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Statement by Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern on the launch of a 'Blueprint for all island economic co-operation', (26 October 2006)

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Text: British and Irish Governments ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Peter Hain, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Dermot Ahern, then Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs on the launch of a 'Blueprint for all island economic co-operation', (26 October 2006)


Blueprint for all island economic co-operation


A groundbreaking study, launched by the British and Irish Governments today, identifies concrete initiatives to strengthen North/South economic co-operation.

These include:

  • Further collaboration in R&D including maximising access to EU funds
  • New targeted approach to enterprise training and to identifying labour market needs on an all-island basis
  • Joined-up planning in delivery of key infrastructure
  • Trade missions and the overseas offices of Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI to be made available to companies across the island

These initiatives and goals have been identified in a major new study which sets out a strong rationale for beneficial all-island economic activity. It focuses on increasing co-operation in infrastructure, science, technology and innovation, trade and investment promotion, labour market and skills and enterprise and business development. Its key theme is that co-ordinated policies can and will deliver benefits to citizens and businesses North and South.

The two Governments, along with key stakeholders, will now jointly develop a detailed programme of work in each of the areas identified, as well as seeking further opportunities for co-operation in the education and health sectors.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain MP, said:

"The study represents a new level of North South economic co-operation.

Along with the fresh initiatives which will be progressed on a collaborative basis, the study importantly sets out a compelling vision of a strong competitive and socially inclusive island economy with island wide clusters whose strength and development is not impaired by the existence of a political border.

This must be our aim if we are to compete on the world stage and deliver sustained economic benefits for everyone. I look forward to further development and implementation of the goals and actions contained in the Study both in the weeks to come and as part of the agenda of the restored institutions".

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD said:

"I welcome this important study. It makes clear the strong economic imperative driving North/South co-operation.

To be globally competitive we must exploit the opportunities of all-island collaboration. To make the knowledge economy a reality in Ireland North and South, the opportunities of cross-border co-operation in R&D should be eagerly grasped.

In the area of infrastructure, more joined up planning and delivery will give better outcomes for people throughout the island. A coherent transport infrastructure is vital for the balanced regional development of this island and to support the development of areas which have historically enjoyed less economic success including the border counties and the North West."


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