Joint Communiqué: British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, Iveagh House
1. A meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference was held at Iveagh House, Dublin, on 18 September 2003.
2. The Irish Government was represented by the Joint Chair, Brian Cowen, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was accompanied by Michael McDowell, TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The British Government was represented by the Joint Chair, the Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy, MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who was accompanied by the Rt. Hon. Jane Kennedy, MP and the Rt. Hon. John Spellar MP, Ministers of State at the Northern Ireland Office.
General political matters
3. The Conference reviewed political developments, including the recent series of meetings with the political parties in Northern Ireland. The Conference discussed the prospects of holding Assembly elections and the context for the successful restoration of the Institutions. Both Governments wish to see devolution restored as soon as possible. Their shared objective remains the re-establishment of a representative Assembly and an inclusive Executive, working on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland in a peaceful and stable environment, as well as the full operation of the North South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council.
4. The Governments agreed on the need to ensure an end to all paramilitary activity and the fulfillment of the mandate of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. They also recognized the need for the community to have confidence in the commitment of all parties to the full implementation of the Agreement.
5. The Conference reviewed the current security situation. Both Governments deplored the campaign of intimidation directed against members of District Policing Partnerships and called on all those with influence to condemn such activities. The DPPs are an essential part of the new beginning in policing and serve a vital function on behalf of local communities. They have the full support of both Governments and deserve the full support of the whole community.
6. There was a discussion on paramilitary activities. The situation in Maghaberry prison was discussed, as well as efforts to locate the graves of the remaining “Disappeared”. There was also a discussion about the Fisher and Wright case and the Conference noted that the Irish Government had received the Nally report.
Criminal Justice and Human Rights
7. The Conference discussed criminal justice matters and, in particular, the implementation of the Luce Review on Inquests. The Conference also reviewed recent developments in the area of human rights. The forthcoming submission of the Cory Reports into allegations of collusion to the Governments was also discussed.
8. The Conference reviewed the continuing implementation of the Joint Declaration and agreed to discuss this in greater detail at its next meeting.
Date of next meeting
9. The Conference agreed to meet again in November.