Northern Ireland Assembly Commission

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 12th March 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Leslie Cree Leslie Cree UUP 3:15 pm, 12th March 2013

Someone told me that Mr Kinahan had been kidnapped.  I do not know whether that is the case. [Interruption.] I thank the Member for her question.  Members will be aware that the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association has been established.  Indeed, many were at the inaugural meeting.  The first plenary session was held in Dublin on 12 October 2012. [Interruption.] It gets better.

The North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association comprises 25 Members from the Northern Ireland Assembly and 25 Members from the Houses of the Oireachtas.  The association was established to facilitate regular and direct discussion and engagement between the two legislatures with a view to finding ways to address issues of common interest and concern as envisaged in the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements.  At its inaugural plenary meeting on 12 October 2012 in the Seanad Chamber in Leinster House, the association considered the themes of child protection and the Ulster canal.  Feedback indicated that Members found this a worthwhile and useful experience.

The association is supported by an executive committee, which is co-chaired by the Speaker and the Ceann Comhairle and comprises five Members from each of the legislatures.  It has been agreed that plenary meetings will occur on a biannual basis.  Preparations are currently under way for the second plenary to be held on 26 April 2013 in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings.  It has been agreed that the topics for discussion on that occasion will be positive mental health strategies, suicide prevention, type 2 diabetes and caring for an ageing population.