With the British Irish Council establishing a permanent secretariat the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body could be excused a period of existential angst. The DUP’s Peter Robinson may have made a presentation to the BIIP Body in April 2006, but neither the DUP nor the UUP have taken their seats. The BBC’s Martina Purdy reports that the BIIPB steering committee member, Niall Blaney, TD, is in Belfast this week, meeting the DUP’s Peter Robinson and Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey. He hopes to persuade both parties to change their abstentionist policies. From the BBC report
The 50-strong body comprises TDs, MPs and representatives from Stormont, Edinbugh, Cardiff, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Mr Blaney said the body needs unionists on board to be more effective. He has invited proposals from unionists on a name change and a significant change in direction away from Northern Ireland politics. He has suggested a new body could focus on tourism, and shadow the British-Irish Council’s work on issues such as drug abuse.