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Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 12:14 GMT
Date set for SF veto challenge
Legal proceedings were launched in the High Court
Legal proceedings were launched in the High Court
A date has been set for the judicial review of the ban on two Sinn Fein ministers attending cross border meetings.

Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble introduced the ban in October as part of a package of measures to try to force the IRA to re-engage with the arms decommissioning body.

In the High Court on Thursday, it emerged the hearing will begin in two week's time, on Friday 15 December.

According to BBC NI political correspondent Mark Simpson, Sinn Finn was to keen to have this case heard as quickly as possible.

But the party will now have to wait until 15 December, two days after US President Bill Clinton's visit to Northern Ireland.

It is possible that the hearing will begin and finish on the same day.

Health Minister Bairbre de Brun and Education Minister Martin McGuinness are challenging David Trimble's decision not to allow them to attend meetings of the North-South Ministerial Council meetings.

Bairbre de Brun is taking legal action
Bairbre de Brun is taking legal action
The respondents are Mr Trimble and the Deputy First Minister, Seamus Mallon.

Unless a political solution can be found in the meantime, the courts will have the final say on the matter.

The North-South Ministerial Council is one of the political structures set up under the Good Friday Agreement and is particularly important to nationalists.

The council and six cross-border bodies are aimed at promoting co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on areas of common concern.

Meanwhile, a judicial review of the flags controversy in Northern Ireland has been put off until the New Year.

Sinn Fein is objecting to new regulations forcing ministers to fly the Union Flag on government buildings on 17 days a year. The case is due to be heard on 10 January.

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See also:

29 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein veto challenge delayed
22 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Meeting cancelled over legal challenge
11 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionist warns over NI Assembly
08 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Adams hopes for ban breakthrough
20 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Political temperature set to rise
28 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionist plan gets hostile response
23 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Trimble 'relaxed' over legal challenge
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