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Minister Byrne to address Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and HELP Annual Network Conference

Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne TD will visit Strasbourg on Thursday 30 June as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe.


The Minister will address the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies, where he will call for the Council of Europe to convene a Summit of Heads of State and Government as soon as possible.


Speaking of the need for a Summit, Minister Byrne said:


“The Council of Europe was established in the wake of war on our continent, with Ireland amongst its founding members. Now, as war ravages Ukraine, we believe it’s time for our 46 Heads of State and Government to reconvene to redouble the institution’s support for Ukraine, refocus its relations with the EU, and recommit to our founding freedoms, above all the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.”


While in Strasbourg, Minister Byrne will open the annual conference of the Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) programme. 


Explaining the value of the initiative, the Minister said:


‘‘One of Ireland’s highest priorities during its Presidency is to support the Council of Europe in protecting human rights across the continent, above all in areas of conflict. The Council’s HELP Programme meaningfully advances this key objective by enhancing the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in all 46 Council of Europe member states and beyond, to apply the European human rights standards in their daily work as legal professionals.’’


The Minister will also take part in a signing ceremony to announce additional voluntary financial contributions of over €350,000 to the Council of Europe, largely directed towards the European Court of Human Rights.