The Northern Ireland Protocol replaces the current plan, the so-called “backstop” Plan, negotiated by former British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr Coveney said: “This positive development follows a significant and productive commitment between the EU and the UK in the implementation of the protocol, as envisaged in the withdrawal agreement. The declared means of the protocol for achieving the objectives (referring to the internal market of the European Union and the customs union) are defined three paragraphs later on the same page: the Irish government and the northern Irish nationalists (supporters of a united Ireland) supported the protocol, while the Unionists (who preferred the existing United Kingdom) opposed it. In early 2019, the Westminster Parliament voted three times against ratifying the withdrawal agreement, rejecting the backstop. This protocol was strongly rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party,[43] which saw it as a weakening of Northern Ireland`s place in the United Kingdom[44] and is seen by a number of commentators as the main reason why the withdrawal agreement was not ratified by the United Kingdom Parliament. [45] [46] [47] Since 2018, the DUP has stated that the anti-Northern Ireland ruling must be withdrawn from the Brexit withdrawal agreement if it were to continue to support the Conservative government in the House of Commons[49] although the party has stated that it is open to limiting backstops over time. [50] These documents describe the draft decisions of the Joint Committee and the draft unilateral declarations of the United Kingdom and the UNION in the joint committee which, in principle, is constituted by this agreement. In accordance with the protocol, Northern Ireland will continue to apply EU customs legislation and comply with its product standards rules (the so-called internal market for goods). NIRC WELCOMES JOINT UK-EU Statement on NI PROTOCOL BUT MORE DETAIL NEEDED The announcement by Vice-President Sefvovic and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, that an agreement in principle on the issues of… the statement said: “After intense and constructive work in recent weeks by the EU and the UK, the two co-chairs can now agree in principle on all issues, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.” The Northern Ireland Protocol Command Document provides additional details on the fundamental principles and the work of the UK Government to implement the protocol and assist businesses that have come into force.