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UK and Irish Speakers to share notes on best practice

1 July 2022

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The Speaker of the House of Commons has agreed to join a conference of his counterparts from across the UK and Ireland to strengthen ties between them.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle welcomed the summit plan, suggested by Seán Ó’Feargháil, Ceann Comhairle – Speaker of Dail Eireann - during a visit to the House of Commons.

The two men agreed that post-Brexit, parliamentary channels should be kept open between the UK and Irish Speakers, along with their colleagues in Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said he was "on a mission to look at best practice", particularly on the recruitment of more women Members to the Dail.

"We don’t have enough young women Members and we do not have the diversity that we see in your Parliament," he said.

Currently, 40% of the Irish Upper House are women, while in the Lower House the figure is 23%. This compares to the UK Parliament, where 35% of MPs are women, while in the Lords, the figure is 28%.

Mr Speaker said he believed political parties had a big role to play in the recruitment and selection of more female candidates.

Mr Ó Fearghaíl, said he was "overjoyed" to see the Irish tricolour flag flying over the main entrance to Parliament, and hoped to convene the conference of Speakers later this year, or early next.

Sir Lindsay readily agreed, adding: "The fact that we are out of the EU means we have got to find other ways of bringing us together."

The meeting took place as part of Sir Lindsay’s Speaker-led diplomacy. Earlier this year, he addressed the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly – the first to be held in the Palace of Westminster.