Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has welcomed today’s inaugural meeting of the north south Inter-Parliamentary Association, describing it as “another forum through which good relations and trust can be built. Greater harmonisation of our natural, human and economic resources can be agreed to our mutual benefit.”
An equal number of MLAs from the Assembly and from the Houses of the Oireachtas, under the Joint Chair of the Ceann Chomhairle Seán Barrett TD and the Speaker Willie Hay MLA, will meet twice a year to discuss issues of interest and concern including the economy, health, environment, energy and social issues.
The establishment of the Association is a significant political development and is a realisation of important commitments contained in the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Agreement.
Gerry Adams said:
“I want to welcome to the Oireachtas our unionist and nationalist colleagues from the Assembly for today’s first plenary meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Association.
“This is a very positive development. It reflects the increasing acknowledgement that Ireland is too small for our people to live in isolation from each other and that working together is better for everyone.
“Sinn Féin is an Irish republican party. We want to see an end to partition and Irish unity. The unionists have a different view. That is a challenge and a matter of democratic persuasion in the time ahead.
“In the meantime it makes sense to develop the widest possible co-operation and co-ordination of public services and economic development by removing the social, economic and bureaucratic barriers to enhancing the quality of life of citizens on this island.
“The Inter-Parliamentary Association provides another forum through which good relations and trust can be built. Greater harmonisation of our natural, human and economic resources can be agreed to our mutual benefit.”