British Irish Parliamentary Assembly to meet in Liverpool – two UK Government Ministers to address plenary

The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) meets in Liverpool on 16 and 17 October for its 55th plenary. The focus of the session will be two of the central issues of Brexit - the future of the Irish border and the implications for trade.

12 October 2017

The session will feature addresses by Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Robin Walker MP, Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Speaking ahead of the plenary, Irish Co-Chair Kathleen Funchion TD said, “It is of the utmost importance that we see a functioning Executive back in place in the North as soon as possible in order for the North to have a stronger voice in relation to Brexit. We hope that the Secretary of State will give us an update on the discussions towards the formation of an Executive. BIPA members will be keen to hear whether outstanding issues between the parties are likely to be resolved soon in order to restore devolution. Our Assembly serves a valuable function in the fostering of dialogue and the spirit of cooperation between its diverse membership and we hope to see positive developments in the talks in order to see a return political stability in the North. As we visit the historic city of Liverpool, our programme of business reflects the long historical and cultural ties Ireland shares with the city. While Brexit will dominate proceedings, we will also hold discussions on the border, youth engagement and the Irish community in Liverpool.”

Co-chair Andrew Rosindell commented, “I am delighted to be going to Liverpool, a city with such a strong connection to Ireland, to hold the 55th Plenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Brexit will of course be a dominant theme and I am pleased to be welcoming two Government Ministers to address the Assembly – James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Robin Walker, Minister in the Department for Exiting the EU. Solving the border question and understanding what trade will look like after the UK leaves the EU are crucial in setting out our future relationship. I look forward to getting an update from the Ministers on any progress they have made, and to discussing these issues with colleagues from Ireland, all the nations of the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies.”

On Monday 16 October, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool will open the session and there will be addresses by James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Robin Walker, Under-Secretary in DexEU; Greg Quiery, historian of Irish experience in Liverpool; and Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research, Institute of Directors. The afternoon session will feature a debate on the Irish Border followed by a panel discussion with members of British and Irish Youth.

 
On Tuesday 17 October, there will be addresses by Eoin O’Neill, President of the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce; Prof Peter Shirlow, Director and Chair of the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool; and Dr Kirsten Pullen, CEO of the British Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

 
BIPA is formed of members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, Houses of Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly, High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey. It meets twice a year to promote co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland and build on the close relationships established in recent years.

 
Notes to eds:
 
The 55th Plenary of the British Irish Assembly will take place at the Hilton Liverpool City Centre Hotel in Liverpool on Monday 16 October and Tuesday 17 October.

Follow the BIPA twitter channel for updates: @BritishIrishPA
 
About the Assembly

The Assembly’s mission is to promote co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland for the benefit of the people they represent. BIPA’s membership includes representatives from the UK Parliament, the Houses of Oireachtas, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey.

 
Media enquiries and accreditation requests to:

London: George Perry + 0044 783 417 2099 / perryg@parliament.uk
Dublin: Nuala Walsh +353 86 410 0898 / nuala.walsh@oireachtas.ie


Programme of events:

 
MONDAY 16 OCTOBER 2017


At 9.15 am: meeting in public session


1.         BRIEF INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS BY CO-CHAIRS


2.         ADOPTION OF PROPOSED PROGRAMME OF BUSINESS


3.         ADDRESS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

             Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP will address the Assembly and respond to questions.



At 10.30 am


4.         WELCOME TO LIVERPOOL BY THE LORD MAYOR

             Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Lord Mayor of Liverpool, will address the Assembly.

 
At 10.40 am


5.         ADDRESS BY THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION

Robin Walker MP will address the Assembly and respond to questions.

At 11.20 am

6.         THE LIVERPOOL IRISH COMMUNITY

             Greg Quiery, historian and author of In Hardship and Hope: A history of the Liverpool Irish, to be published on 23 October, will address the Assembly and respond to questions

At 2.30 pm

7.         PANEL DISCUSSION: IMPLICATIONS OF BREXIT FOR THE ECONOMIES OF THE UK AND IRELAND

Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research (and policy lead for Northern Ireland), Institute of Directors, and Dr John Whittaker, Lancaster Business School and member of Economists for Free Trade, will address the Assembly and respond to questions.


8.         BREXIT AND BRITISH-IRISH RELATIONS

Andrew Rosindell MP, Chair of Committee B, will present the Committee’s report on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on British-Irish relations.

[Mr Rosindell will take part in this item from the floor, in his capacity as Chair of Committee B, rather than as Co-Chair. For the duration of this item, a Vice-Chair of the Assembly will be Acting Co-Chair pursuant to Rule 5(b).]

9.         DEBATE ON IRISH BORDER

There will follow a political debate on the following motion to be moved on behalf of the Steering Committee:

This Assembly believes that the absence of a hard border in Ireland is necessary, recognises that there are different opinions on how to safeguard this achievement, and calls for every effort to be made in the Brexit negotiations to achieve a positive, solution-focussed outcome on this issue.


At about 4.30 pm


10.       PANEL DISCUSSION: BRITISH AND IRISH YOUTH – FRESH IDEAS

 
Representatives of UK Youth, Youth Scotland, Youth Cymru, Youth Work Ireland and YouthAction Northern Ireland will address the Assembly and respond to questions.



TUESDAY 17 OCTOBER 2017


At 9.30 am: Meeting in public session


11.       BRITISH-IRISH COMMERCE

 
Eoin O’Neill, President of the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce, will address the Assembly and respond to questions.


At about 10.20 am:


12.       IRISH STUDIES AT LIVERPOOL


             Professor Peter Shirlow, Director and Chair of the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, will address the Assembly and respond to questions.


             It was announced on 7 September that the President of Ireland and HRH The Prince of Wales have become joint patrons of the Institute. The Irish Government has funded an endowed Chair at the Institute.


             Professor Shirlow will describe the Institute’s research and community outreach work, and in particular share the results of an ESRC-sponsored projection of the 2017 Northern Ireland electorate “which highlights detachment of young people from voting and their increasingly shared values and opinions – although they remain divided on the constitutional question”.
 

At about 11.10 am:


13.       BRITISH AND IRISH ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS


             Dr Kirsten Pullen, Chief Executive Officer of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), will address the Assembly and respond to questions.

 
14.       COMMITTEE REPORTS, ETC



PROGRESS REPORT FROM COMMITTEE A (SOVEREIGN MATTERS)

Mr Joe Carey TD

PROGRESS REPORT FROM COMMITTEE B (EUROPEAN AFFAIRS)

Mr Andrew Rosindell MP

 
PROGRESS REPORT FROM COMMITTEE C (ECONOMIC)

Helen Jones MP (on behalf of Senator Denis Landy)
 

PROGRESS REPORT FROM COMMITTEE D (ENVIRONMENT & SOCIAL)

Lord Dubs
 

GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO COMMITTEE REPORTS


15.       ADJOURNMENT