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Kathleen Funchion TD closes two day BIPA Plenary

5 July, 2016 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion today closed the final session and day of the 52nd Plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly as the new Irish co-Chair of BIPA.  The two day Plenary which took place Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th July in Malahide, Co. Dublin was attended by members from the Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh and Northern Assemblies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.  

Deputy Funchion was recently nominated by her party to take the role as Chair of the Good Friday Agreement Committee in the Oireachtas and is both the first Sinn Féin elected representative and first ever woman to hold the position.

Irish Co-Chair Kathleen Funchion TD said:

“The main themes addressed this Plenary were topics which affect us all: tourism and inter connectivity opportunities between the two islands, visa systems, the impact of the referendum on EU membership and most crucially, it’s implications for the Good Friday Agreement.

“Obviously, Brexit featured heavily. It was positive to hear that the overriding sentiment by members is one of cooperation. The scale of issues arising is still being unveiled. The potential for fundamental change to relationships between our islands is clear. However, it was obvious from the contributions shared that there is a will to work through things in a constructive manner.

“I was heartened to hear consensus on no desire to return to a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland. Also, that there was agreement on working to strengthen our economic, social and political cooperation and to ensure the gains of the peace process are maintained.

“Brexit will undoubtedly feature in the next Plenary in November again later this year. So it is vital that work continues through the BIPA committees in urgently addressing and examining its implications between now and then.” 

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