North/South Ministerial Council: Plenary and Institutional

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:00 pm on 18th January 2021.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 1:00 pm, 18th January 2021

On its formal role, article 165 of the withdrawal agreement established the Specialised Committee to address issues that are related to the implementation of the protocol. As you know, the protocol provides a specific role for the North/South Ministerial Council in identifying issues with the implementation and the application of the protocol. Article 14 states that the Specialised Committee:

"shall ... examine proposals concerning the implementation and application of this Protocol from the North-South Ministerial Council and North-South Implementation bodies set up under the 1998 Agreement".

Therefore, it is really important that the NSMC keeps the implementation and application of the protocol under constant review. As I said in my opening remarks, officials have been asked to develop an appropriate mechanism for Ministers to refer proposals to the Specialised Committee if it were necessary to do so. We recognise that it is important that there are good communication channels between both jurisdictions, and that is especially true with Brexit.