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North/South Implementation Bodies

Volume 689: debated on Wednesday 21 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will reach the necessary agreement with the Government of the Republic of Ireland in order that Section 55 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 can be used to remove the words, “Irish Lights Commission” from the title of the North-South aquaculture body. [HL1913]

The noble Lord will be aware of paragraph 19 of Annexe A of the St Andrews agreement, which provides for a restored North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) to appoint a review group to examine the efficiency and value for money of existing implementation bodies; and the case for additional bodies and areas of co-operation within the NSMC where mutual benefit would be derived.

That group would also input into the work commissioned by the NSMC, prior to suspension in 2002, on the identification of a suitable substitute for the proposed Lights Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission. When such a substitute is identified and agreed by NSMC, the name of the implementation body as defined in the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 could be amended, though I would have to stress that any such amendment to the body's functions or title would require the specific endorsement of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Oireachtas.