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British-Irish Assembly in London to discuss progress 15 years on from Good Friday Agreement

Added 18-Oct-2013

The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly meets in London on Monday 21 October 2013 to discuss the key challenges that remain to secure the progress and relative peace that have been achieved in the 15 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.  The gathering of Parliamentarians will debate how to boost the economy to cement the relative peace and economic gains that have been achieved. 

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP will give an update on the current situation and the progress that has been made in the last 15 years.

The Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI Judith Gillespie OBE will address the evolving security situation and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourism Board Dr Howard Hastings will discuss the opportunities that tourism presents to the economy. British and Irish parliamentarians will also discuss the outcomes of Ireland’s recent Presidency of the EU with Irish Minister for EU Affairs Paschal Donohoe TD.

The forum will see the publication of reports from the Assembly’s Committees, which have been inquiring into the problem of human trafficking, and the potential of renewable wave and tidal energy.

Laurence Robertson MP, British co-Chair of BIPA, said: “The last few years have posed serious economic challenges to governments and citizens across Europe and beyond, and we have also seen the return of some difficulties in the security situation in Northern Ireland. But 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement this is a good moment to take stock and realise the tremendous progress that been made. We are a world apart from the situation 15 years ago. There is unfinished business, and economic and security challenges remain. But with Ireland having held the Presidency of the European Union,  this is the moment to consider how we, as British and Irish Parliamentarians,  can consolidate the gains we have made, and boost the economy to cement the peace we have achieved.”

Irish co-Chair Joe McHugh TD added: “This upcoming Assembly in London will see parliamentarians from across these islands explore a number of practical areas of cooperation for the citizens and communities we serve. The securing of peace and stability from the Good Friday Agreement has unleashed significant economic gains for Northern Ireland and we will focus on how the tourism and renewable energy sectors can be bolstered. Peace remains fragile and cannot be taken for granted, particularly in many working class areas of Northern Ireland where the legacy of the conflict weighs so heavily. The Assembly will therefore gain from engagement with the Deputy Chief Constable on the current security challenges facing Northern Ireland.”

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.

View provisional programme.

Media enquiries to:

London: Jessica Bridges Palmer (++44) 07917 488 489

Dublin: Paul Hand (++353) 087 6949926

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