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McHugh calls for better interaction between North/South and British/Irish bodies

Added 24-Oct-2011

Speaking at the 43rd plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly*in the Grand Hotel Brighton, the Assembly Co-Chairman, Joe McHugh TD, called for greater co-ordination and co-operation between the various institutions that have been established between Britain and Ireland, as well as the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Deputy McHugh said important work was being done by the various bodies that exist, including the British Irish Council, the North South Ministerial Council, the North South Parliamentary Forum, and the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

However, he said that in order to best capitalise on this, mechanisms must be developed to allow each to report to and feed-in to the other bodies to ensure streamlining and avoid duplication.

Deputy McHugh said he would seek to raise this with the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste at the earliest possible opportunity, and would seek to meet the heads of each of the bodies following the Brighton plenary.

Deputy McHugh commented, "One of the major legacies of the peace process has been to provide parliamentarians, policy-makers, and the regional and national governments in Britain and Ireland with a number of important fora for discussing and then implementing practical policies that will benefit the people we represent.

"Each of these institutions does vital and important work in terms of knowledge-sharing and co-operation. For our own part this plenary of the British Irish Assembly has concentrated on developing active work programmes for our Committees over the coming years in the areas of environmental protection, economic development, and European affairs.

"However, if we are to improve our work then we must improve the way we interact. For example, a Minister from the British Irish Council should regularly report its work to the members of this Assembly, and our Co-Chairmen should be observers at their meetings. In turn, there must be a clear relationship between the North/South Ministerial Council, and the Parliamentary Forum.

"These simple measures will help improve the way we operate, help us to deliver on our work programmes and help build public confidence that these bodies can work."


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