Joe McHugh TD has been elected Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking after his election, Deputy McHugh said: “I sincerely thank my colleagues for electing me Chair of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
“This Committee, comprising Members from the Oireachtas and MPs from Northern Ireland, provides a valuable forum to foster better links and dialogue between parliamentarians and groups from both sides of the border.
“It is my intention that the Committee will continue to inform debate on key areas of mutual interest. As well as looking at institutional matters, the Committee also considers other issues of common interest such as reconciliation, commemoration and North-South Cooperation across sectoral areas.
“I take this opportunity to pay tribute to outgoing Chair Joanna Tuffy TD, who guided the Committee through a series of important and historical meetings, including the first addresses to an Oireachtas Committee by an elected Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA and Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
“I am reminded of an inspiring address to our Committee last month, in which Senator George Mitchell said that full implementation of an agreement is often more difficult and more important than reaching an agreement in the first instance.
“Reflecting the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, I foresee our Committee continuing to explore practical ways towards reconciliation, enhanced cooperation and full implementation of the Agreements in its discussions, both in Committee and in its meetings at grass roots levels in Northern Ireland and the border region.”
Deputy McHugh will continue to co-Chair the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly with Laurence Robertson MP from the Westminster Parliament.
“I believe that in taking on this new role there will be great synergy between my work on the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly and on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement Committee. My dual role will provide an enhanced overview of developments and progress under both Strand Two (North/South) and Strand Three (East/West) of the Agreements which will be of benefit to both groups.”