30/11/2001

Minister highlights importance of cross border co-operation

Junior minister in the Executive Dermot Nesbitt has stressed the benefits of north-south co-operation at a key event staged in County Louth.

Mr Nesbitt spoke of the role everyone has to play in developing cross border co-operation at the 25th anniversary celebratory launch of the East Border Region Committee in Dundalk, County Louth on Thursday November 29.

The East Border Region group is one of the three Border Corridor Groups representing 18 Local Authorities North and South along the Border Corridor. The two other Border Corridor Groups are the North West Region Cross Border Group and the Irish Central Border Area Network.

Speaking at the event Mr Haughey said: “North/South Co-operation is at the heart of what the East Border Regions Committee has been doing for the past 25 years.

“Borders, by their very nature, create obstacles and barriers to effective economic and social development. The reality of life in a border region is such, that, to address these problems effectively, requires practical day-to-day working together and co-operation on both sides of the border.

“It was in recognition of the need to provide a strategic direction to that co-operation that Local Authorities on both sides of the border came together in 1976 to establish the East Border Region Committee.

“The aim of the Committee then and now was to promote the Region in areas of agriculture, industry, commerce and tourism and to improve the living conditions and employment prospects of those living in the Region.”

He said it was important to acknowledge the support for cross-border co-operation that the European Union has provided through the joint North/South INTERREG Programme and through the cross-border elements of the PEACE I Programme.

He said: “The signing of the Good Friday Agreement has placed North/South Co-operation on a new strategic basis. The establishment of the North/South Ministerial Council and the joint North/South Institutions under the Agreement provide us with a unique and challenging opportunity to develop that co-operation in areas of mutual interest and benefit.” (AMcE)

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