European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the Northern Ireland Protocol is the solution to issues caused by Brexit.

Speaking following a meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Dublin, President von der Leyen said: "The protocol is the only solution we have found with the UK after discussing that over the years.

"It is the only solution to protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market.

"We are convinced that to achieve these objectives this needs to be implemented. We have shown, as the European Commission, huge flexibility and created flexibility and pragmatism over the last year and also over the last weeks.

"Indeed, flexibility and pragmatism has been shown on our side.

"I cannot imagine that our British friends will not show the same flexibility and pragmatism because we all share the same purpose that we want to have peace and stability on the island of Ireland.

"The protocol is important, the Good Friday Agreement is paramount and therefore I cannot imagine our British friends will not show the same flexibility that we have shown."

The protocol, which is part of the Brexit withdrawal deal, is aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.

Unionists have voiced anger at the protocol, which currently demands a swathe of new checks on goods arriving from Great Britain, claiming they are undermining the union.

Demonstrations have been held against the so-called border in the Irish Sea, as well as legal challenges taken.

Mr Martin said: "Our clear sense is first of all that flexibility has been by the commission, generosity has been shown by the commission.

"Maros Sefcovic, in his discussions with the UK side, has demonstrated and said very clearly that the commission wants to be flexible. So where there's a will, there's a way.

"In our view, the mechanisms are there to resolve any outstanding issues, and we believe the mechanism should be used to the full by the UK Government and the indeed the EU.

"We believe the generosity shown by the EU should be reciprocated."