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Written Answers. - North-South Ministerial Council.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 87. Mr. Sargent Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  his views on the recent report commissioned by the North-South Ministerial Council, entitled Study of Obstacles to Mobility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4487/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen At the Plenary meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council, held in Dublin Castle in September 2000, the Council approved the commissioning of a Study of Obstacles to Mobility between the two parts of the island of Ireland. A Joint North-South Steering Group, established to oversee the study, agreed to commission a team of external consultants to draw up the study. Following a public tendering process, the contract for the study, was awarded to PricewaterhouseCoopers and Indecon Economic Consultants.

The consultants' study was completed in November 2001 and the final report submitted to the plenary meeting of the NSMC held in Dublin Castle on 30 November last. The report makes a number of recommendations in the following areas: information improvements, taxation, social security and pensions, health and child care, housing, transport, education, training and employment; telecommunications, banking and insurance.

The Council agreed to publish the study to allow interested organisations, including Departments, and individuals, to express their views on the recommendations and their implementation. It was also agreed that the two administrations would not offer a view on the recommendations at this stage, but that the joint steering group would be asked to report to the next NSMC plenary with a paper evaluating and costing the recommendations in the light of the consultation, and reaching conclusions on implementation proposals where appropriate.

[814]The Study of Obstacles to Mobility has attracted a great deal of interest and attention from organisations and individuals, North and South. It is the most comprehensive study of the subject to date, and covers a wide range of issues which are of great importance to people in the border region and beyond.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 32.

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