Spotlight on Scottish-Irish relationships

21/10/2012

Deputy Presiding Officer John Scott MSP will lead a delegation of MSPs this week as they attend the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) in Glasgow. This is only the second time BIPA has held a plenary session in Scotland, the previous occasion being in 2005 at Holyrood.

The MSPs will take part in the two day conference at which the economy and tourism links will be the focus of discussion.

MSPs Willie Coffey, Michael McMahon, Mary Scanlon and James Dornan will join Mr Scott in discussing these and other topics of mutual concern with elected representatives from across the British Isles.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Deputy Presiding Officer John Scott MSP said:

“This BIPA meeting provides us with a valuable opportunity to work with colleagues from around the UK and Ireland in discussing how we grow the Scottish economy with particular regard to our vital tourism and food and drink sectors. I look forward to a productive gathering as we seek to address issues of pressing concern to the people of Scotland.”

The outline programme is:

Monday 22nd October

9.30am: Address by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP

10.50am: The Scottish Economy: the Trade Unions’ Perspective – Mr Graham Smith, General Secretary, Scottish Trade Union Congress

11.40am: Tourism in Scotland – Mr Riddell Graham, Director of Partnerships, VisitScotland (formerly the Scottish Tourist Board)

3.00pm: Devolution and the ‘West Lothian Question’ – Professor Sir William McKay KCB, Chair of the Commission on the Consequences of Devolution for the House of Commons

Tuesday 23rd October

9.30am: The Scottish Economy: Employers’ Perspective – Mr Iain McMillan CBE, Director of CBI Scotland

10.30am: The Food and Drinks Sector in Ireland and Scotland – Diageo Ireland and Diageo Scotland

11.30am: Address by the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Scottish Government, Mr Fergus Ewing MSP

Background

BIPA is the principal political mechanism for dialogue between elected representatives from the UK Parliament, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey.

BIPA meets Bi-annually in plenary session, alternating between venues in Britain and Ireland. The most recent (44th) plenary session was held in the Seanad Chamber of the Irish Parliament in May 2012 and included a question and answer session with the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.