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Republic of Ireland: National Development Plan

Volume 689: debated on Monday 5 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether detailed talks took place with the Government of the Republic of Ireland prior to the republic's announcement that 8 per cent of the proposed €180 billion national development plan would be spent on projects in Northern Ireland; over what period such talks took place; who took part; whether any local political parties were involved; what conditions were imposed; what agreements were made; and how these talks will impact on Northern Ireland's constitutional integrity. [HL1705]

The development of the Irish national development plan was entirely a matter for the Irish Government, although Northern Ireland Ministers and officials were kept abreast of their thinking as the plan was developed. We are not aware of the amount of funding the chapter entitled “All Island Co-operation” entails for Northern Ireland, but it is highly unlikely to be anything like the €14 billion implied by the noble Lord's Question.

Consultation with local parties would have been a matter for the Irish Government, but I note that Irish officials gave evidence on the matter to the Transitional Assembly’s programme for government sub-group on economic issues on 7 December 2006 and that representatives of all four of the main Northern Ireland political parties were represented.

The relevant part of the plan makes it clear that the Irish Government wish to agree the proposals with the British Government and a restored Northern Ireland Executive so that neither it nor the process by which it was developed will have any bearing on Northern Ireland's constitutional integrity.