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Irish, British ministers ink 4 new treaties

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN – Four new Anglo-Irish treaties linked to the Northern Ireland peace agreement were signed in Dublin on Monday.

Foreign Minister David Andrews and Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam signed the treaties, which allow for the setting up of key institutions, in a ceremony in Dublin Castle.

The institutions involve include six cross-border implementation bodies, a ministerial North-South Council, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental conference.

Legislation was also introduced in the Westminster parliament and the Dail to set up the bodies.

The institutions will not come into operation until the power-sharing executive is established to rule Northern Ireland.

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All elements of the peace agreement are interlocked and the success of each depends on all the others.

The signing of the treaties highlights the continuing impasse on decommissioning of paramilitary arsenals, which is holding up the establishment of an executive.

The intergovernmental conference will replace the conference established under the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The North-South Council will bring together ministers from the new executive in Northern Ireland and their colleagues in the Republic.

The British-Irish Council will promote the totality of relationships between the people of the two islands and will involve representatives of the two governments, devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and representatives of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The North-South implementation bodies, which were agreed on Dec. 18, concern inland waterways, aquaculture and marine matters, languages — Irish and Ulster Scots — food safety, trade and business development and special EU programs.

The treaty also covers six further areas identified for cooperation — transport, agriculture, education, health, tourism and the environment.

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