The British-Irish Council (BIC) held its 33rd Summit meeting today hosted by the Irish Government. The heads of delegation were welcomed to Dublin by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD. A full list of Ministerial participants is attached.
Twentieth Anniversary Year of the British-Irish Council Ministers reflected that December 2019 would mark the 20th anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Council. Ministers agreed that twenty years on, the Council remained a valued strand of the Belfast – Good Friday Agreement, offering ministers and officials regular opportunities to exchange information, discuss, consult and co-operate on matters of mutual interest within the respective competencies of the eight Member Administrations. Ministers agreed that the BIC continued to positively strengthen the links and relationships between the people of these islands.
Latest political developments Ministers updated the Council on their activity in relation to the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), noting the revised exit date and the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom. Ministers took the opportunity to discuss the latest domestic political developments across their jurisdictions and engaged on topics of mutual interest such as the economy and trade and ongoing relations with the EU.
The Council received an update on Northern Ireland and looked forward to the restoration of the devolved institutions. Ministers also discussed the importance of maintaining the constitutional and formal relationships across the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies.
Misuse of Substances In advance of the Summit meeting, Ministers with particular responsibility for health policy, visited the North East Inner City Initiative in Dublin: a project which focuses on the transformation of the delivery of health services for drug users in the city. The health policy ministers discussed the extent to which supporting and strengthening links, between the management of health and social initiatives and community policing, might offer long-term social and economic benefits to communities. Ministers also had the opportunity to share experiences of initiatives within their own Administrations and the potential relevance of these to the official engagement programme of the BIC Misuse of Substances work sector.
BIC Secretariat The Council noted the Secretariat’s mid-year report.
Next Summit Meeting The Council noted that the next BIC Summit would be hosted by the Scottish Government.
15 November 2019
List of Ministerial Delegates
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD Minister for Health Simon Harris TD Minister for Health Promotion & National Drugs Strategy
Catherine Byrne TD
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland The Rt Hon Julian Smith Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union Lord Callanan The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care Baroness Blackwood
First Minister Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations Michael Russell MSP Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing
Joe Fitzpatrick MSP
First Minister Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM Deputy Minister for Health & Social Services Julie Morgan AM
Government of Jersey
Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Senator Lyndon Farnham Minister for External Relations Senator Ian Gorst Minister for Health and Social Services Deputy Richard Renouf
Government of Guernsey
Chief Minister Deputy Gavin St Pier Health & Social Care Minister
Deputy Heidi Soulsby
Isle of Man Government
Chief Minister Hon Howard Quayle MHK Minister for Health and Social Care Hon David Ashford MHK