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10 Nov 2022


This webinar shared the insights of the CCBS report on “Accelerating Growth – Towards An All Island Perspective On Regional Development” by Niall O’Donnellan and Brendan McCormack.

The report identifies the importance of developing a strong focus on the economy of the Border region as part of the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework. It takes an all-island perspective in understanding the challenges and opportunities for interaction and growth, and in addressing the limitations of the “peripherality” perspective.

Niall O’Donnellan presented the report’s insights, before being joined in discussions by Caitriona Mullan and John Bradley. Further questions, answers and discussion followed.


About the panel


Niall O’Donnellan is an independent strategy advisor/mentor and development economist. He has worked in a range of roles in economic development, including over a decade on Enterprise Ireland’s leadership team as Head Regions, Head Policy and Planning etc. He has also served as part-time Chair of IT Sligo 2016-2022, now part of Atlantic Technology University (ATU).  He has a Masters (Econ) from NUIG and a MA in Online and Distance Learning from OU.





Brendan McCormack was Head of the ATU Sligo College, one of 8 campuses of the Atlantic Technological University with 8,500 students and a national leader in the delivery of online/blended learning programmes for employee education. Brendan is a graduate of UCD and of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), USA. He has conducted research at the University of Leeds and the University of Minnesota. He has published in the area of biomechanics and medical device design and has worked with many Medical Devices companies in Ireland. He co-founded and led the UCD-TCD Bioengineering Research Centre and has 6 patents, and over 200 articles in the areas of biomechanics.



Specialising in governance and leadership for collaborative/transboundary working, Caitriona’s current portfolio includes the role of ICLRD facilitator for the North West Strategic Growth Partnership. She holds expert roles with the Council of Europe’s Centre of Expertise for Good Governance supporting pre-accession countries; with the Association of European Border Regions/DG REGIO on EU Policy initiatives for territorial co-operation; and supporting AEBR’s work with its Ukrainian stakeholders. Caitriona’s policy, research and advisory work is informed by over two decades’ hands-on public sector and cross-border experience in Ireland and Northern Ireland, gained in executive and non-executive roles in the regional development, local government, health and social care, and higher education sectors. She is the author of publications in 2022 by the European Commission, NESC/Shared Island, and the Journal of European Planning studies.


 John Bradley was Research Professor at the Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) and previously worked in the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards and the Central Bank of Ireland.  He has carried out research and published extensively on the island economy of Ireland, medium-term economic forecasting, EU cohesion policy in Ireland and in other EU member states, industrial strategy and economic policy modelling.  He has acted as a consultant to the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD, the World Bank, many EU member state governments and has carried out research and training projects in the EU, the Western Balkans and Africa.

In 2012 he co-authored with Professor Michael Best a study for CCBS entitles ‘Cross-Border Economic Renewal: Re-thinking Regional Policy in Ireland’., I 2018 he authored ‘The Economy of the Atlantic Economic Corridor: A study of County Mayo’, the first time that an Irish county economy had been researched in depth. In 2021 he was an author and the editor of ‘The Atlantic Railway Corridor – The Galway-Mayo Link: An Appraisal’.


Maureen is an independent economist with more than 25 years experience across a range of area including policy evaluation, economic impact assessment, cost benefit analysis, economic appraisal, strategy, briefing, research and statistical analysis. She was previously Senior Research Economist with the Economic Research Institute for Northern Ireland (ERINI). Prior to this she headed up the Policy Evaluation Unit at the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre (NIERC). She was an Associate Lecturer in Economics with the Open University from 2003 to 2009. She now heads up her own consultancy company.

Maureen acts as economist for the NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which includes briefing, policy formulation, consultation submissions along with responsibility for the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES). She is an Economic Associate with Pro Bono Economics in London, which helps charities and social enterprises improve their impact and value. Her role involves working with volunteer economists, managing and advising on impact assessment, data advice and advocacy research on behalf of UK and locally based charities. She is an Associate with the Public Policy Advisors Network in Ireland and writes regular features on local government in Northern Ireland for the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), a local authority membership organisation representing local government in the UK, Ireland and Australia. She is also a Board Member of Enterprise Northern Ireland which represents the interests of local enterprise agencies and lobbies on behalf of small business.

Maureen holds a First Class Honours degree in Economics and a Masters (with distinction) in Applied Economics. She also holds Professional 2 level examinations with Chartered Accountants Ireland and has a part completed PhD in Enterprise Economics (which she hopes to complete some day!).

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