There was an underlying theme when thinking about the 2022 edition of The Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland. That theme was inspired by the responses to the Centre for Cross Border Studies’ quarterly surveys on the conditions for North‐South and East‐West cooperation, and the ongoing conversations the Centre has had with other organisations involved in cooperation. What we have seen is the commitment, resilience and perseverance organisations have continuously demonstrated faced with a deteriorating political context. While no Executive was formed following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May 2022, leaving a local governance vacuum, and as a third Conservative Prime Minister resigned in the wake of the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, civic society organisations, educational institutions, local authorities and businesses have continued to build relations, cooperate, and trade on a cross‐border basis – North‐South and East‐West.
Therefore, commitment, resilience and perseverance were the characteristics that combined to form the underlying theme when thinking about and inviting contributions to the 2022 edition of The Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland. The contributions to this edition of The Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland offer an invaluable insight into the challenges facing cross‐border cooperation, mobility and relations, as well as the commitment demonstrated by so many to finding ways to continue to cooperate and trade within and across these islands, and to ensuring citizens can carry on their cross‐border lives.
Cooperation is the focus of the first three contributions, featuring:
- Detailed analysis of the post-Brexit context for North-South cooperation as it was provided for by the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.
- Insight into how civic society organisations continue to value North-South cooperation, the challenges currently faced by these organisations and some possible mitgations which could be put into practice.
- Focus on the role played by the EU’s Interreg programe in fostering cross-border collaboration and relations between Wales and Ireland.
The next two articles focus on the cross-border mobility of people, goods and services, specifically:
- An analysis of the problematic post-Brexit positioning of the Common Travel Area, particularly how it impacts non-Irish and non-British nationals.
- A detailed look at the six post-Brexit border regimes facing traders in Northern Ireland and potential measures that could improve those traders’ ability to engage in cross-border business.
The remaining contributions to this volume consider the post-Brexit context for relations within and across these islands and beyond, including:
- Focus on the impacts of Brexit on strands two and three of the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, which provided the framework for North-South and East-West relations and cooperation.
- A challenging assessment of where we are and, if not where we may be going, what we need to do in order to prepare for the political paths that lie ahead.
- A look at the challenges and opportunities lying ahead for the next Northern Ireland Executive.
- A suggestion the current moment as a possible turning point requiring the participation of organised civil society to safeguard the potentials of liberal democracy.