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Shared Island: Shared Opportunity – NESC Shared Island In-Person Event in association with the Department of the Taoiseach Co-hosted by University College Cork in Aula Maxima, UCC

Thursday, 7th July 2022, 10.00am –12.45pm   (Registration at 09.30am)

Video address to be given by Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD.

As part of the Government’s Shared Island Initiative the Department of the Taoiseach requested the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) to undertake research and to produce a comprehensive report on the Shared Island, to inform the development of the Shared Island initiative as a whole of Government priority.

This event Shared Island: Shared Opportunity considered the main conclusions and recommendations from this work. The main conclusions are: the significant support, in practice, for an all-island approach to common challenges; the urgency of all-island action and collaboration on climate change and diversity; and key factors shape collaboration such as a shared agenda, resources, political certainty and support, legislative and regulatory coherence, and collaborative projects. 

Extensive consultation and research informed the report. This involved in excess of 100 meetings with practitioners, policy makers, academics and experts from a diverse range of institutions across the whole island. It involved detailed work in the North-West, including four focus groups. A public consultation on Climate and Biodiversity took place. The work also drew upon a number of related webinars and the Shared Island Social Dialogues undertaken by the Department of the Taoiseach.

The report and event are a culmination of work over the last 18 months, where NESC published three Council Reports, six Secretariat Papers and one Background Paper on the Shared Island, which are available on this website.

Speakers from the Cork area and further afield responded to the conclusions and recommendations in the report based on their own experiences, with a focus on future opportunities.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD stressed the importance and relevance of NESC’s research in moving from aspiration to action on the Government’s commitment to building a shared island. Others emphasised the significance of the Good Friday Agreement and the challenges of Brexit. The need to build trust, support participation and expand horizons was highlighted. The role of civil society and people to people relationships was acknowledged as critical to all-island relationships. Some of the challenges included the need for better transport links, e.g. between Cork and Belfast, as well as better data and statistics at an all-island level.  

Specific project examples were presented on north south links, such as the Imaging 2050 project on community engagement in climate action and the TOGETHER project on collaborating across prison walls and borders. Opportunities for funding for collaborative projects on peace and prosperity through the PEACE PLUS programme were highlighted, along with possibilities for liaison between local authorities e.g. on learning cities and healthy cities, and on biodiversity and the circular economy.  Concluding comments stressed the shared agenda of ‘saving the planet’, and undertaking collaborative projects.  


The Event Programme

Presentations given are listed below:

Introduction and Context: Dr Mary C. Murphy, UCC

Shared Island Perspectives

Community Perspective
Miriam Holt, National Coordinator, National Collective Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN)
Environmental Perspective
Dr Alexandra Revez, Environmental Research Institute, UCC on the Imagining 2050 project

Shared Island Opportunities

TOGETHER Project: Collaborating across prison walls and borders (with QUB)
Prof Maggie O’Neill & Dr James Cronin, UCC
PEACE PLUS Programme
Gina McIntyre, CEO, Special EU Programmes Body


Find out more about the NESC work on Shared Island.