The outworkings of Brexit continue to “bedevil” politics in Northern Ireland, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told an audience in Derry.
r Martin was addressing an event organised by the Hume Foundation at the Playhouse Theatre in the city.
He said that: “My government listens carefully to the concerns of all communities in Northern Ireland.”
“As Taoiseach, I have engaged actively and constructively with unionist, nationalist and other political leaders across the spectrum here.
“The Irish Government will never dismiss genuinely held concerns around the Protocol, and we are working very actively with our EU partners to listen and engage on them, but any opposition must always be peaceful. That is simply fundamental.
“There are democratic and lawful means for all concerns to be raised and resolutions worked through. That is where our focus must remain.”
Reflecting on almost a quarter of a century since the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Martin said there had been reconciliation across the islands.
He added: “But we also see that the three sets of relationships accommodated in the Good Friday Agreement are strained, and they have been for some time now.
“The outworkings of Brexit, including the Protocol, continue to bedevil politics in Northern Ireland and complicate both north/south and east/west relationships.
“The power-sharing Executive and North South Ministerial Council are, once again, not fully functioning, which is a source of deep concern.
“As it the fact that the legacy of the Troubles has still not been equitably dealt with. Leaving unmet the needs and legitimate expectations of victims and unresolved trauma in society.”
Ahead of the event, a number of homeowners affected by the mica controversy staged a protest outside the theatre. Mr Martin stopped to speak to the protesters before entering.
Earlier in the day, Mr Martin said he did not think twice about coming to Northern Ireland a week after the security alert which disrupted Mr Coveney’s visit last Friday.
The Taoiseach carried out a number of engagements during his visit to Derry.
He met with business leaders in the city and visited Ulster University’s Magee campus to discuss cross-border research projects.
The research projects are funded through the Irish government’s shared island initiative.
He also visited Altnagelvin Hospital, where the government has part-funded cross-border cancer services.