Statement and Joint Communique from BIIGC
News25 July 2018
Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister Charlie Flanagan participate in a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference
- Discussions took place between the Government and the UK Government on a range of issues.
- Conference established under the Good Friday Agreement to promote bilateral co-operation between Ireland and the UK.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, T.D., and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan, T.D., represented the Government at a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in London today.
Following the meeting, the Conference issued a Joint Communiqué (below) setting out the areas of discussion, which covered legacy issues, security co-operation, East-West bilateral issues and political stability in Northern Ireland.
Speaking after the meeting of the Conference, the Tánaiste said:
“I was pleased to participate in a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference today. It was important that the Conference met to discuss issues of mutual interest to the Irish and British Governments, in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.
There was a good discussion and I look forward to engaging with the British Government through the Conference as we continue to work together as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement to seek the effective operation of all of the institutions of the Agreement.”
Speaking after the meeting of the Conference, Minister Flanagan said:
“Combating violence from paramilitary groups has always been a priority for the Irish Government and I am determined that we will continue to work with the British Government to bring such violence to an end. The Conference reiterated the importance of enhancing our strong, ongoing co-operation in the face of the shared threat from paramilitaries. The good work of the Gardaí and the PSNI remains central our approach and we will continue to work together to ensure the safety and security of all communities.”
The Conference was set up under the Good Friday Agreement “to promote bilateral co-operation at all levels on all matters of mutual interest within the competence of both Governments”.
JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE BRITISH-IRISH INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE, 25 JULY 2018
A meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) took place at the Cabinet Office in London on 25 July 2018.
The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was represented by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon David Lidington MP, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP. The Government of Ireland was represented by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Simon Coveney TD, and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Charles Flanagan TD.
The Conference was established under Strand Three of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement “to promote bilateral co-operation at all levels on all matters of mutual interest within the competence of both Governments”.
The Conference discussed the following:
The Conference reviewed the overall progress towards implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework.
Both the Irish and UK Governments re-asserted their commitment to the legacy bodies set out in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement as the best means of addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past. The UK Government updated the Conference on the consultation currently being held on the Stormont House institutions which runs to 10 September. The Irish Government updated the Conference on the legislative measures being brought forward within its jurisdiction to implement and support the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework and raised other legacy issues.
The Conference reviewed the current security situation, and discussed the continuing threat posed by Northern Ireland Related Terrorism in the United Kingdom and in Ireland.
The Conference expressed its rejection of all paramilitary violence and all other forms of paramilitary activity. The Conference reiterated its strong support for the efforts of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána, along with other agencies, in keeping people safe and secure across both jurisdictions.
Both the UK and Irish Governments recalled commitments in the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement to ending paramilitarism and looked forward to the first report of the Independent Reporting Commission established under that Agreement.
The Conference considered the strength of the bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland and welcomed the high levels of bilateral cooperation across a range of important policy areas.
The Conference agreed that this level of bilateral co-operation needed to be maintained and, where possible, strengthened following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
Officials were asked to take forward work in this area with a view to coming forward with proposals for future East-West cooperation, including at Cabinet and Ministerial level, for consideration by the Irish and UK Governments at a future meeting of the Conference.
Both the UK and Irish Governments reiterated their strong support for the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements which have underpinned the progress made in Northern Ireland over the past two decades and which provide the framework for the political process in Northern Ireland.
The Irish and UK Governments re-affirmed their shared commitment to all of the political institutions established by the Agreement and to securing the effective operation of power-sharing, devolved government in Northern Ireland and the consequent resumption of the North/South Ministerial Council and Northern Ireland participation in the British Irish Council at the earliest opportunity.
Both the UK and Irish Governments agreed to continue working closely together in accordance with the three-stranded approach as set out in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
It was agreed that the Conference would meet again in the autumn.