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51st BIPA Plenary closes with discussion on UK referendum & welcomes agreement in Northern Ireland

Added 18-Nov-2015

51st BIPA Plenary closes with discussion on UK referendum & welcomes agreement in Northern Ireland

18th November 2015

The 51st Plenary of the British Irish Assembly (BIPA) closed yesterday with a debate on a motion moved by Mr Andrew Rosindell MP, entitled, ‘That the Assembly has considered the matter of future relations between the UK and Ireland following the UK referendum on its membership of the EU.’

BIPA members represent legislative bodies in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the British crown dependencies and there were a wide variety of opinions expressed on the motion.

Members debated the possible consequences of a British exit from the EU. Members from across the Assembly were keen to discuss how best to secure the strategic interests of those legislative bodies who will be impacted by a possible ‘Brexit.’

The Assembly also received a presentation from the Crown Dependencies – Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – on their relationship with the UK and their distinct cultural and national identities. The three islands have broadly similar constitutional arrangements with the UK and Assembly members were briefed on their unique status. The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK but are self-governing dependencies of the Crown. This means they have their own directly elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems and their own courts of law.

In its final session of the day, BIPA agreed and adopted a number of Committee reports:

• Presentation of addendum to Report from Committee A (Sovereign Matters) on cross-border police cooperation and illicit trade, and progress report (Chair: Senator Paul Coghlan).

• Presentation of Report from Committee C (Economic) on Youth Unemployment, and progress report (Chair: Mr Jack Wall TD).

• Presentation of Report from Committee D (Environment and Social) on Irish communities in Scotland, and progress report (Chair: Lord Dubs).

Irish Co-Chair, Frank Feighan TD, said: “This 51st BIPA plenary was an extremely productive and thought provoking one, with lively debate and knowledge-sharing on a wide range of topics. During the Plenary session we were conscious of the ongoing talks in Northern Ireland and as Co-Chair of the Assembly, I welcome the milestone agreement reached in Northern Ireland last night. It was the result of weeks of intensive talks, and sets out a roadmap for a more secure, prosperous and stable Northern Ireland. I commend all those involved in these talks and their commitment to sustaining the devolved government in Northern Ireland.”

British Co-Chair Laurence Robertson MP says: “I feel that this Plenary has been particularly important because of the issues we've discussed, such as the political situation in Northern Ireland, the security situation and the prospects for future UK-Irish relations following the EU referendum. We were also honoured to host the Princess Royal and we remain mindful of the role the Royal Family has played in improving relations between our two countries. It has been a successful Assembly meeting and we look forward to building on it.”


Media enquiries to:

Dublin: Nuala Walsh: +353 86 410 0898  nuala.walsh@oireachtas.ie                       
London: Jessica Bridges Palmer: +44 7917 488 489 bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk

About the Assembly
The Assembly's mission is to promote co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland for the benefit of the people they represent. BIPA’s membership includes representatives from the UK Parliament, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey.

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