North West Venue For North-South Summit

Marking its own little bit of history, the North-South Ministerial Council is today meeting for the first time ever in Derry.

It is also the first gathering of the body since DUP Leader, Peter Robinson became Northern Ireland's First Minister and Brian Cowen took charge in the Irish Republic.

The meeting comes on the day it is confirmed the UK economy has officially gone into recession and early indications are that the global economic turmoil - and its impact closer to home - is set to dominate the discussions in the University of Ulster's Magee College.

Led by Mr Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, other items likely to be on the agenda include agricultural issues and the harmonising of motoring laws.

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew is also expected to press for a share of the €180m dioxin compensation package for pork and beef farmers.

Issues closer to the North West will also be in focus as Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly Member Martina Anderson noted last night, saying that it was "an opportunity to highlight the entire north-west region in terms of what is needed to promote and develop the area".

The North-South Ministerial Council was set up as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement to increase cross-border co-operation on issues of mutual interest.

See: Britain 'Officially In A Recession'


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