13 Beal 2019, 09.36

British Irish Parliamentary Assembly opens with emphasis on climate action measures
Assembly also hears from UK Ambassador on British-Irish relations

The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) opened today with an address by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton TD, urging parliamentarians to nurture a shared ambition to address climate change, calling it the most pressing challenge we face.

Minister Bruton praised the progress Ireland has made to date on climate action, in particular the Dáil’s recent declaration of a climate emergency. The Minister also spoke about the need for sectors to adapt as countries tackle the progress that has to date been built on unsustainable grounds.

His Excellency, Robin Barnett, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ireland, in his address to the Assembly, reiterated the UK Government’s view that the best approach will be to leave the EU in an orderly manner with the deal that has been reached.  

Irish Co-Chair, Seán Crowe TD, said: “While much of our focus since 2016 has been on Brexit, it is vital that this Assembly continues to facilitate dialogue to investigate the mutual challenges that we face. Climate change is one of the biggest of those challenges and something that can only be tackled through cooperation and imagination. The Assembly has today reiterated its respective jurisdictions’ commitment to a just transition and effective climate action. Members were in agreement that we must work harder to break the link between economic prosperity and fossil fuels.”

“The Assembly appreciated His Excellency Robin Barnett, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ireland, providing us with an update on British-Irish diplomatic relations and we were pleased to hear the Ambassador reiterate his Government’s commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement. BIPA will do all it can to safeguard peace and fostering strong parliamentary links between these islands will be key.”

British Co-Chair Andrew Rosindell MP said, “The speakers at today’s plenary clearly communicated both the threats and opportunities that climate change brings.  Climate change does not respect national borders, so inter-governmental cooperation is crucial for addressing the environmental issues all our jurisdictions face. I am pleased that BIPA has been able to facilitate the kind of cross-border collaboration we need, and I thank all our speakers for their constructive views on how we can unlock the benefits of transitioning to a greener society. BIPA is united by our shared ambition to protect and preserve the environment for future generations.

We also support the British Ambassador to Ireland His Excellency Robin Barnett’s call for mutual protection of the Good Friday Agreement as the UK leaves the EU. I look forward to tomorrow’s plenary which will focus on the sustainable development goals, and the work of the BIPA Committees.”

On Tuesday, Representatives from the National Youth Council of Ireland will address the Assembly on their work on Sustainable Development Goals (including environmental protection) and respond to questions.  The various BIPA Committees will also brief the Assembly on their work.  

Day two of the BIPA plenary will be held in Druid’s Glen Hotel, Co. Wicklow on Tuesday, 14th May. Media outlets are welcome to attend or send a representative from 9.30am. Those attending are requested to contact Nuala Walsh and / or Nina Foster (details below) for accreditation.

A detailed draft programme can be found here

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