North/South Ministerial Council: Plenary and Institutional

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:45 pm on 18th January 2021.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 12:45 pm, 18th January 2021

I thank the Member for the question. I welcome the good collaboration across the island. Personally, I do not think that we have made enough of the fact that we live on an island; there were advantages to be had for us all in terms of the spread of the virus. However, there has been significant cooperation across the island; the Chief Medical Officers, for example, and health officials meet regularly. We have had numerous North/South Ministerial Council meetings, at which we progressed cooperation. We had the memorandum of understanding, which set out very clearly areas in which we can have collaborative working. We need to see that continuing as we come out of the other side of this wave and in to economic, societal and health recovery. We have a big job of work to do, and we will be faced with the same challenges. Therefore I look forward to working at North/South Ministerial Council level with Ministers from across the island to see what else we can do to build on the collaborative work that has happened to date.