Yet Minister Michael Gove rejected the idea of a permanent EU base in Belfast in May, saying there was no need for a “mini embassy” in this part of the UK.
He admitted that there would be ad hoc visits from Brussels officials but that no permanent space was needed.
His remarks sparked discontent in the Irish Dáil, when Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin – now the Taoiseach on rotation until 2022 – accused the government of showing “bad faith”.
According to The Irish Times in May, he said the decision not to allow an office in Belfast is “both worrying and, in my opinion, potentially very divisive”.
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He concluded: “No one in Northern Ireland seems to object to the idea of having an EU office in Belfast.”
Mr Martin’s comments follow complaints from leaders of pro-Remain parties in Northern Ireland, who also accused Wesminster of “bad faith”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Vice President of Sinn Fein Michelle O’Neill, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long and Green Party leader Clare Bailey wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year.
According to The Irish News report in April, he said: ‘You know that under the terms negotiated by your government, EU representatives have the right by law to be present at all activities. related to the implementation of the protocol.
“It is also up to the EU to determine to what extent it wishes to exercise these rights, including opening an office in Belfast staffed with EU representatives who can perform their duties without interruption by the Westminster government. ”
The letter added that it was “necessary” to liaise with Downing Street, and to oppose its opening “represents an act of bad faith on the part of your government” and “a breach of trust”.