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63rd British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly Concludes in Belfast

Added 6-Mar-2023

63rd British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly Concludes in Belfast

The extraordinary 63rd Plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly concluded on the afternoon of Monday March 6th. The one-day meeting was held in the Northern Ireland Assembly Chamber at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in Belfast.

Lawmakers from the Oireachtas and all the legislatures of the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies gathered to discuss matters of mutual interest, principally the upcoming 25th anniversary of the signature of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

In their opening remarks, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Sir John Holmes, knighted for services to peace in Northern Ireland under Sir John Major and Sir Tony Blair, both paid tribute to the work of the Assembly and its importance in strengthening bi-lateral ties.

Mr Ahern and Sir John called on parties in Northern Ireland to build on the momentum of the recent breakthrough regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and to return to Stormont to take their seats in the Assembly.

Mr Ahern's key role in the build up to the Good Friday Agreement was highlighted by Sir John, who recalled how Mr Ahern's return to negotiations directly after his mother's funeral was decisive in bringing the Ulster Unionist Party back to discussions during a tense period in the negotiations.

British Vice Chair Karin Smyth MP hosted a panel discussion with members of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, and Dr Jonny Byrne of Ulster University’s School of Criminology addressed BIPA members on Policing under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Members of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly unanimously adopted a motion on the contribution of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement which recognised the achievements under the Agreement to date while acknowledging the need for more work to address the impact of the Troubles on Northern Ireland.

 Notes to Editor: 

  • The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) was set up in February 1990 to act as a link between the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.
  • BIPA's members meet in plenary session twice a year and the main work of the Assembly falls to four Committees, which deal with sovereign matters, European affairs, economic affairs and environmental and social affairs.
  • BIPA Committees have published reports on the post-Brexit trading environment, the vaccine rollout and bilateral ties – read the reports here.

For more on BIPA, see here.

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