The president of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, has warned the ‘premier’ Boris Johnson that a unilateral action to change the Irish Protocol is equivalent to “a breach of international law and a threat to the peace process in Ulster” .

On her way through London, accompanied by the vice president of Sinn Féin and future chief minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, the nationalist leader stressed that the Protocol “is a necessary consequence of Brexit to avoid a return to the hard border on the island and it is working well, with practical problems that need to be negotiated with the EU”.

“It is not true that the Protocol has created economic chaos in Northern Ireland,” added McDonald, who has blamed the unionist parties for blocking the creation of a government in Belfast due to their efforts to modify or give up the most controversial point of the Brexit Agreement. The leader of Sinn Féin has accused the British Government of having been trapped in unionist rhetoric and ignoring the fact that the recent elections have confirmed “a majority in favor of the Protocol in the new Assembly”.

“Unilateral action is not the solution,” McDonald warned. “It can serve to create the political feeling of mission accomplished, but it will not solve the problem. The only acceptable thing is an agreement.”

McDonald thanked the mediation of the delegation of US congressmen and senators, headed by Richard Neal, and recalled that his recommendation to Johnson has been the same: avoid unilateral action to guarantee stability in Ulster. Neal has met this Tuesday with the Irish Prime Minister, Michéal Martin, and this Wednesday he will arrive in Belfast, the last stop on his mission that has not served to dissuade Boris Johnson from his efforts.

“There is no more time to waste and no more excuses not to form a government in Northern Ireland,” McDonald reiterated. “People have voted for a change and they don’t want to return to the political battles of the past. We have to keep moving forward along the path marked out 24 years ago by the Good Friday Peace Agreement.”

The peace agreement requires precisely the formation of governments of “shared power” between the majority parties. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has, however, refused to occupy the co-pilot’s seat after the historic victory of Sinn Féin, which aims to hold a referendum on the reunification of the island throughout this decade.

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