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Queen's visit must be followed by real and practical work on economic recovery

Added 13-Jun-2011

In his inaugural address as the new Irish Co-Chair of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly* at its 42nd plenary in Cork this afternoon, Joe McHugh TD said that the onus was now on all members of the Assembly to turn the success and momentum of the recent visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland into real and tangible solutions for the economic difficulties that confront both Ireland and Britain.

Mr McHugh said that members of the Assembly should set aside their party political differences during their work in the Assembly's committees and plenary sessions and collaborate constructively together on practical initiatives.

Mr McHugh commented, "This Assembly meets in plenary session one month after Queen Elizabeth II's 4-day visit to the Republic of Ireland. That was the first visit by a British monarch to an independent Ireland. Her courtesy and the great symbolism of her visit have huge political significance for Irish people here in this country and all over the world. The Royal visit gives context to this plenary meeting, and it will give direction to the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in its work in the coming political cycle.

"It was also a privilege to have the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, address us today. While he was upfront about the challenges that confront us, he also spelled out his determination to lead Ireland to recovery and growth over the coming years.

"For our part, during my term as Co-Chair of this Assembly I would like our members to commit themselves fully to driving the agenda of collaboration between Britain and Ireland not just when we are in plenary session but when we are speaking in our own Parliaments and working in our own constituencies.

"For example, we must give political support to those who work in the area of renewable energy and who wish to pool these islands' Atlantic resources in wind, wave and energy production so that Britain and Ireland can sell energy to every country on this continent. We must also collaborate on marine production to capitalize on our shared marine resources. Let's work together to build sister marine industries.

"Queen Elizabeth II's historic visit has created the space for us to move beyond the issues that dominated the debate between Britain and Ireland in the past. Now we must move towards a better and even closer future. Let us get on with our work."


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