The UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is to visit Dublin on Wednesday for talks with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney amid continuing uncertainty at Stormont and turmoil in the now leaderless Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The meeting follows weeks of high-level contact between officials in Dublin, London, and Belfast which began following the recent spate of rioting in mostly loyalist areas and continuing unionist objections to the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
DUP opposition to the Protocol, which imposes some trade barriers between the North and the rest of the UK, was one of the chief factors in the challenge to Arlene Foster, who announced her resignation as DUP leader and first minister last week.
Unionists want the Protocol scrapped in contrast to the wishes of the British government and the EU.
The British government is instead concentrating its efforts on ensuring that the Protocol is applied with as little friction as possible – a stance that has led to conflict with the EU.
The government is keen to help with de-escalating tensions in the North, but will not agree to undermine EU requirements to protect the single market.
(Paula Kenny | EURACTIV.com)