Six Nations 2022 Martin and Johnson to attend match at Twickenham
Meeting ahead of tie to tackle disputes over Troubles-related crimes amnesty and protocol
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British prime minister Boris Johnson will attend the Six Nations match between Ireland and England at Twickenham together on Saturday in an attempt to improve the difficult relationship between their two governments.
During a bilateral meeting ahead of the match, the two leaders will discuss the British-Irish relationship in light of ongoing disputes over the Northern Ireland protocol and other issues, including Mr Johnson’s proposed amnesty for Troubles-related crimes.
The meeting is part of a three-day visit to Britain, during which the Taoiseach will also attend the St Patrick’s Day parade in London. Mr Martin and Mr Johnson are expected to talk about the crisis in Ukraine, which foreign secretary Liz Truss has suggested should encourage Britain and the European Union to resolve their differences over the protocol.
She told the Atlantic Council in Washington: “We share a deep commitment to peace in Northern Ireland and the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. At present the Northern Ireland protocol is creating an imbalance between communities.
“The protocol must support the Good Friday Agreement and protect east-west ties as well as North-South . . . Not because one is worth more than the other, but because both are essential to peace. The UK will always act to protect our sovereignty and the union – while also working closely with our allies.”
During his visit, the Taoiseach will attend a reception hosted by the Irish-born lord mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, and an Enterprise Ireland business event.
The Taoiseach’s visit comes as the British Labour party holds its biggest ever St Patrick’s Day programme with events in Manchester and London. The event on Friday evening at Manchester’s Irish World Heritage Centre is due to feature speakers including mayor Andy Burnham and be joined by members of the Ukrainian community in the city.