The Speaker
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 – 15:35

British and Irish ministers meet for first time in years

British and Irish ministers have met for an inter-governmental conference in London for the first time in over a decade on Wednesday.

The last time they met to discuss their affairs of state was in 2007 in Dundalk, County Louth.

The last time they met, the Democratic Unionist Party decided to share their power with Sinn Fein at Stormont.

It has been over a year since the Stormont power-sharing initiative disintegrated.

The Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Simon Coveney, stated: “It is very clear at we do not deal with devolved decision making” in reference to the fact that they are not trying to break or undermine the rules of the Good Friday Agreement by interfering in British politics.

He continued:

“This is about protecting the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement because there’s been an absence of government in Northern Ireland for 19 months now and that’s impacting communities in Northern Ireland in a negative way.”

At the conference they discussed issues such as the details of their common co-operation after Brexit is fully initiated, legacy issues and the political issues that Northern Ireland is currently facing.

Mr Coveney said:

“British ministers and Irish ministers simply won’t be meeting in the future in the same way and as frequently as we have done for more than four decades now and so we have instructed senior officials to come up with definitive proposals on how an Irish government and British government in the future can have structured and interactive dialogue at cabinet level in the same way that France and Germany have, for example… This sends a very clear signal that Britain and Ireland are going to remain very close, regardless of the challenges we face.”

He made sure the nationalists would not be worried about the conference.

“Unionists in Northern Ireland they have nothing to fear from a British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, this is an agreed structure that both governments have signed up to as part of the Good Friday agreement,”

He also mentioned that a no-deal Brexit would harm both Ireland and Britain if it were to happen.

He was then expected to have a meeting with Brexit secretary Dominic Raab at the end of the British-Irish conference.

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