The 62nd Plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly concluded on Tuesday October 25th following a two day Plenary meeting held at the Farnham Estate Hotel in Co Cavan, Ireland.
Lawmakers from Ireland and all the British legislatures, and the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories gathered to discuss matters of mutual interest, debate trade and publish reports on a range of issues including post Brexit trade and vaccine rollout.
In their opening remarks, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. and UK Minister of State for Northern Ireland Steve Baker MP both paid tribute to the work of the Assembly and its importance in strengthening bi-lateral ties.
Mr Baker and Mr Martin called on parties in Northern Ireland to take their seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and to work to avoid another election.
Members of the Assembly raised concerns with speakers about the current political impasse in Northern Ireland,the impact of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, Legacy issues, plans to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking at the conclusion of the plenary, Irish Co-Chair Brendan Smith TD commented, “Since Sunday evening I was delighted to host a very successful Plenary meeting of our Assembly in Cavan. We were delighted to have An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D., and Minister Steve Baker contribute at length to our discussions along with a number of other guest speakers covering a wide range of topics.
A clear message throughout our proceedings is the absolute need to have the political institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement fully functioning and working in the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland. Implementing the Good Friday Agreement benefits the people of both Ireland and Britain. Discussing the challenges we share will also enable us to build solutions together.
As a Parliamentary Assembly we will continue to strengthen British Irish bilateral relations and we will be ambitious and energetic in our work. As neighbours with so many mutual concerns and interests we must talk to each other more and we must also listen to each other more.”
British Co-Chair Karen Bradley MP commented: “This plenary has highlighted how incredibly important our work is to bring together the various views of these isles to improve understanding and cooperation.
It was a great honour to welcome the Taoiseach and Steve Baker and they have our thanks for treating this plenary and this institution with enormous respect. It is a recognition of the work we do to lay the foundation for better bilateral relations.
Members on our Committees have done great work in the reports adopted by the Assembly that will result in further cooperation between the UK and Ireland.”
Notes to Editor
Photography credit: Thomas Whyte – no repro fee.
The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) was set up in February 1990 to act as a link between the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.
BIPA’s members meet in plenary session twice a year and the main work of the Assembly falls to four Committees, which deal with sovereign matters, European affairs, economic affairs and environmental and social affairs.
BIPA Committees have published reports on the post-Brexit trading environment, the vaccine rollout and bilateral ties – read the reports here.
For more on BIPA, see here.
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