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Dillon, Lucy (2020) British–Irish Council in Dublin. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 72, Winter 2020, p. 5.

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On 15 November 2019, the 33rd British–Irish Council (BIC) summit was held in Dublin, part of which consisted of a ministerial meeting on health and social initiatives that relate to substance misuse. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hosted the summit at Farmleigh House in Dublin, with administration heads from Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, and the British Government.1 

The BIC was established in 1999 as part of the Good Friday Agreement in order to further promote positive, practical relationships among the people of the islands as well as to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation. 

The formal purpose of BIC, as outlined in Strand 3 of the Agreement, is:

To promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands.... The BIC will exchange information, discuss, consult and use best endeavours to reach agreement on co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the relevant Administrations.2 

The BIC covers a number of formal areas of work, including the misuse of substances, for which the Irish Government is the lead administration. 

As part of the summit, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne TD hosted a discussion on substance misuse with those responsible for health policy from the various delegations. The discussion explored the links between health and social initiatives and community policing as well as their long-term social and economic benefits to communities. 

Participants shared experiences of initiatives within their own administrations. Participants from the travelling delegations also visited the Dublin North East Inner City Inclusion Health Hub. The hub houses a specialised general practitioner and nursing practice; the Health Service Executive Homeless Health-Link Team; the Homeless and Addiction Case Management Teams; and specialist maternity services for women in addiction.

More details on the work of the BIC is available from its website: https://www.britishirishcouncil.org/

At the British–Irish Council summit in Dublin in November 2019 were (L to R) Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD; Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing in the Scotland Government; Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health and Social Care in the States of Guernsey; Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health; Hon David Ashford MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care in the Isle of Man; Baroness Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK; and Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Government

1             British–Irish Council (2019) 33rd British–Irish Council Summit, Dublin: 15 November 2019 – Communiqué. Edinburgh: British–Irish Council. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/31383/  

2             A copy of the Good Friday Agreement can be found at https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/ourrolesandpolicies/northernireland/good-friday-agreement.pdf

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Issue Title
Issue 72, Winter 2020
March 2020
Page Range
p. 5
Health Research Board
Issue 72, Winter 2020
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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