Lord McFall first Lord Speaker to visit Irish parliament
Lord McFall has become the first Lord Speaker to make an official visit to the Irish parliament and address their senate, the Seanad Éireann.
Following the trip, McFall said the aim of the Dublin visit had been to “deepen the friendship and engagement between our two parliaments,” describing this as “crucial” to resolving new problems raised by Brexit in the relationships between the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“Looking ahead, I am confident we will be able to continue and enhance this co-operation and engagement between members of our two chambers. Quite frankly it is crucial in helping to resolve the uncertainties and difficulties in the relationships across these islands and involving the European Union,” he said.
During the visit, staff at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation told McFall about the need to “collectively resolve” outstanding issues surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol. The Lord Speaker, who served as a Northern Ireland minister in the first government of Tony Blair, shared the message with colleagues working on the protocol in Parliament.
“During my time as a minister I saw the patient diplomacy of so many,” he said. “Delivering the Good Friday Agreement was a bipartisan effort… “The message here is that in order to build meaningful and lasting peace, it must be done on a cross-community and cross-party basis.”
Speaking ahead of the Seanad’s centenary in December, Lord McFall added: “Each chamber has a lot to learn from each other about how we can fulfil our responsibilities effectively.
Tali Fraser, junior writer.
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