Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said he would be open to an extension of grace periods post-Brexit to ensure businesses can operate as best as possible under the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, he said the protocol is working but there are some difficulties with its implementation.

He said goods are finding their way into Northern Ireland and that the volumes are similar to this time last year.

However, he said unionism has been strong in terms of criticism of implementation issues.

He said it is his job that the protocol works as smoothly as it possibly can with all the flexibility required, while being true to the International Treaty which provides a legal obligation to implement it. 

He said scrapping it is not realistic and he is not trying to pick a fight with the DUP on the issue.

"You cannot simply scrap an element of an international treaty five weeks into its implementation because you don't like elements of it.

"We need to find accommodation for each other here that can reduce tensions in Northern Ireland and respond to legitimate concerns so we can show the protocol can be flexible when needed."


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