The Centre for Cross Border Studies today publishes a new report proposing a number of areas of public service provision where it makes sense for the Irish and Northern Irish public sectors to cooperate for improved service delivery and ‘value for money’.
Delivering a Prosperity Process: Opportunities in North/South Public Service Provision is by Michael D’Arcy, a Dublin business consultant with a longstanding interest in North/South economic, enterprise and business policy development. His study is based on conversations with senior civil servants, business and academic leaders in both Irish jurisdictions.
The participants in the study identified the following 10 opportunities to begin North/South public service cooperation projects likely to deliver positive results for citizens of the whole island in 10 years time, in 2022.
- Policy-makers North and South should outline a joint plan to support employment and economic growth that will particularly target marginalised communities in both jurisdictions.
- A cross-border health service provision plan should be outlined as an early imperative.
- Creating an all-island Single Energy Market (to take full advantage of renewable wind, wave and biomass) would build on the proven success of the all-island Single Electricity Market.
- North/South coordination on ‘treated water’ should be included in the plans for public water infrastructure upgrades in both jurisdictions.
- An all-island tourism infrastructure research project should be undertaken to guide future investors in this sector.
- The case should be made for a Cross-Border Economic Development Zone in the border region, with strong local involvement being a prerequisite for policy makers to support such an initiative.
- The resources of third level institutions in both jurisdictions should be combined in certain high quality courses and knowledge centres.
- A Memorandum of Understanding should be concluded to facilitate the joint planning of certain 21st century infrastructure upgrades.
- Ireland’s EU presidency in 2013 should be used to showcase the island’s ‘single market’ business achievements.
- Civil service managers working on a North/South basis should be facilitated by the provision of a jointly commissioned operational ‘tool box’.
Speaking at the release of the study, author Michael D’Arcy said: “Prosperity, like peace, is a universally shared goal. A ‘Prosperity Process’ based initially on working jointly to improve public services in both parts of Ireland would begin to move the island towards an economic well-being that would benefit all its citizens.”
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