There is a huge opportunity to develop north-south co-operation on a range of issues, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said, after meeting with the new Taoiseach.
Dr Farry was speaking after leading a party delegation to speak with Micheál Martin at the Stormont Hotel. He said it was a useful and productive meeting where a number of matters were discussed.
“We talked about our shared experiences on the island around combating the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing necessity of co-ordination. We also acknowledged the similar challenges to our two jurisdictions arising from the UK ending the Brexit transition period without a free trade agreement having been agreed, alongside our particular problems from a lack of preparation around the Protocol.
“Ultimately, the meeting was an opportunity to explore his vision and commitment to a shared Ireland. There is a fluid situation across these islands at present. The Good Friday Agreement must remain the cornerstone of how relations are facilitated – there are huge opportunities to further develop north-south co-operation and to enhance the all-island economy. Such pragmatic engagement should not threaten any political or constitutional perspective.
“We welcome the reconvening of the North-South Ministerial Council, which has been in abeyance primarily due to the political deadlock here, and which can provide momentum to this work. However, much of the engagement can be advanced by government agencies, businesses, civil society and others, and clear opportunities lie around in healthcare, infrastructure, energy, research and criminal justice.”