Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK has today (Friday 25 November 2016) headed a delegation from the Isle of Man Government attending the 28th British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit in Cardiff.
Mr Quayle and Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education and Children, have taken part in discussions on a range of issues, including the consequences of the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote and the importance of Early Years education.
The BIC, established under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, is a forum which brings together the governments of the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. It plays an important role in connecting member countries and provides a platform for consultation and co-operation.
As well as contributing to the Summit’s main agenda, the Chief Minister had meetings with key figures including the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, Scottish External Affairs Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop, and Robin Walker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the UK Department for Exiting the EU.
Members of the Isle of Man delegation also took part in a trilateral meeting with their counterparts from Jersey and Guernsey.
Mr Quayle said:
‘This was my first BIC Summit as Chief Minister and it was good to continue the Island’s engagement with our friends and neighbours through this important forum. The British-Irish Council gives the Isle of Man a seat at the table alongside all the other governments of these islands, allowing us to build relationships and develop our understanding of the challenges facing all BIC members.’
The Chief Minister added:
‘I was particularly pleased that Early Years education was on the agenda for this Summit, as this was one of the issues highlighted as a priority in the Framework for a Programme for Government which I presented to the November sitting of Tynwald.’
Minister Cregeen said:
‘Our new administration in the Isle of Man recognises the importance of the Early Years in building firm foundations for children and families. We are committed to ensuring lifelong learning, from Early Years onwards, while also ensuring the education is aligned with economic needs.
‘I very much welcome the opportunity that the BIC offers the Isle of Man to collaborate and share Early Years policy and practice across all member countries.’