Updated: 12/10/12 : 06:58:04Printable Version
The first meeting of a cross-border body of TDs, Senators and MLAs will take place in Leinster House later today.
The idea for a North-South parliamentary association originated in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The body was also recommended in the successor to that deal; the 2006 St Andrews Agreement.
Getting the association off the ground has been a difficult process, reflecting the peace process itself.
Today's agenda is modest. It covers child protection issues and the reopening of the Ulster Canal.
However, the gathering will see DUP and Sinn Féin representatives discussing matters of mutual concern on a cross-border basis.
It is also the first formal forum for discussions involving the Oireachtas and the devolved Assembly.
The 48-member body, along with joint chairs Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett and Stormont Speaker William Hay, will meet twice a year to consider areas of common interest.
Today’s inaugural session takes place in the Leinster House Seanad chamber.