News & Events

CROSSING THE BORDER: NEW RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Newman House

23 February 2008

(From l-r): UCD President Dr Hugh Brady; An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, TD; Professor John Coakley and Professor Liam O'Dowd at the book launch in Newman House

(From l-r): UCD President Dr Hugh Brady; An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, TD; Professor John Coakley and Professor Liam O'Dowd at the book launch in Newman House

On 23 February 2008, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD launched a new book edited by John Coakley and Liam O'Dowd, entitled: Crossing the Border: New relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, published by Irish Academic Press.

Crossing the Border marks the culmination of a joint research project by Queen's University Belfast and University College Dublin entitles Mapping Frontiers, Plotting Pathways: Routes to Co-operation on a Divided Island. The project was funded by the Peace 2 programme through the Special EU Programmes Body and administered by the Higher Education Authority and involved partnerships with the Economic and Social Research Institute, the Centre for Cross-Border Studies and Democratic Dialogue.

This timely book provides the first sustained examination of cross-border relationships since the momentous sequence of events that began with the Good Friday agreement of 1998. It looks at changing patterns of North-South relations in three broad domains: politics and public administration, the economy, and civil society. Specific topics covered include the cross-border implementation bodies, the island economy, the voluntary sector, education, health, planning, public policy, and the EU. The book draws on findings from a two-year research project embracing a large, multi-disciplinary team based in Dublin, Belfast, Dundalk, and Armagh. The book also sets recent changes in perspective, outlining the evolution of cross-border relationships between partition in 1920 and the recent comprehensive settlement, and exploring the extent to which leaders North and South remained in denial about the evolving impact and implications of the border until the closing decades of the 20th century. The authors demonstrate how the search for a settlement in Northern Ireland has created a new dynamic in cross-border relationships, underlining the critical importance of these relationships in sustaining the peace process. In a trenchant assessment of future prospects, the book stresses the extent to which new North-South relationships have been dependent on external funding from the EU and the US. It argues that the diminution of these funds potentially threatens the sustainability of successful cross-border programs, putting the onus on the two governments to develop a more coherent and strategic approach to cross-border co-operation.

To buy the book from the publisher click here.