Fostering Mutual Benefits in Cross-Border Areas: The Challenges and Opportunities in Connecting Irish Border Towns and Villages

Main Report (.pdf)
Executive Summary (.pdf)
Click here to see the launch presentations

Blacklion, Co. Cavan
21 November 2008

The 18-month research programme focusing on the inter-relationships between cross-border towns and villages in the Irish Border region culminated with the launch of the book, Fostering Mutual Benefits in Cross-Border Areas: The Challenges and Opportunities in Connecting Irish Border Towns and Villages, in Blacklion Golf Club, County Cavan on the 21 November 2008.  The research considers the relationship and connectivity that exist between five cross-border settlement groupings and identifies and examines the challenges facing, and opportunities within, these ‘micro-regions’.  The Border towns and villages included in the study were:

  • Lifford-Strabane
  • Kiltyclogher-Cashel/Scribbagh-Garrison-Rossinver
  • Blacklion-Belcoo-Glenfarne
  • Clones-Rosslea-Newtownbutler-Lisnaskea
  • Castleblayney-Crossmaglen.

The well-attended launch of the resulting book in November 2008 received very positive feedback and local press coverage. About 60 people from the cross-border region attended the launch, including the ICLRD research team and representatives from ICLRD partners; namely Rob Kitchin of NIRSA/NUIM, John Cusack of AIT and Greg Lloyd of the School of Built Environment at UU. The morning combined a briefing by the research team on the study’s findings and on future opportunities for cross-border cooperation. This was followed by commentary from a panel that represented the viewpoints of the community, public and private sectors.  Representing the lead funding agency behind this research programme, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), board member Ms. Deidre Ryan discussed the timeliness of the study as well as the continued role for IFI in cross-border planning. From a political perspective, Jim Wells MLA, South Down and Eamon Scanlon T.D., Sligo-North Leitrim both noted that while cross-border cooperation can be difficult and can ‘take us out of our comfort zones’, the mutual benefits to be gained outweigh these fears. Niall Holohan of the North South Ministerial Council – and representing the Steering Committee established to oversee this research programme – offered an all-island perspective on the role and importance of collaboration. The event then concluded with the launch of the book by renowned journalist and author, Colm Toibin.

A core message emerging from all speakers at the launch was the need for greater investment in communicating the success stories which, in turn, demonstrate the mutual benefits to be gained through cross-border cooperation.


Map of Study Area

Check out our press coverage!
Articles in the Fermanagh Herald (1) and (2)
Article in the Cavan Echo
Article in the Donegal News
Article in the Northern Standard
Article in the Sligo Post
Article in the Sligo Weekender