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Lord Dubs: My Lords, Amendment No. 78 returns to an issue which was discussed during our earlier consideration of these clauses, namely, whether implementation bodies should have equivalent powers on both sides of the border. The Government's clear understanding is that the implementation bodies will be mutual and reciprocal and will have equivalent powers to implement policies agreed in the North-South Ministerial Council in both Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.

However, the key point about the powers of the implementation bodies is that they will be agreed by representatives from Northern Ireland and the Irish Government. Legislation from each jurisdiction will be used to confer on the bodies those powers which have been agreed: nothing more and nothing less. Therefore, provided that the Northern Ireland Administration and the Irish Government agree to confer equivalent powers on the body both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic, that is what will happen.

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The noble Lord, Lord Cope, asked a number of questions. I would say this to him. Implementation bodies are not about one government interfering with another country. They are about co-operation to mutual benefit in both jurisdictions. The noble Lord also asked what would happen about further implementation bodies, given that the particular point at issue is what is going to happen immediately. If further implementation bodies are agreed by the Northern Ireland Administration and the Irish Government, it will be for the Assembly to give them the necessary powers in legislation. Under the Bill, the Assembly has the competence to make the necessary orders.

The noble Lord, Lord Cooke, asked how these matters would be dealt with in practice. The position is clear. Policy will lie with Ministers, but implementing decisions will be for the implementation bodies themselves. They will act within policies which have been defined politically by the Northern Ireland Minister and by the Minister from Dublin.

As regards the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Monson, I would say that yes, reciprocity, to which I have already referred, is the key. Indeed, it is quite likely that some of the initiative for the work done by the implementation bodies will come from Belfast. Indeed it is right and proper that that should sometimes be the case. In other cases the initiative may come from Dublin.

Lord Cooke of Islandreagh: My Lords, before the Minister sits down perhaps I may enquire how the implementation bodies are going to work. Are they going to work directly with the organisations on the ground or through the departments concerned with these bodies? This is an important matter which I know has begun to concern members of the Assembly.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, I think it depends very much on the detail of the issue that the implementation body will be dealing with. Let me take an example which has been much quoted and which is in the annexe to the Good Friday areement. One of the possibilities for implementation was tourism: that is, promotion, market research and product development. It seems to me that that tourism body would be responsible for implementing the promotion of tourism to all parts of Ireland. It would have been given that authority and that power by the Minister in Belfast as well as by his or her opposite number in Dublin. Implementation bodies will work directly on the ground. They will be responsible for the work involved in carrying out the implementation. That is what they are there for: they are there to do the work, the policies having been decided by the Ministers and by the Assembly.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, so far as concerns Amendment No. 79, I understand that the Assembly can give any future bodies that may be set up after the initial six bodies powers to carry out whatever responsibilities are allocated to them as far as Northern Ireland is concerned. The point I was making was that, as I understand it, the Assembly will not be in a position to participate in the creation of any further bodies,

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because in order to create a legal persona capable of making contracts and capable of carrying out its instructions as a tourist body or whatever it may be, they need a legal framework. The Assembly cannot confer a legal framework on an international body because it will not have treaty making powers. Therefore only the United Kingdom Government will be able to enter into the necessary treaty to set up a future implementation body, even though, after it has been created, the Assembly may be able, under a different clause, to transfer to that body the necessary powers and so on from the central Northern Ireland Government.

So far as Amendment No. 78 is concerned, I am encouraged by the support I have received from the Cross-Benches and from the Unionist Benches over the question of equivalent powers and duties. This is an extremely important point and one on which the Minister gave assurances. The only question is whether we should write it into the Bill or whether the assurances are sufficient. It is in the nature of the trust which we are trying to engender in this process that we should accept the assurances of the Secretary of State rather than writing this into the Bill, though personally I would have much preferred it to appear on the face of the Bill. In that event I do not think it would have done any damage to the agreement itself. However, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 79 not moved.]

Lord Molyneaux of Killead moved Amendment No. 80:

Page 27, line 40, leave out ("before") and insert ("after").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Cope, has said, this is rather a crisp little amendment, but it is difficult to understand why there should be such a rush to establish these bodies before the appointed day. It is true that the following subsection provides some very curious terminology. The Bill says:

    "An order under this section may make any such provision.... (after the appointed day)...".
"May" does not seem to fit with the rather precise wording, "after the appointed day".

I return to the question: why is it necessary to rush the proceedings? My noble friend Lord Cooke illustrated the difficulties that are already being encountered by the reconnaissance operation by various elements in the Assembly. I understand that the going has been extremely heavy. Surely it would make sense to go easy on this matter. I do not suggest that we delay the Bill's passage, but surely it would be preferable to have a clear idea as to what exactly is wanted and, more importantly, what the legal base would be. Perhaps the Minister could write to us outlining his thoughts on the matter. I think that he, too, probably feels that some further study needs to be carried out before we know exactly where we are.

The noble Lord, Lord Cope, made the point that the Assembly will not have treaty-making powers; that must be done at Westminster. Will it be a difficult operation--Her Majesty's Government requesting that both Houses of Parliament, acting under treaty-making

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powers, form, for example, a Franco-British fisheries board; and how popular would that body be? That may be a rather outlandish suggestion, but there are issues in regard to co-operation in Northern Ireland that will be equally difficult and sensitive. I suggest that we need to take our time. We should not rush in before the appointed day and go down the road too far immediately after the appointed day without having a clear idea as to how matters will work out.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, Amendment No. 80 would enable the Secretary of State to make orders about any implementation body established on the appointed day or afterwards.

Clause 53(1)(b) has been included specifically to restrict the Secretary of State's power to make orders to the initial batch of agreed implementation bodies; that is, those bodies established on or before the appointed day. If and when further implementation bodies are agreed, they will be given the necessary capacities and functions by means of Assembly legislation, which is the appropriate vehicle for doing so.

Under strand 2 of the agreement, the two governments are committed to ensuring that the initial implementation bodies are ready to function at the same time as powers are devolved to the Assembly. It is our intention that these bodies will also be formally established on the appointed day. However, we have left open the possibility of establishing them a short time in advance of the appointed day in order that they will be ready to function from day one.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: My Lords, I hope that we, and particularly those with a special interest in Northern Ireland, can give further thought to this matter. In the light of our experience of international affairs, perhaps we can give thought and guidance to those who will be saddled with the responsibility of bringing these bodies into being. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 54 [Civic Forum]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 81:

Page 28, line 18, at end insert--
("( ) The expenses of the Forum shall be defrayed as expenses of the Department of Finance and Personnel.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 relate to Clause 54, which is about the civic forum.

Amendment No. 81 is a technical provision to ensure that the forum's expenses can be funded, in the first instance by the Department of Finance and Personnel, though this is a responsibility that might well be suitable for transfer to a department of the centre, which we have considered earlier.

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Amendment No. 82 makes clear that it is the responsibility of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to establish the forum. This clarifies a point that many people, including some noble Lords, found obscure in the original drafting. I beg to move.

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