NI Protocol row: Richard Neal ‘optimistic’ of resolution

A senior US politician says he’s optimistic a resolution to the NI Protocol row can be found.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 12:09 pm

Congressman Richard Neal, speaking in Derry on Wednesday, said he was upbeat about the EU and UK finding an agreed resolution to issues created by the contentious Irish Sea trading arrangements.

Mr Neal was commenting as he led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the city.

“The protocol issue, when you compare it to the issues that the two communities here faced 25 years ago before the Good Friday Agreement, is significantly disproportionate,” Mr Neal told reporters in Derry.

Congressman Richard Neal walks across Derry's Peace Bridge with Mayor Graham Warke on Wednesday. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

“The people here took up much more severe challenges. We believe that, based on the conversations that we had in Brussels and London, this is an issue for the European Union, and for the UK Government to sift and sort.”

During the visit, Mr Neal referred to the city as both Derry and Londonderry, acknowledging the different names traditionally favoured by nationalists and unionists respectively.

The congressional delegation walked across Derry’s Peace Bridge and met with community groups in Creggan.

They also had a tour of the city’s historic walls and visited the popular mural dedicated to the hit TV show ‘Derry Girls’.

The US Congressional delegation with local representatives in Derry on Wednesday. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

Mr Neal revealed that he had watched some of the Channel 4 show, describing it as “extraordinary”.

“It made an impression,” he said.

He said the award-winning show demonstrated that politics and political campaigns were about the future.