Belfast Telegraph

Anglo-Irish talks to focus on trade

Developing trade links between Ireland and Britain will be at the centre of discussions by politicians from both countries on Monday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, several ministers and celebrity chef Darina Allen will address the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Dublin.

Assembly chairmen, Joe McHugh TD and Laurence Robertson MP, said building trade opportunities between the countries is key to economic growth and boosting employment in both nations.

Mr McHugh said the UK accounts for 42% of total Irish exports, while Ireland is the fifth largest market for British businesses.

"It is vital that we continue to develop this trading relationship, in particular in the context of the economic downturn," he said ahead of the two-day event in the Seanad chamber in Leinster House.

"One such area is through building opportunities for trade and investment between our islands.

"The feedback from business leaders is therefore crucial in building a policy environment that supports and encourages trade."

The assembly was established in 1990 as a link between members of the Houses of Parliament and the Houses of the Oireachtas.

In recent years, membership was expanded to include the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey.

Two plenary sessions, attended by 68 members, are held every year alternately in Britain and Ireland with ongoing work by four committees. Mr Robertson said as newly appointed British co-chair, he looked forward to further developing the assembly's work in key areas of British-Irish co-operation.

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