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Call for border development zone

Published 19/04/2015

TD Brendan Smith said Ulster and Ireland should integrate some public services
TD Brendan Smith said Ulster and Ireland should integrate some public services

Fianna Fail has called for a border development zone to integrate public services between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The jurisdictions would cooperate on the provision of health and broadband while North/South competencies would be increased in areas like job creation and education.

The Opposition party also envisaged the establishment of an organisation to record and share the experience of those involved in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and its aftermath.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Brendan Smith TD said: "Our document also calls for the establishment of a border development zone to further integrate infrastructure and public services in certain key areas such as health, broadband and other utilities between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

"We believe that North/South competencies should be increased in the areas of job creation and education also.

"Building on the success of the Good Friday Agreement, Fianna Fail would encourage the establishment of an institution to record and share the analysis and experience of all the key players from across all communities involved in the agreement, from its inception, to its negotiation and to its slow, sometimes faltering implementation.

"This institution would not seek to prescribe our peace process model, but rather to encourage study visits to Ireland, North and South, and to share lessons and experiences with those who helped build peace on our island."

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to seek a referendum on the UK's EU membership, which has supported cross-border projects in the past.

Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "The benefits of our membership of the European Union are clear for all to see. They are all around us in our rural communities.

"Those who advocate a withdrawal from the European Union cannot possibly ignore them. Nor can they provide a reasonable or viable alternative as a way of supporting our farming and rural communities.

"The funding and support provided by the European Union to agricultural and rural communities is vital and irreplaceable.

"Simply put, our place and the place for our farming and rural communities is in the European Union."

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