News

First Minister leads Scottish delegation to British-Irish Council

Published: 15 Nov 2019 00:01

Tackling substance misuse on the agenda.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will lead a Scottish delegation to Dublin for the 33rd Summit meeting of the British-Irish Council.

The Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Relations, Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs and Minister for Public Health will also attend the Summit, marking the 20-year anniversary of the British-Irish Council.

The main discussion topic will be tackling the misuse of drugs, with a presentation from the Irish Government about their work to transform the delivery of health services for drug users in Dublin.

Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick will tour an inclusive health hub based in the city which provides access to life-changing healthcare services for people living with substance abuse issues that they may not normally have.

The First Minister will also hold several bilateral meetings including with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The British-Irish Council has always played a significant role in intergovernmental relations but never more so than now against the backdrop of the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. 

“The Summit will provide an opportunity to discuss the best way to tackle shared issues which affect all member administrations, this time focusing on how we deal with substance misuse and reduce the serious harm caused by drugs.

“The approach the Irish Government is taking to tackle drug misuse, which tailors treatment around the individual, is something we are already progressing in Scotland but it will be incredibly beneficial to learn from their first-hand experience as we take this work forward.”

Background

The Members of the British-Irish Council are the Irish and UK Governments, together with the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

The British-Irish Council first met in December 1999 and acts as a forum for exchanging information and for discussing, consulting and cooperating on matters of mutual interest across the Council's respective administrations.