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20 February 2015
The Good Friday Agreement

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Intergovernmental Relations
Intergovernmental
     
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Image of Prime Minister Tony Blair shaking hands with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on the front step of 10 Downing Street
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern arrives at Downing Street for the inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference

The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIC) is provided for under Strand Three of the Good Friday Agreement. The inaugural meeting took place at Downing Street on 17 December 1999 and was chaired by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and attended by representatives of the Dublin and London governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The BIIC subsumes the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Council and Conference established under Article 2 of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. It guarantees the government of the Republic of Ireland a say in areas of bilateral co-operation and on those matters not yet devolved to the Assembly or the North-South Ministerial Council. In respect of bilateral co-operation these include:

 -  Asylum and immigration, including Common Travel Area issues
 -  European Union and international issues
 -  Social security including methods of fraud detection
 -  Education
 -  Policy on misuse of drugs: combating organised crime and associated money laundering
 -  Fiscal issues

In respect of non-devolved matters issues include:

 -  Rights
 -  Policing, including implementation of the Patten Report
 -  Criminal justice
 -  Normalisation of security arrangements and practices
 -  Cross-border security co-operation
 -  Victims of violence
 -  Prison issues
 -  Drugs and drug trafficking
 -  Broadcasting

The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State will chair the intergovernmental conferences which will be convened as required. There is provision under the Agreement for Members of the Legislative Assembly to be involved in the intergovernmental conference but they will not have the power to block decisions taken by the two governments.

 
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