The long slow grind of north south co-operation…

I’d been working on a review of the last ten years for tomorrow’s News Letter this morning, so I hadn’t got to open my copy of the Irish Times before Brian kindly pointed me in the direction of Elaine Byrne’s article on the ways in which Northern Ireland’s politicians are making an impact on the Republic’s governmental policy:

Mattie “drink is a relaxant and helps nervous drivers” McGrath was a leading figure in the Fianna Fáil backbencher revolt last October over proposals for new drink-driving limits. Brian Cowen’s statement that legislation on alcohol limits would only be introduced in conjunction with Northern Ireland was gleefully interpreted by McGrath as “kicking to touch” the legislation.

The Fianna Fáil backbencher did not anticipate the immediate intervention by DUP Minister for the Environment Edwin Poots, on Morning Ireland, promising that new drink-driving limits would be in place in Northern Ireland early next year. Some months previously, Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, had met Poots at the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) where they discussed the harmonisation of drink-driving limits and the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications.

But how far a North-South Parliamentary Forum would get when there is already an islands’ wide British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in train is hard to say… With austerity times coming in fast in both jurisdictions, it’s likely to be an either/or proposition rather than both…


  • Dave

    “Most Irish citizens are totally unaware of the scale and intensity of the work undertaken by the North-South Ministerial Council, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.” – Elaine Byrne

    That’s true, but she cutely doesn’t include the reason why Irish citizens are unaware that the United Kingdom has joint-sovereignty over key political, cultural, and economic institutions of the Irish state – that the Irish state has a policy of not informing them of the extent to which the British state successfully undermined Irish sovereignty in collusion with quislings within it. Instead of informing the public that they had granted the United Kingdom joint-sovereignty over key institutions of the Irish state, they were informed that the Irish state had gained joint-sovereignty over key institutions of Northern Ireland.

    The reason the Irish people were not informed by the Irish state is because they would not have approved the extension of British Rule into the Republic, recognising that it is a violation of their right to self-determination and of their right to elect their government to determine those affairs in their interest rather than to transfer sovereignty over them to a British government that is not elected by them and is not accountable to them and does not operate those key institutions in their national interest.