Fri, 06 Dec 2019

DUBLIN, Ireland - An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is hosting Administration Heads from Scotland, Wales, and the British Government on Friday at the 33rd British Irish Council (BIC) Summit at Farmleigh House in Dublin.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Council. The Summit is focusing on the implications of Brexit for relations between Ireland and the UK's Regional Administrations.

The Taoiseach is holding bilateral discussions with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. Heads of Administrations from Wales and the Channel Islands are also attending the Summit, along with the Head of the UK delegation, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith.

Twenty years on from its establishment under the 1998 Multi-Party Agreement, the British-Irish Council plays an important role by furthering links between its eight Member Administrations.

The implications of Brexit is the main topic being discussed, particularly its potential impact on relations across the islands, preserving the Common Travel Area, and maintaining relations with the EU. The Council is also discussing the political situation in Northern Ireland, and Ireland's disappointment that Northern Ireland will not be represented politically at this forum until the Executive is restored.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne are also in attendance. They are hosting a discussion on substance misuse. The ministers will explore the links between health and social initiatives and community policing, and their long-term social and economic benefits to communities.

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