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Scotland and Ireland

13/11/2006

A new EU fund worth around 200 million euros will allow Scotland to engage more effectively with both the Republic Of Ireland and Northern Ireland, First Minister Jack McConnell said today in Dublin as he agreed a Joint Declaration with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The EU Cross Border Programme will be available from 2007 and will fund projects that are working in areas such as enterprise and business development, sustainable development and renewables.

Today's declaration reiterates the FM's and the Taoiseach's hope that Northern Ireland continues to work towards restoring devolution and Scotland's commitment to helping where possible.

The FM said he believed the Cross Border Programme would help to meet that commitment.

The joint declaration also commits Scotland and Ireland to work together on

  • Collaboration in science education policy to include exchange of experience and best practice on promoting science in education and as a career and the role of science in enhancing economic growth
  • Deepening our mutual engagement in the British Irish Council to address important issues of common concern including misuse of drugs and the challenges of changing demographics
  • Maximising the opportunity presented for co-operation between Ireland - Northern Ireland - Scotland under the new EU Cross Border programme from 2007
  • Celebrating and deepening historical and cultural links

The FM said:

"Today marks a significant moment in relations between Scotland and Ireland that will bring our countries closer together long into the future.

"It commits us to work together and share what we do best in areas like science and education. That can only bring long term, mutual benefits that will strengthen our economies and deepen our long standing friendship.

"The declaration myself and the Taoiseach have made also expresses our shared desire to work with a restored Northern Ireland Executive. I hope Scotland's experience of devolution can continue to be an example to our counterparts in Northern Ireland of the real benefits devolved government can bring.

"Another important element of the agreement will see Scotland working with both Ireland and Northern Ireland to secure significant amounts of funding from the EU. This will bring tangible economic rewards for increasing our co-operation across a range of areas."

The Taoiseach said:

"There are very strong historic ties between Ireland and Scotland. Our relations have developed further since Scottish devolution and since the Good Friday Agreement. After our meeting today, we are committed to further develop our relationship through working together across a range of areas."

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Full text

Joint Declaration by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD and
the First Minister of Scotland , Jack McConnell MSP

Dublin , 13 November 2006

At our meeting today we agreed to work together to enhance and strengthen the social, educational, cultural and economic relationship between Ireland and Scotland.

We recognise the strong historical relationships between the people of Scotland and Ireland.

Significant links already exist between Ireland and Scotland in business, research, education and other spheres. We are agreed that there are further opportunities to cooperate and collaborate on a number of levels including through joint work, sharing experiences and best practice.

We also look forward to working with a restored Northern Ireland Executive to develop and strengthen cooperation between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Based on our discussions, we have agreed to work together in the following areas:

  • Collaboration in science education policy to include exchange of experience and best practice on promoting science in education and as a career and the role of science in enhancing economic growth
  • Deepening our mutual engagement in the British Irish Council to address important issues of common concern including misuse of drugs and the challenges of changing demographics
  • Maximising the opportunity presented for co-operation between Ireland - Northern Ireland - Scotland under the new EU Territorial Co-operation programme from 1 January 2007
  • Celebrating and deepening historical and cultural links

We agreed that we would review progress in all areas of collaboration before the end of 2007 and agree a joint action plan to take forward specific proposals on matters of mutual benefit.