The North South Ministerial Council and North South Implementation Bodies
The North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) brings together ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government. Its aim is to develop consultation, cooperation and action within the island of Ireland on matters of mutual interest.
Areas of cooperation
The NSMC oversees the work of six areas of cooperation. In each, common policies and approaches are agreed in the North South Ministerial Council but implemented separately in each jurisdiction.
- tourism, including Tourism Ireland
- Areas of co-operation - NSMC website
North South Implementation Bodies
There are six North South Implementation Bodies and each operates on an all-island basis. They are as follows:
- Waterways Ireland
- Food Safety Promotion Board (Safefood)
- Trade and Business Development Body (InterTradeIreland)
- Special European Union Programmes Body
- The Language Body / Foras na Gaeilge / Ulster Scots Agency
- Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (Loughs Agency)
- North South Implementation Bodies - NSMC website
The NSMC meets in a number of formats.
NSMC plenary meetings involve the Northern Ireland Executive led by the First Minister and deputy First Minister - and the Irish Government led by the Taoiseach. The task of the plenary is to take an overview of co-operation on the island and of the North South institutions.
At NSMC sectoral meetings the Northern Ireland Executive is represented by two ministers nominated by the First Minister and deputy First Minister on a cross-community basis. One is normally the minister with responsibility for that sector within the Executive.
The Irish Government is represented by the Minister or the Minister of State responsible for that sector.
At NSMC institutional meetings the Northern Ireland Executive is represented by the First Minister and deputy First Minister. The Irish Government is represented by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. At these meetings the NSMC considers institutional and cross-sectoral issues, including those relating to the EU. It also endeavours to resolve disagreements and difficulties in the operations of the NSMC.
North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat
The work of the North South Ministerial Council is supported by a standing Joint Secretariat, staffed by members of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the Irish Civil Service. The Secretariat is based in Armagh.