All-island institutions

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All-island institutions Empty All-island institutions

Post by kosovohp on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:53 pm

Despite the political partition, the island of Ireland continues to act as a single entity in a number of areas that transcend governmental agencies. The two jurisdictions share a transport, telecommunications, energy and water systems. With a few notable exceptions, this island is the main organisational unit for major religious, cultural and sporting organisations. The island fields a single international team in most sports, for example, and March 17 is celebrated throughout Ireland as the traditional Irish holiday of St. Patrick's Day. One notable exception to this is Association football, although both associations continued to field international teams under the name "Ireland" until the 1950s. An all-Ireland club competition for soccer, the Setanta Cup, was created in 2005.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement provides for political co-operation between the two jurisdictions. The North-South Ministerial Council, established under the agreement, is an institution through which ministers from the Government of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive can formulate all-island policies in twelve "areas of co-operation" such as agriculture, the environment and transport. Six of these policy areas have associated all-island "implementation bodies". For example, food safety is managed by the Food Safety Promotion Board and Tourism Ireland markets the island as a whole. Three major political parties, Sinn Féin, the Irish Green Party and, most recently, Fianna Fáil, are organised on an all-island basis. However, only the former two of these has contested elections and hold legislative seats in both jurisdictions.

Despite the two jurisdictions using two distinct currencies (the euro and pound sterling), a growing amount of commercial activity is carried out on an all-island basis. This has in part been facilitated by the two jurisdictions' shared membership of the European Union. Calls for the creation of an "all-island economy" have been made from members of the business community and policymakers so as to benefit from economies of scale and boost competitiveness.[67] One area in which the island already operates largely as a single market is electricity[68] and there are plans for the creation of an all-island gas market.[69] Support for such initiatives comes from the Irish government and nationalist parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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