The ICLRD engages in action research with local governments, communities and central agencies; publishes Irish and international case study research to evaluate and develop good practice models; promotes evidence-based planning; hosts conferences and workshops on key themes; and delivers training for key stakeholders in the physical, social and economic development of the island of Ireland.

Action Research

One of ICLRD’s primary activities is applied research into the social, economic and environmental dimensions of spatial planning, reconciliation and community regeneration and inter-regional and cross-border co-operation. ICLRD’s research brings together universities, government and community groups to address the spatial aspects of peace and reconciliation at three scales: the island of Ireland; the EU regional which includes cross-border and cooperation among local councils on each side of the border; and local with a particular focus on encouraging communities to take a proactive role in creating a stable society.

To see all of ICLRD papers and publications, including its research reports, click here.

Training and Capacity Building

A core activity for ICLRD is to offer professional education programmes for public officials, civic leaders, non-governmental organisations and other practitioners involved in local, regional and national development. Devolution in Northern Ireland, the shifting of new responsibilities to local authorities, and cross-border programmes that increase the role of local governments in developing and managing their cross-border programs all point to the need for new capacity building programmes. ICLRD capacity building activities emphasise knowledge transfer through our conferences and technical workshops. Our research activities and expanded networks provide timely case study materials, best practices, and operational linkages to EU cross-border programmes.

Advocacy and Demonstration – Evidence-Based Planning

In its research on inter-jurisdictional and cross-border planning ICLRD has shown that one of the first entry points to developing cooperation among central and local governments is providing information and shared evidence on common issues such as housing, trade, environment, transport and services. The process of collection, joint analysis, reports and forums can help to build an agenda for action around common interests and challenges. In collaboration with the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis at NUI Maynooth, and its All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) initiative, the ICLRD is supporting evidence-informed decision-making.

Technical Assistance and Outreach

The ICLRD provides technical assistance and outreach to local government agencies and communities to help them deliver specific programmes often identified through ICLRD’s training or research activities. Recent examples include:

  • Assisting the Newry and Mourne District Council and the Louth Local Authorities to prepare and adopt a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in: emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, sustainable economic growth and job creation.
  • Supporting the cross-border development associations of Truagh, Aughnacloy, Aghaloo, The Bawn, Loughans, Clara and Carrickroe in the Monaghan/Tyrone Border area to jointly develop a community business and social economy plan.
  • Assistance to the local councils in NW Region and the newly formed NW Partnership Board to facilitate cross-border engagement at a strategic level.

Conferences and Events

Bringing policy makers, academics and practitioners together to identify practical solutions to today’s challenges is a core ICLRD activity. Our conferences and technical workshops play an important role in shaping cooperation on the island of Ireland in the areas of spatial planning and local and regional development.