Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill, MLA, has today chaired her first North South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh.
The Council met in Aquacultural and Marine sectoral format, in which the work of the Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC) is overseen.
The Minister said: "The work of the NSMC is a key area of my Department’s work and I am very keen to see it maximise its potential. I was very proud to host the delegation from the south here in Armagh today at my first NSMC sectoral meeting and also to meet some of the people involved in the FCILC.
“These meetings are important as they help to strenthen and develop further the already close co-operation between my department and the Department of Communication, Energy and natural Resources, as the Agency's two co-sponsors.”
During the meeting, the Agency's Corporate Plan for 2011 to 2013 was discussed, along with the Business Plan and budget for 2011. The Council received a progress report from the FCILC Chairperson, Tarlach O'Crosain, and the Agency's Chief Executive, Derick Anderson. The Council also approved a small grant scheme through which the Agency intends to support marine tourism and recreational angling and gave the go-ahead for the Agency to appoint its third advisory forum.
Minister O'Neill said: “I have assured Minister Rabbitte of my continued commitment to the work of the FCILC in the sustainable development, and conservation and protection of fisheries in the Foyle and Carlingford Areas. I look forward to furthering the close working relationship that exists between NSMC, FCILC and the sponsor Departments.”