President Von Der Leyen must confirm if she, or any other Commissioner, received a request from any Member State or Government Minister from a Member State, to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol last week,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.

Kelleher was commenting after submitting a formal question to the European Commission requesting full transparency on how the Article 16 debacle came to pass.

“Rumours are circulating across Brussels that the decision to invoke Article 16 was made following requests from a Member State government. What we need now is complete honesty and transparency from President Von Der Leyen.

“What we know is that on the morning of Friday, 29th January there was no mention of invoking Article 16 in the Commission. Yet by early afternoon of the same day, it was included.

“What happened to cause it to be inserted? Who suggested it? Did it come from a Commission official; did the request come from a Commissioner; or did it come from a Member State government?

“Full transparency is now required. President Von Der Leyen is planning to address this issue at next week’s meeting of the European Parliament. There can be no vagueness or hiding behind collective responsibility. We need definitive answers,” concluded Kelleher.