There has been very welcome progress since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in co-operation and collaboration between Government Agencies North and South. Thankfully we have seen enterprise and commerce develop on an All Ireland basis and in many sectors there is a huge inter dependence both North and South.
Brexit poses particular challenges and co-operation is critical at this time in defending and promoting the interests of all of this island.
Below reply by the Foreign Affairs Minister to a Parliamentary Question I tabled in Dáil Éireann –
For Written Answer on : 30/01/2019
Question Number(s): 83 Question Reference(s): 4686/19
Department: Foreign Affairs and Trade
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there are ongoing discussions between Departments and their counterparts in Northern Ireland in relation to preparations for Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The continuing absence of vital institutions of the Good Friday Agreement is a source of deep concern for the Government, as it is for the British Government. The Government will continue to do everything in its power, in accordance with its responsibilities as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions. Both Governments are determined to find a way beyond the current impasse to get the institutions operating again and I remain in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how this can be pursued.
The devolved institutions of the Agreement are urgently needed so that the mandated Assembly and power-sharing Executive can represent the interests of all of the people of Northern Ireland and address issues of concern, including the challenges for Northern Ireland of the UK decision to exit the European Union. The North South Ministerial Council is also essential to oversee and develop North South cooperation on matters of mutual interest, as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement.
In the absence of an Executive, there are continuing discussions between officials of all Departments and their counterparts in Northern Ireland to continue to maintain the efficient functioning of North-South cooperation.