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British Irish Parliamentary Assembly opens with discussion on Brexit

Added 4-Jul-2016

The 52nd Plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) opened this morning with a minute’s silence commemorating the late Jo Cox MP, as well as those who lost their lives in the 1916 Rising and the Battle of the Somme.


Joe McHugh TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid, began the Assembly’s business with an update on current developments in British / Irish relations. The Minister acknowledged the important work conducted by BIPA and its members since its formation in 1990 in fostering friendship, cooperation and close bonds between its parliaments, assemblies and committees. Members were urged by the Minister to continue this work in the challenging times that now lie ahead.


A lively debate was held on a motion considering the impact on British / Irish relations in light of the British referendum on EU membership. Members expressed a diverse range of views on the outcome, with many highlighting concerns about the impact of the British decision to leave the EU.


In particular, the importance of the result for Northern Ireland was highlighted, with members expressing concerns about the future of the border on the island of Ireland.


The importance of fostering bilateral relations between Dublin, Belfast and London was noted, particularly in relation to the common travel area and its importance to trade and cooperation. During a wide-ranging discussion, BIPA members stressed the need to be proactive in ensuring that these islands do not suffer adverse economic and trade consequences as a result of Brexit.


There was some discussion of a suggestion that Ireland rejoin the Commonwealth and Scottish members also raised the issue of a second referendum on Scottish independence.


Members agreed that BIPA will become more important than ever in ensuring that the relationships, friendships and cooperation among these islands are built upon and strengthened in the time ahead.



Notes to eds: 


The 52nd Plenary of the British Irish Assembly will take 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 2099 perryg@parliament.uk

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