Dublin Tells London to Stop Playing the ‘Tough Guy’ Over Northern Ireland Protocol

© AP Photo / Peter MorrisonA man walks past graffiti reading "No Irish sea border" in the mainly loyalist Donegal road area of South Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021
A man walks past graffiti reading No Irish sea border in the mainly loyalist Donegal road area of South Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
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Fresh negotiations are under way between Britain and the European Union over the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol. In recent weeks a loyalist paramilitary group opposed to the protocol has been setting fire to buses in Northern Ireland.
The Irish minister for European affairs has warned of “a serious danger of complete instability in Northern Ireland” if the British government follows through with its threats to trigger Article 16 and suspend the post-Brexit trade deal.
Thomas Byrne, in a veiled dig at Britain’s Brexit Secretary Lord Frost, said: “A tough approach, or a tough-guy approach, when it comes to Northern Ireland can only be counterproductive and will lead to disaster.”

Mr Byrne told the BBC: “If we can get certainty, if we can get a continuity in trading arrangements, and less of this discussion, what will happen is that the economy in Northern Ireland will prosper and that then helps as well the social situation, which is very, very delicate at the moment.”
British and EU officials are meeting on Friday, 12 November, in an attempt to resolve issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was a compromise agreed by Boris Johnson as part of the Brexit agreement.
© REUTERS / JASON CAIRNDUFFLoyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021
Loyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
Loyalists protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol at Belfast Harbour Estate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 3, 2021
Last week an expert on the pro-British loyalist identity in Northern Ireland described the claim for one of the bus attacks by a group calling itself the Protestant Action Force as “very worrying.”
Connal Parr, a Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University, said: “This name has a history of usage as a cover name by the UVF and it was used from the mid-1970s right up until the mid-90s and was used during the murder of 41 Catholic victims, so it suggests a continuum with loyalist paramilitaries during The Troubles.”
More than 3,600 people suffered violent deaths during The Troubles - 30 years of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland, which was ended by the Good Friday Agreement.
Lord Frost and his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic are meeting in London on Friday after four weeks of negotiations failed to resolve the Northern Ireland issue.
If Britain triggered Article 16 the EU would retaliate and Britain would find itself in a trade war with the 27-nation bloc.
© Sputnik / Chris SummersA protest against a hard Brexit on the Irish border
A protest against a hard Brexit on the Irish border - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.11.2021
A protest against a hard Brexit on the Irish border
Lord Frost said on Wednesday, 10 November, Article 16 “will be our only option'' if there is no breakthrough but he said: “There is more to do and I will certainly not give up on this process unless and until it is abundantly clear that nothing more can be done."
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol goods crossing the Irish Sea between the British mainland and Ulster face customs checks.
The EU has agreed to amend the deal, reducing checks on food, plants and animals by as much as 80 percent and halving the paperwork for haulage firms.

But Britain wants the EU’s top court to be removed from its role in resolving trade disputes, something Brussels refuses to budge on.
US President Joe Biden has waded into the row, saying nothing should be done to undermine Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement, which ended The Troubles.
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