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Irish and British parliamentarians to assess the Stormont House Agreement and the role of sport in reconciliation

Added 20-Feb-2015

Taoiseach, Sports Minister and GAA President to address landmark 50th plenary session

The outcome of the Stormont House Agreement and the power of sport in fostering community cohesion will be among the key issues considered by Irish and British parliamentarians when they meet in Dublin on Monday and Tuesday next.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD will open the next meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) in the Seanad Chamber, Leinster House. Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) President Liam O’Neill will welcome the Assembly to Croke Park for a panel discussion on the power of sport and its contribution to community development. Journalists are welcome to attend.

Former rugby internationals Trevor Ringland and Hugo MacNeill as well as voices from the Irish Football Association (IFA), Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Ulster GAA are likely to make specific reference to the role of sport in reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Minister of State Seán Sherlock will make a keynote address on the outcome of the Stormont House Agreement and Members will be encouraged to make forthright contributions. Other speakers include the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe TD, and Professor John Coakley, Institute of British-Irish Studies, University College Dublin (UCD)View programme

Irish Co-Chair Frank Feighan TD says: “For 25 years, the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly has fostered greater understanding of issues relevant to the lives of citizens we serve on both sides of the Irish Sea. It is hoped that the Stormont House Agreement will be a positive catalyst for change in the lives of many people The Assembly will gain from the perspectives of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, Minister of State Seán Sherlock, TD, and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe, TD.

“The Good Friday Agreement makes clear that in our efforts to build a real and lasting peace, we must strive in every practical way towards reconciliation. This is the fundamental aspiration of the Stormont House Agreement which follows on. Irish and British people share a passion for sporting endeavour so it is timely that we examine the role of sport in fostering community cohesion across these islands. The three largest sporting organisations in Northern Ireland have made steady progress in breaking down sectarian barriers in recent years. It will be a valuable opportunity to hear from rugby, football and GAA voices on how sport can foster cross-community spirit.”

Laurence Robertson MP, British Co-Chair of the Association, says: “I'm pleased to be attending and co-chairing this plenary. Sport has been, and remains, one of the most important parts of my life. It has the capacity to exercise, excite and unite people and I'm hopeful that we will see evidence of this during the plenary.

“I also look forward to engaging in debates on important political issues such as the Stormont House Agreement and to generally further improving the already excellent relations which exist between the UK and Ireland, as well as our friends from the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles.”

The plenary session will be streamed live from the Seanad chamber and Croke Park on www.britishirish.org. News, speeches, photos, video clips and other material will appear online through the course of the two days.

Follow the BIPA twitter channel for updates: www.twitter.com/BritishIrishPA

For more information access www.britishirish.org


Media enquiries to:

Dublin: Paul Hand (+353) 87 6949926
London: Jessica Bridges Palmer (+44) 07917 488 489

  • 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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