New North-South forum announced

MARTIN MCGUINNESS AT THE REPUBLICAN MONUMENT AND GRAVES - The Derry Republican Volunteers Commemoration taking place at the Derry city cemetery on Sunday. Deputy First minister Martin McGuinness's upcoming meeting with the Queen was spoken of during the commemoration speeches. The main speaker was Sinn Fein's new MEP Martina Anderson. The event is held to remember all local republicans who died as a result of the conflict. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? please by-line  24-6-12
MARTIN MCGUINNESS AT THE REPUBLICAN MONUMENT AND GRAVES - The Derry Republican Volunteers Commemoration taking place at the Derry city cemetery on Sunday. Deputy First minister Martin McGuinness's upcoming meeting with the Queen was spoken of during the commemoration speeches. The main speaker was Sinn Fein's new MEP Martina Anderson. The event is held to remember all local republicans who died as a result of the conflict. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? please by-line 24-6-12

A new Forum bringing together representatives from North and South is set to hold its first meeting soon.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced details of the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum - which will bring together members of the Assembly and the Oireachtas at the weekend.

The initial plans for the cross-border parliamentary body were laid out in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 but has been hit by delays and has not met.

Mr McGuinness said the new body would rotate its meetings between Leinster House and Stormont.

The Deputy First Minister said the breakthrough on the creation of the forum came when Assembly Speaker and Foyle MLA William Hay reached agreement with his southern counterpart, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett.

Mr McGuinness said the move is an example of “how we can move forward to ensure that politicians on the island are involved in very serious discussions and deliberations.”

The Deputy First Minister said the body would create an opportunity for politicians to “work together economically, to make life better for all the people that we represent.”

Mr McGuinness said the establishment of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum marks the further implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The official announcement of the establishment of the body is expected to be made this week by Speaker Hay and Cean Comhairle Barrett.

Both the Assembly and the Oireachtas are set to break for the summer recess in the coming days and details of the forum are expected to be announced before the break although the body itself is not expected to hold its first meeting for a number of weeks.

While the exact make-up of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum has not yet been announced, it is likely to include an equal number of Assembly and Dáil members.