeing no hard border on the island of Ireland, protecting the Good Friday Agreement in its entirety, and maintaining the all-island economy and access to the single market.
“While all parties and sectors are now working through the details of the agreement, it appears that these vital protections have been preserved.
“We will be seeking clarifications on certain aspects of the Agreement and that process should be facilitated with all parties
“However, it looks as though a positive outcome has been achieved for all of Ireland. For our people. For our peace and stability. For our economic success. We are now at a turning point and that is good news for business and wider society.
“I want to recognise the unified stance taken by the Oireachtas on Brexit and indeed in defence of the Protocol over these difficult few years.
“Such a unified stance and a shared purpose is required again to see the democratic institutions in the North restored with urgency. We also need to see the resumption of the North-South Ministerial Council.
“Last May, the people voted in an historic Assembly election. They voted for an Executive of progress, partnership, and inclusion.
“For nine months, the DUP has used the pretext of the Protocol for their blockade of the Executive and the Assembly.
“Following yesterday’s announcement, even by their own logic, there exists no justification for the DUP to continue this reckless and damaging boycott of democracy.
“There is no justification for the DUP to keep the Executive down while workers, families and businesses struggle with an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis and as they suffer chronic treatment waiting lists.
“The vast majority of people in the North want the parties around the Executive table. They want a government up and working for them, dealing with the issues that affect their lives.
“The onus now is very much on the DUP to join with everyone else in making politics work. The negotiations are over, and we need to see the restoration of the executive without further delay.”