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In fact it met 18 times during those years before devolution returned in 2007, four times alone in 2006 and each time issued lengthy communiqués covering matters like, security, policing, human rights and justice.

The new British-Irish Agreement of 1998 replaced the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

In 2014, for instance, investigators from the Irish broadcaster RTÉ uncovered a 1977 letter from the then home secretary, Merlyn Rees, to the prime minister of the day, James Callaghan, in which Rees claimed that ministers had given permission for torture to be used in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The information had reportedly been withheld from the European court of human rights.

It is deeply concerning, therefore, to discover that about 1,000 files have gone missing after being removed by civil servants.

Officially, the archives describe them as “misplaced while on loan to a government department”.

Even if the files that have now been reported missing vanished as a result of sloppiness or incompetence rather than malice, that is in a way no less damning.

Britain has long failed to acknowledge the horrors that its colonialism and imperialism have wrought on the world.

“There will be a new British-Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of relationships.’’ Geddit? “In recognition of the Irish government’s special interest in Northern Ireland and of the extent to which issues of mutual concern arise in relation to Northern Ireland, there will be regular and frequent meetings of the conference concerned with non-devolved Northern Ireland matters, on which the Irish government may put forward views and proposals.