Lord Frost yesterday told the EU not to mistake his ‘reasonable tone’ during talks for ‘any softening in the substantive position’.
Boris Johnson said earlier this week that it would be ‘perfectly legitimate’ for the UK to trigger Article 16 if improvements cannot be agreed with the EU.
Mr Martin told the BBC the atmosphere around the talks has now changed and he believes a deal can be achieved.
He had warned at the start of November that triggering Article 16 would be ‘unwise’ and ‘reckless’.
He said: ‘That comment was made some weeks ago when the indications were that a unilateral move was going to be made to just trigger it without really serious engagement on the issues.
‘I now believe that what is happening is good and positive in terms of the engagement, it is the very type of thing I want to see that I hadn’t been seeing.’
Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin today said the ‘mood music’ has changed in talks between the UK and the EU
The Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed as part of the original Brexit deal, requires checks on goods to be carried out at ports in order to avoid the return of a land border with the Republic
He added: ‘I am glad to say that the mood music has changed. Now, there is still a long way to go and people have to see the substance and the detail of the issues being reconciled but I believe they can.’
Mr Martin said he has been ‘very encouraged by what has transpired this week’ between Lord Frost and Mr Sefcovic.
He warned against triggering Article 16 and said ‘my own view is unilateralism never works’ as he said suspending border checks would put the UK-EU relationship into a ‘period of stress’.
‘I don’t want to be entering into a doomsday scenario here or making comments that might be seen as threatening in terms of what could happen,’ he said.
‘But I think the implications are clear to all of us in the sense that this was a negotiated agreement over a year ago and that there is a number of relationships here.
‘There is the European Union-UK relationship. Do we really want that to go into a period of stress?’