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File image of Finance Minister Michael McGrath Alamy Stock Photo

Finance minister to meet Stormont counterpart, as UK govt tables motion reaffirming 'Acts of Union'

Michael McGrath will also visit a number of projects in Belfast supported by the Irish Government’s Reconciliation Fund.

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL McGrath will meet with his Stormont counterpart Caoimhe Archibald in Belfast later today.

McGrath will also visit a number of projects in the city supported by the Government’s Reconciliation Fund.

caoimhe Sinn Féin’s Caoimhe Archibald has recently been appointed Stormont’s Finance Minister PA PA

He said: “This meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss our shared economic interests, the all-island economy and the shared opportunities and challenges we face.

“Recent years have brought great uncertainty and challenge in both political and economic terms, but we now have an opportunity – with the Executive restored and greater certainty around key issues such as post-Brexit trade – to maximise the potential of the economic relationships on this island.

“There has always been the potential to further develop cross-border trade and recent years have shown what can be achieved – at the start of this decade total trade in goods and services amounted to under €5 billion, while in 2022 this rose to €11.6 billion, involving a 15% increase over 2021.”

McGrath added: “Peace and prosperity remain at the core of our work, and while the focus of my meeting will be on our work for shared prosperity – including in the context of the Shared Island Initiative – I will also take time to visit some projects supported by the Government’s Reconciliation Fund devoted to ongoing reconciliation and community work.”

The meeting comes as the UK Government tabled a parliamentary motion stating that there is no basis in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement for joint authority with the Republic of Ireland in the governance of Northern Ireland.

The move follows a commitment in the Command Paper “Safeguarding the Union”, which led to the restoration of the Stormont powersharing executive after two years of political deadlock.

The UK Government agreed the deal with the DUP, which included the pledge to provide a mechanism for Parliament to re-affirm its commitment to the Acts of Union.

The motion has been tabled as a Humble Address, a mechanism by which Parliament communicates with the British king.

The motion welcomes the return of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland and re-affirms the “importance of upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998 in all its strands”.

It also acknowledges the “foundational importance of the Acts of Union 1800, including the economic provisions under Article 6 of those Acts”.

It continues: “Recognising that, consistent with section 23(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, executive power in Northern Ireland shall continue to be vested in His Majesty, and that joint authority is not provided for in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998 in respect of the UK and Irish Governments.”

It will be debated in the Commons and the Lords on dates to be announced.

jeffrey DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson

The DUP ended its two year boycott of devolved government in Northern Ireland earlier this month after striking a deal with the Government which party leader Jeffrey Donaldson said met his concerns over post-Brexit trading arrangements and sovereignty.

With the Assembly restored, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill has become the first nationalist First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Her party leader Mary Lou McDonald has predicted that an Irish unity poll will be held before 2030.

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