March 25, 2009

Head of NI Civil Service launches 2009 Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland and new INTERREG-funded research programme

From left to right: Bruce Robinson, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies, and Mary Bunting, Northern Joint Secretary of the North/South Ministerial Council, at the launch of the 2009 Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland and the INTERREG-funded INICCO research programme.

The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Mr Bruce Robinson, formally launched the Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland in Belfast today. The 2009 edition of the journal features an interview with the First Minister, Rt Hon Peter Robinson MP MLA, on North-South cooperation, and articles on North-South economic cooperation in a time of recession; cross-border banking; cross-border spatial planning; how the two police services deal with cross-border sex offenders; opinion polls on the border issue, and Irish identity in the 21st century.

At the same time Mr Robinson launched the Centre’s five new EU INTERREG IVA-funded research, training and information projects, under the common title, the Ireland/Northern Ireland Cross-border Cooperation Observatory (INICCO): on the border region economy, cross-border spatial planning, hospital services, impact assessment and mobility information. These will be carried out in the period 2009-2011. The event was also addressed by Mr Howard Keery, Director of the Joint Technical Secretariat of the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the INTERREG IVA programme.

Speaking at the launch in the Stormont Hotel, Mr Robinson said:

“The Centre for Cross Border Studies and its researchers are to be congratulated on their terrific record of achievement over the past 10 years. They have been at the forefront of policy research and development on a cross-border basis at a time of very significant change on the island, providing leadership and energy and dynamism in this key area. They have added to the knowledge base and brought together policy-makers, academics and researchers to seek practical solutions to issues of real relevance to people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. One example of this kind of relevant work, undertaken in close collaboration with the North/South Ministerial Council, is the development of the Border People mobility information website. The cross-border mobility issues on which this website provides information are a key priority for Ministers on both sides of the border.”

“I warmly and openly pay tribute to the Centre’s work. Without their energy and enthusiasm, the kind of practical cross-border cooperation issues now considered part of the mainstream certainly wouldn’t be considered as self-evidently important as they now are. When the Centre set out on its journey 10 years ago they were not considered self-evident at all. I particularly commend the new series of INTERREG-funded research projects on the border region economy, cross-border spatial planning, health, impact assessment and mobility information which they are currently embarking on.”

See the launch of last year’s journal.