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British Irish Parliamentary Assembly closes with debates on Brexit and health policy

Added 5-Jul-2016

The 52nd Plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) has closed with further discussion of the ongoing implications of the British referendum result.

Over the course of two days, Parliamentarians drawn from across Britain and Ireland, including the Oireachtas, Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, gathered in Malahide to discuss explore a number of practical areas of cooperation for the citizens and communities they serve.

Discussion was dominated by the result of the Brexit referendum and how the Assembly can address the implications of the British decision to depart the EU.


There was widespread agreement amongst members that the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland, in particular, would be damaging at community level, as well as potentially impacting negatively on trade.


In its final session of the day, BIPA was addressed by Former Minister for Health, Senator James Reilly, and the previous Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Senator Jerry Buttimer. In a joint presentation, Senators Reilly and Buttimer briefed BIPA members on recent legislation  progressed by the former Minister for Health and Pre -Legislative scrutiny undertaken by the former Committee on Health. This session focused on key issues involving alcohol misuse; cigarette labelling and the rights of adopted people to secure their identities through enhanced tracing services and access to their birth certificates.


Prior to this, the Assembly received a report from Committee B on Visa Systems and also received progress updates from the other Committees along with government responses to other reports.


Irish Co-Chair, Kathleen Funchion TD, said, “This 52nd BIPA plenary has been an especially significant one. It was the first time many members from across these islands came together since the result of the British referendum. Our discussions were rightly dominated by Brexit and all members reiterated their desire to continue the vital work done by BIPA in improving relations between all the administrations on these islands.”


“Our invited speakers provided us with important updates on some of the issues facing us on these islands, while updates on the Assembly’s Committee reports allowed members to follow up on work done at previous plenaries.”


Acting British Co-Chair, Lord Alfred Dubs said, “Coming just a few days after the UK’s decision to leave the EU, this session of BIPA was the first time representatives of Ireland, Britain and the Crown Dependencies have come together to discuss how this will affect our relationships. I have been pleased to see the determination shown by all attendees to work hard to ensure that good relations are maintained and there was broad agreement that a hard border must not be reintroduced. We have held very positive debates on the impact of the referendum result and I am encouraged that BIPA can play an important role in future developments.”

“I would also like to thank our guest speakers for their excellent presentations that have undoubtedly added to our understanding of our shared history. The perspectives we have heard on the role of women in the First World War and the Easter Rising were truly fascinating.”



Notes to eds: 

The 52nd Plenary of the British Irish Assembly took place at the Grand Hotel, Malahide, in Dublin on Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th July 2016.

Follow the BIPA twitter channel for updates: @BritishIrishPA


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. 

Media enquiries and accreditation requests to:

Dublin: Nuala Walsh (+353) 86 410 0898
/ nuala.walsh@oireachtas.ie

London: George Perry: + 0044 783 417 2099perryg@parliament.uk

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