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Brexit latest news LIVE – EU warns of growing hostility in race for a vaccine as row continues over Northern Ireland

NO RENEGOTIATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL TERMS, SAYS IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER

Simon Coveney has said the Irish Government is open to “modest extensions” of grace periods associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, Mr Coveney insisted there could be no renegotiation of the terms of the protocol, which governs trade between GB and NI post-Brexit.

“We need to try to find accommodation for each other here that can reduce tensions in Northern Ireland, can respond to legitimate concerns, regardless of who’s raising them, so that we can show that the protocol can be flexible when needed,” he told RTE Radio One.

“But at the same time that is not a renegotiation of the protocol, it’s about using the protocol as it is now and flexibilities within it. And certainly I would be open to advocating for modest extensions of grace periods when appropriate to try to, first of all, reassure people that we’re listening to them in Northern Ireland, because we are, and then, secondly, so that we can ensure that businesses can operate as best they can under the protocol.

“But that’s not the same thing as scrapping the protocol and it’s important to make a strong distinction between the two.”

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