Minister for Social Justice strengthens ties with Irish Government during St David’s Day trip

Minister Jane Hutt has reaffirmed Welsh Government’s commitment to the Ireland-Wales Shared Statement during a trip to Dublin to mark St David’s Day.

The Ireland-Wales Shared Statement has six areas of co-operation and includes a commitment from both countries to learn from each other and share best practice.

The Minister met the Irish Government’s Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Social Protection, to discuss how relations between the Welsh and Irish Government could continue to be strengthened.

In a two-day visit to Dublin, Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip, attended several cultural and business events.

This included a St David’s Day reception with partners from across government, industry, education and culture in Ireland, as well as the Welsh diaspora community.

During her time in Dublin the Minister met with the National Youth Council of Ireland and two of their Climate Youth Delegates, Oileán Carter Stritch and Jennifer Salmon, who are seeking to build a relationship with the Future Generations Commission team in Wales.

She also met with senior executives from the leading clinical research organisation ICON, which has been investing in Wales and expanding its workforce in Swansea.

The company has been growing its Swansea office over the last four years and is forging stronger links with universities in Wales, as it bids to take on more graduates and fill highly skilled roles in the life sciences sector.

Minister Jane Hutt also met Conor Falvey Assistant, Secretary General with responsibility for Arts and Culture, and Nadia Feldkircher, Lead Researcher on the Irish Government’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot, to discuss the strengths and challenges of such schemes.

Each pilot scheme has a different target audience in each respective country.

The Welsh Government’s Basic Income for Care Leavers in Wales pilot scheme has been targeted at a cohort of around 630 care leavers and is due to conclude in 2025.The formal enrolment period for the pilot ran for a year and ended on 30 June 2023.

Evaluation of the pilot scheme is ongoing. A statistical breakdown of the cohort enrolled was published last year, whilst the first evaluation report was published last month.

The Irish Government’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will examine, over a three-year period until April 2025, the impact of a basic income on artists and creative arts workers.

Payments of €325 per week are made to 2,000 eligible artists and creative arts workers who were selected at random and invited to take part.

The Minister and lead official discussed the strengths and challenges of Basic Income schemes, as well as what could be learnt from each other about the respective initiatives.

Minister Jane Hutt said: “It has been a privilege to reaffirm our commitment to the Ireland-Wales Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021-25 during my time in Dublin.

“St David’s Day has been a perfect opportunity to showcase our culture overseas and engage with our Welsh diaspora community.

“We are committed to learning from each other and sharing best practice, including through the likes of Basic Income schemes and the Future Generations Commission.”

Minister Joe O’Brien said: “The celebration of St David’s Day here in Dublin, and that of St Patrick’s Day in Cardiff later this month, show the warm and growing relations built on the deep historical and cultural ties between our two peoples.

“We are committed, including through the Ireland Wales Shared Statement, and today’s visit by Minister Hutt, to bringing Wales and Ireland closer together, deepening our cooperation and strengthening connections.”

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