Each of the six North South Bodies, operates on an all-island basis. While having a clear operational remit, all operate under the overall policy direction of the North South Ministerial Council, with clear accountability lines back to the Council and to the Oireachtas and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Bodies and a summary of their main functions are set out as follows:
Responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of specified inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes.
The promotion of food safety research into food safety, communication of food alerts, surveillance of food borne disease, promotion of scientific co-operation and laboratory linkages, and development of cost-effective facilities for specialised laboratory testing.
The promotion of trade and business on an all-island and cross-border basis and the enhancement of the global competitiveness of the all-island economy to the mutual benefit of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Managerial and oversight functions in relation to EU programmes including PEACE III and INTERREG IVA.
(consisting of two agencies ie. Foras na Gaeilge and Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch): Foras na Gaeilge is responsible for the promotion of the Irish Language throughout the island and Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch is responsible for promoting the study, conservation, development, and use of the Ulster-Scots as a living language: to encourage and develop the full range of its attendant culture;and to promote an understanding of the history of the Ulster-Scots.
(consisting of two Agencies ie. The Loughs Agency and Lights Agency): The Loughs Agency has responsibility for the promotion and development of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for commercial and recreational purposes in respect of marine , fishery and aquaculture matters. It was intended that the Lights Agency, when established, would replace the Commissioners of Irish Lights as the General Lighthouse Authority for Ireland. However, given the complexities that have arisen in terms of pursuing such a transfer of functions, the matter is under review at present.
Funding and Staffing of North South Bodies
The North South Bodies are funded by the two Administrations, North and South. They are staffed by a combination of civil servants (either transferred or seconded from their parent Departments, North and South) and directly recruited staff.
Structure of the North South Bodies
The functions of three of the Bodies, InterTradeIreland, the North South Language Body and the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission, are exercised by Boards of Management appointed by the NSMC. The Food Safety Promotion Board has an Advisory Board, also appointed by the NSMC, and the functions of the Body are exercised by the Chief Executive.The remaining two Bodies, Waterways Ireland and the Special European Union Programmes Body, do not have Boards, and the functions of the Body are exercised by the Chief Executive