Observers will be aware that there were some difficulties with the decisions the Committee made last year with regard to the British & Irish list and our policy to exclude Irish rare bird records from the British Birds Rarities Committee annual 'Report on rare birds in Great Britain', including the lack of formal consultation with the Northern Ireland Birdwatchers' Association (NIBA) prior to taking these decisions. In line with the wishes of its members, the NIBA subsequently set up the Northern Ireland Birdwatchers' Association Rarities Committee (NIBARC) which will have sole jurisdiction over rare birds reported in Northern Ireland and which will, where possible, supply details of Northern Ireland bird records for inclusion in the Irish Bird Report (IBR).
The Committee respects the decisions made by the NIBA and very much welcomes their continued co-operation in supplying data for the IBR thus maintaining the long-standing tradition of a single annual publication containing bird records for the island of Ireland. We are very pleased that contact between the IRBC and the NIBA has intensified over the past year and two constructive joint meetings of representatives of both bodies have taken place: in Antrim in March 1997 and in Louth in November 1997. We look forward to the continuation of the excellent relationship that exists between both bodies and we intend to hold further regular joint meetings.