Press Release

Joint Communiqué from the Inaugural Plenary of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Friday, 12 October 2012

Reference: AC 02/12/13

The North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association which comprises of representatives from all the main political parties of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Houses of the Oireachtas, today concluded its inaugural Plenary in the Seanad Chamber in Leinster House. The establishment of a North/South parliamentary forum was envisaged by the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and the St Andrew’s Agreement.

The inaugural meeting was jointly chaired by the Ceann Comhairle, Mr Seán Barrett, T.D. and the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay, MLA.

The theme of the morning session was “Child Protection” and the Association heard from two guest speakers, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the Irish Government’s Special Rapporteur for Child Protection and Mr Ian Elliot, Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. The Association noted the importance of this issue to both jurisdictions and the work that had been done on a cross-border basis through the North/South Ministerial Council and supported continued North/South co-operation in this area to help ensure that children and families in need have greater accessibility to timely and quality child protection services.

The theme of the afternoon session was the Ulster Canal. The first guest speaker was Mr Brian Cassells, OBE, past President of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. The second guest speaker, the Chief Executive Officer of Waterways Ireland, Mr John Martin outlined progress to date on plans to restore the Ulster Canal. The members of the Association welcomed efforts to restore this historic waterway and expressed the hope that work would commence shortly on the restoration. The potential economic benefits of the proposed restoration were noted.

The Joint Chairs both noted that today’s inaugural session marked a significant moment in the history of the two parliamentary institutions. It was agreed that the second Plenary of the Association would take place in Stormont on 26 April 2013.

ENDS

Pictured at the inaugural meeting of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association (NSIPA) in the Seanad Chamber, Leinster House are MLAs, TDs and Senators from the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Pictured at the inaugural meeting of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association (NSIPA) in the Seanad Chamber, Leinster House are MLAs, TDs and Senators from the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Pictured at the inaugural meeting of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association (NSIPA) in the Seanad Chamber, Leinster House are: (l-r) the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, MLA and the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett T.D.

Pictured at the inaugural meeting of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association (NSIPA) in the Seanad Chamber, Leinster House are: (l-r) the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, MLA and the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett T.D.


Notes to Editors:

Following a period of consultation between the main parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Oireachtas, it was agreed to establish a parliamentary association, NSIPA, to facilitate regular and direct discussion and engagement with a view to finding ways to address issues of common interest and concern, as envisaged in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and St. Andrews’s Agreements. An Executive Committee has been formed, to agree the format and agendas for future NSIPA Plenary meetings. NSIPA will meet twice annually and comprises of 25 members from the Northern Ireland Assembly and 25 members from the Houses of the Oireachtas. Full Membership details below.

North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association


Northern Ireland Assembly


Houses of the Oireachtas

Executive Committee

 


William Hay, Speaker, MLA (Joint Chair)


Seán Barrett, TD, Ceann Comhairle (Joint Chair)

Peter Weir MLA MLA DUP

Dominic Hannigan TD Labour

Barry McElduff MLA SF

Séamus Kirk TD FF

Leslie Cree MLA MLA UUP

Joe McHugh TD FG

Pat Ramsey MLA SDLP

Thomas Pringle TD Technical Group

Judith Cochrane MLA AP

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD SF

 

Membership

   

Tom Buchanan MLA DUP

James Bannon TD FG

Sammy Douglas MLA DUP

Pat Breen TD FG

Gordon Dunne MLA DUP

Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy TD FG

Paul Givan MLA DUP

Bernard Durkan TD FG

Brenda Hale MLA DUP

Frank Feighan TD FG

David McEllveen MLA DUP

Heather Humphreys TD FG

Jimmy Spratt MLA DUP

Dan Neville TD FG

James Wells MLA DUP

Senator Terry Brennan FG

Megan Fearon MLA SF

Senator Jim D’Arcy FG

Alex Maskey MLA SF

Michael McNamara TD Labour

Daithi McKay MLA SF

Gerald Nash TD Labour

Mitchel McLaughlin MLA SF

Joanna Tuffy TD Labour

Caral Ní Chuilin MLA SF

Senator Mary Moran Labour

Caitriona Ruane MLA SF

Brendan Smith TD FF

Basil McCrea MLA UUP

Senator Paschal Mooney FF

Sandra Overend MLA UUP

Jonathan Brien TD SF

Joe Byrne MLA SDLP

Finian McGrath TD Technical Group

Alasdair McDonnell MLA SDLP

Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell Ind Group (Taoiseach’s Nominees)

Chris Lyttle MLA AP

Senator Seán Barrett Ind Group (Universities Panel)

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