Neeson calls for review into North-South Ministerial Council

East Antrim Alliance MLA Seán Neeson has called for a review into the North-South Ministerial Council to maximise its potential and ensure it provides better value for money. His comments came in an Assembly debate on the issue.

Seán Neeson said: ” Northern Ireland can learn much, and indeed teach a lot too, through positive engagement with the Republic of Ireland. This engagement should largely be private and voluntary-sector-led, but it is important that it proceeds at government level too. Our economies are intertwined in a way which Unionist politicians may choose to underestimate, but which our business leaders fully appreciate. This is not just due to a land border, but also due to common banks, common key industries in many sectors, and many other common interests.

“The NSMC is part of the Agreement – like anything, our institutions must evolve and develop. It has the potential to improve relations further.

“We accept that the NSMC has not reached its full potential. I wonder if, stopping people on the street, anyone could point to any concrete achievements? But our reaction to that is not to question its existence, but rather to ask what can be done to make it function more effectively, and demonstrate its value.

“Improving cross-border linkages is something which is in all our interests – politically, economically and environmentally. There is no evidence that abolishing the NSMC will achieve anything. There is plenty of evidence, however, that the value of its work can be greatly enhanced – and we should look at how this can be done.”


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