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

I assume that the Member refers to an all-island COVID strategy. As I said, there has been strong cooperation across the island on many fronts. At different times, we have been at different stages with the waves of the pandemic. At times, we had similar positions on restrictions, and, at other times, we have differed. The memorandum of understanding helped to bring more cooperation and collaborative working across the island. A focused discussion is now needed on where we go next, because recovery will be vital when we try to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the pandemic. When it comes to economic recovery, societal recovery and health, it is really important that we work together. A whole range of North/South sectoral meetings will happen over the coming months, and all Ministers will participate in those discussions. There is a lot to be discussed and planned for the future across each of the sectors, whether it be health cooperation, education cooperation, infrastructure, climate and everything else that is discussed at North/South Ministerial Council meetings.