Irish premier warns Johnson against unilateral action on NI Protocol

UK-EU discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol need to be intensified, the Irish premier has told Boris Johnson.

In a call on Tuesday morning, Taoiseach Micheal Martin spoke to the UK Prime Minister about the challenges facing Northern Ireland following the Assembly election.

He tweeted: “We both agreed on the need to see the NI Executive formed as soon as possible.

“On the Protocol, I stressed need to intensify EU and UK discussions, and to avoid any unilateral action.”

Following the historic election result at the weekend, Sinn Fein is now the largest party at Stormont and entitled to nominate the first nationalist or republican First Minister.

The DUP, led by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has said it will not enter a new power-sharing Executive until issues with the protocol are solved.

On Monday, Mr Martin had urged the DUP to think again.

He also expressed optimism the EU and the UK could reach an agreement on the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, which have overshadowed relations between the two sides for months.

Unionists fiercely oppose the creation of new checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mr Martin on Monday rejected any suggestion of EU inflexibility on the protocol, which created new checks on trade moving from Great Britain.

Instead, he suggested there is a “landing zone” for a compromise between the two sides.