The Green Party has called on the DUP commit to making better use of the North-South Ministerial Council and other north-south institutions as part of future arrangements on the Irish border, following Brexit.
Speaking this morning, the party's spokesperson on political reform, Oliver Moran, said:
“The natural place for the parties, north and south, to agree a common approach to Brexit is the North-South Ministerial Council. The Good Friday Agreement specifically calls out the North-South Ministerial Council as being the place 'to consider the European Union dimension of relevant matters, including the implementation of EU policies and programmes'. It's also specifically the place to make sure everyone's views are 'represented appropriately at relevant EU meetings under the Good Friday Agreement. Unfortunately, with the Assembly not up and running, the North-South Ministerial Council is also on standby. If it had been working, we could have avoided the crisis this week, underlining the importance of getting the institutions back up.”
The party also called on the DUP to commit to the setting up of the North/South Consultative Forum. This is envisioned under the Good Friday Agreement as "comprising the social partners and other members with expertise in social, cultural, economic and other issues" drawn from both sides of the border. The DUP committed to its establishment as part of the 2006 St. Andrew's Agreement but has blocked progress on it since.
Mr Moran continued:
“It's obvious we need more representative voices involved in this discussion. People whose careers are not tied up with beating the drum of orange and green politics. They can speak with reason about how a hard border or other arrangements will affect ordinary people, and deescalate the nationalist-vs-unionist dimension to the everyday. That much less pressured space is where we need to be in, whatever decision ends up being made.”