Lynn Boylan – Importance of all-Ireland institutions - Ard Fheis 2012
Dia Dhaoibh a chairde, Is miseLynn Ní Bhaoigheallain, ionadaíonn Thamhlachta Láir agus Cathaoirleach Safefood.
Speaking on the importance of the All Island Institutions.
The all island institutions are an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement and are a crucial step on the path to reunification. They bring together the ministers & departments in the North & South to discuss planning and policy on an all island basis in areas of mutual cooperation.
The last 5 years with the stability in the north has seen these institutions develop and begin to realise their potential. Take for example:
Intertrade Ireland which so far has generated €750 million worth of trade & business development and created 1,300 new jobs.
And CAWT which operates with funding from the Special European Programmes has to date seen more than 7,000 people benefit from cross border health and social care services.
Or if you look at Safefood the body I have been involved with for the last 5 years, award winners for their Stop the Spread Campaign but who also sponsor 16 community food intiatives north & south. These community Food Initiatives work with socially deprived communities to develop solutions that will improve their health and tackle social inequality. Safefood is also actively engaged in developing policy to tackle food poverty, an issue more and more families find themselves facing.
The all Island Institutions are playing a vital role in achieving Sinn Féin’s goal of a United Ireland. Even as recently as November a Cross Border Health Report recommended much closer cooperation and proposed joint programmes to tackle suicide, obesity & mental health issues.
However 2011 saw a change of administration in both jurisdictions with new Ministers and new board appointments and this presents both challenges and opportunities. For the future Sinn Féin should be vigilant for attempts to erode the roles of these institutions and not tolerate any attempt to use the economic crisis as an excuse to undermine the valuable work they do. We also have a duty to ensure that they are model organizations providing real value for taxpayers money and real tangible benefits to communities. Go Raibh Mile maith agaibh.