Simon Burrowes, who has been Editor of Debates at the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2001, will be retiring this summer.
From his earliest days as Editor at the Assembly, Simon was the driving force in creating and developing the British-Irish Parliamentary Reporting Association, acting as secretary of the association until 2017. Simon brought his customary enthusiasm and commitment to building and sustaining the relationships that lie at the core of BIPRA, and it was always his particular pleasure to welcome BIPRA colleagues to meetings and symposia in Belfast.
Coming to the post of Editor of Debates at the Assembly at a time when it was still in its infancy as a parliamentary institution, Simon immediately recognised the value that establishing close links and exchanging information with colleagues at all levels of the parliamentary reporting teams throughout Britain and Ireland would bring to his team. BIPRA became a kind of network through which ideas could be discussed, advice sought and co-operation fostered, and the annual symposia were both an opportunity for colleagues from the various parliaments and assemblies to raise and discuss issues of mutual concern and an opportunity for delegates to establish personal contacts and friendships over a glass or two during the events.
As well as being a diligent secretary of the association, Simon was a regular and enthusiastic participant at the symposia and was pleased to welcome BIPRA colleagues to Belfast for the annual gathering in 2007, when he opened the conference as part of an unlikely double act with the Reverend Ian Paisley, then First Minister of Northern Ireland, and again in 2016. However, colleagues will have met Simon at many of the association’s events and executive meetings over the years and will have found him to be a cheerful, convivial and enthusiastic member of the Hansard community. Simon’s presence will be missed at BIPRA events to come, but we will be conscious that the very existence of the association and of the relationships that bind it together are due in large part to his efforts over the years, for which we are grateful. We wish Simon all the best for his retirement and hope that, if his schedule of caravan trips and umpiring cricket matches allows, he might drop in again on his BIPRA colleagues.