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Peace and reconciliation is a collective investment, with a collective return - Minister Sherlock

Northern Ireland Peace Process, Trade, MoS Sean Sherlock, Press Releases, Ireland, Northern Ireland, 2015

Peace and reconciliation is a collective investment, with a collective return - Minister Sherlock

The Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-Operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today highlighted the collective benefits of peace, stability and cooperation on this island.

In an address to the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, Minister Sherlock emphasised the Government’s commitment to British-Irish and all-island economic co-operation:

“Peace and reconciliation is a collective investment, with a collective return. One important way this manifests itself is in North-South cooperation on a range of policy areas.

“The Government’s commitment to all-island economic co-operation remains a priority. My role as the first ever Minister for North South Cooperation is tangible evidence of the importance the Government attaches to seeing progress in this area.

Minister Sherlock highlighted the potential for job creation that increased cooperation will bring, saying:

“The potential that cooperation between and across these islands has is bounded only by our desire to pursue it. Increased North-South cooperation and the recent achievement of the Stormont House Agreement are two of the most significant examples of this.

“Unlocking this potential further will require the sustained engagement of political leaders North and South, East and West.”

Minister Sherlock also explored the issue of job creation on an all-island basis.

“Job creation and exports are crucial to both economies on the island,” said Minister Sherlock.

“InterTradeIreland continues to support and grow cross border business and is making a significant impact on building the capability of SMEs in both jurisdictions. The most recent trade statistics show that the cross border economy is showing significant growth. Cross-border trade in 2013 was worth over €3 billion, an increase of over 7% on 2012.”

“InterTradeIreland also chairs the all-island Horizon 2020 steering group of partner agencies and departments, North and South. This group is a manifestation of tangible North South cooperation, as we aim to maximise our drawdown of funds from the €80 billion EU research and innovation fund. The group has set itself the ambitious target of €175 million for specific North South projects by 2020. To date 70% of Northern Ireland’s Horizon 2020 drawdown is from North South collaborative projects. A significant percentage of our own is also down to cross border partnerships, showing that cooperation is vital to us all. Involvement in such projects is essential for building research capacity on the island, creating jobs and opportunities and ensuring we become world leaders in innovation. We speak the same language, we are geographically close. It just makes sense to collaborate, especially when the success rate of North South applications is higher than the EU average.”

ENDS

Press Office

24 February 2015

Notes for Editors

Minister Sherlock negotiated the Horizon 2020 package during the Irish Presidency of the EU as Minister for Research.