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WOMEN’STEC, along with other civic society leaders were invited to meet the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D. at the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh on 17th February. Our #NotJustForBoys Project Lead, Una McCabe represented WOMEN’STEC on this occasion. Also in attendance was Tara Farrell, (CEO Longford Women’s Link), Jacinta Linden (CEO Bolster Community and Vice Chair of CO3), and Megan McDermott (Centre for Cross Border Studies). Discussions took place on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Brexit, Cross Border and Cross-Community working, in the context of the current political climate. There was an open and honest conversation focusing on the most pressing issues facing communities on the ground. We also raised the need for ongoing civic engagement to ensure that voices of grassroots women and communities are heard. Mr Coveney T.D. complimented the work of civil society groups, North and South of the border in continuing their work in the absence of a functioning NI Executive.

Those present discussed the need to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is upheld in its totality and that women’s voices both rural and urban need to be included and heard. He was empathetic and understood the issues and challenges raised.

Una McCabe said, ‘It was a pleasure to attend this meeting. This is a very testing time for all citizens of Northern Ireland with a pending election, the frustrations and pressures of rising living costs, healthcare waiting lists and housing shortages. It is imperative that the voices of those that we work for are represented and heard in future decision making about decisions that directly impact on them, their families, and communities.