From The Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report: Number One by Paul Nolan, published by the Community Relations Council, 6 Murray Street, Belfast BT1 6DN, on 29 February 2012, and downloadable here:
The North–South Ministerial Council sits at the apex of six cross-border bodies, the remit of which is to ‘develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland’ on matters of mutual interest. In practical terms this means the management of overlapping concerns on areas such as trade, tourism, waterways, fisheries and transport. Very little political controversy attends the operations of these bodies, and for the most part their activities are conducted in a brisk and business-like way.
The general conclusions of the report are more depressing. The Council lists these ten key points:
1. The political institutions are secure
2. The level of violence is down
3. Paramilitarism still remains a threat
4. The policing deal is not secure
5. The recession is impacting upon the equality agenda
6. Youth unemployment is potentially destabilising
7. A new confident and neutral urban culture has emerged
8. Northern Ireland is still a very divided society
9. There is no strategy for reconciliation
10. No solution has been found for dealing with the past.
But then the southern state hasn’t managed 10 either.