Ireland: Micheál Martin responds to EU vaccine row
David Bull was speaking at a time of mounting criticism for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the wake of the controversial decision, which was rapidly reversed after London, Dublin and Belfast also lodged angry protests. Mr Bull, a medical doctor who was one of 29 Brexit Party MEPs elected in 2019, said the episode spoke volumes about Brussels’ true attitude towards Ireland.
He told Express.co.uk: “These countries who are huge europhiles are now thinking, ‘hang on a minute, the EU is not what we thought it was, they don’t know what they are doing’.
“I think we are going to see massive ramifications from this.
“And also triggering Article 16 like that is playing a very dangerous game.
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“You can now see all of the Northern Ireland Protocol being called into question.
“Putting a border down the Irish Sea was never a good idea in the first place.”
Mr Bull added: “I feel very sorry for people in the Republic of Ireland because they have been thrown under a bus by the European Union at the first sign of trouble.
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“They have been told they were an integral part of the European Union – well it didn’t last very long did it?”
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Foreign Minister defended the Northern Ireland Protocol today in the wake of calls by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for it to be scrapped.
He told the BBC: “The Protocol essentially is an Irish and British and EU negotiated solution, an agreed solution, part of the Brexit agreement, to try to limit the disruptive impact of Brexit on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
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“What is causing all of this tension is Brexit, not the Protocol, the Protocol is an attempt to try to reduce tension and solve problems linked to Brexit.”
Yesterday, Mr Coveney criticised the European Commission for its initial move to trigger Article 16 on Friday, something he admitted had hardened Unionist opposition.
He said: “I think it was a mistake that everybody recognises should not have happened.
“I mean in simple terms, you do not touch the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland without full consultation with the people who are most impacted by it.
“The Irish government, the British government and, perhaps most importantly, political leaders in Northern Ireland.
“That’s what happened on Friday, which should not have happened.
“And I think lessons have been learned as a result of that, and it certainly won’t happen again.”
Also speaking yesterday, Ms von der Leyen refused to apologise, but said: “The final version of the regulation we have adopted does not include any reference to Article 16.
“The consideration given to invoking article 16 was dropped before the decision was made final.
“So, despite the fact that I regret that Article 16 was mentioned in a provisional version of the decision, I am glad that the commission was quick on its feet to find another solution to address the question at stake.”
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