The British-Irish Body is still discussing its own future
The former Conservative Security Minister Michael Mates has been a stalwart of the Body since its birth. He described the inaugural meeting 18 years ago as the most hostile suspicious and ill tempered meeting he had ever attended
The Body is in danger of being a fairly bland talking shop which ministers ignore and which is still ridiculously boycotted by the unionists
When it meets in 6 months time in Wexford it is likely to become the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly and shadow the secretive British-Irish Council and quiz ministers in these islands on various issues. There is no reason why Unionists cannot join the Body and turn it into a vibrant Strand 3 institution.
Gary Kent is a graduate of international relations. After spells in management in British Rail and the Co-Op he began work in parliament in 1987 where he was active for two decades on Anglo-Irish peace activity against terrorism and now as secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which he has visited 27 times since 2006. He used to be a columnist for Fortnight Magazine and writes a regular column for the Kurdish Rudaw outlet and many other publications.