Cross-border Cooperation

Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 18/2021

16 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2021

See all articles by Rory O'Connell

Rory O'Connell

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: November 18, 2021


This paper examines the history of cross-border cooperation in Ireland. It discusses the historic tensions following 1921. During the conflict the UK and Irish governments, despite challenges, did cooperate in the context of security and peace initiatives, and also developed relationships within the EEC. The EEC (later EU) provided supports for cross-border cooperation while the Belfast Good Friday Agreement created institutions to foster North-South and East-West cooperation.
Brexit and the politics around the Protocol have upset this. The Protocol addresses the unique situation on the island of Ireland, Article 11 requiring the Protocol to be implemented and applied to secure the conditions for cooperation. However, the DUP has expressed its opposition to the Protocol by boycotting the North South Ministerial Council. Amidst this tension there are causes for optimism with support for the PEACE PLUS programme, new initiatives on a Shared Island and an all-island Women’s Forum.

Keywords: Brexit, Cross-border Cooperation, North-South Ministerial Council, Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Withdrawal Agreement

Suggested Citation

O'Connell, Rory, Cross-border Cooperation (November 18, 2021). Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 18/2021, Available at SSRN: or

Rory O'Connell (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland


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