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NESC publishes Council Report no 153: Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy Scoping Paper


17th February 2021

NESC Programme of Research on Shared Island

Today, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) published a Scoping Paper: Projects, Progress and Policy setting out a proposed approach to research on the Shared Island initiative.

NESC Director, Dr Larry O’Connell, said ‘we in NESC are responding to a request from the Department of the Taoiseach to carry out research and to produce a comprehensive report on the Shared Island in 2021.  We will seek to do this in an inclusive manner, engaging with all communities and traditions on this island to build consensus around a shared future, with a focus on actionable areas of cooperation.  The work will be underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement and absolute respect for the principle of consent.’

The NESC research will contribute to building a shared knowledge base and understanding about possible ways in which greater co-operation can emerge across a number of economic, social and environmental areas in Ireland, North and South, and also between these islands East and West.   The research will not address the constitutional question, but will focus on sustainable economic, social and environmental development issues in line with NESC’s strategic remit.

The project lead, Dr Helen Johnston, said ‘the research will reflect the NESC approach of integrating economic, social and environmental issues.  Specifically, we will examine areas such as the economy, good jobs, regional development, poverty, mental health, social enterprise, climate and biodiversity, with an overall focus on sustainability and connectivity.  Part of the project will involve more in-depth research using a “place-based” approach drawing on the lived experience of people in border and adjacent communities.’

NESC is keen to engage with people throughout the island to listen and learn, with a view to linking bottom-up and top-down views and perspectives. Common issues will be identified and shared, with a view to addressing problems in a cooperative way, through innovative solutions.


For further information, please contact:

Dr. Helen Johnston

The National Economic and Social Council




Note to Editors:  The Scoping Paper: Projects, Progress and Policy is available on the NESC’s website at  A Consultation Paper on Climate and Biodiversity: Challenges and Opportunities as part of the Shared Island project is also available on the website, with responses due by 5th March.  NESC will also be placing Secretariat Papers on The Good Jobs Agenda and The All-Island Economy on the website in the near future.

About the National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

The National Economic & Social Council (NESC) was established in 1973.  NESC is an expert advisory and consultative body, focusing on strategic economic, social and environmental policies.  The Council was set up to analyse and report to the Taoiseach on strategic issues relating to the efficient development of the economy, the achievement of social justice and environmental sustainability.  It addresses the public system and the institutional challenges related to implementation, monitoring and learning.  It is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach.  The members of the Council are appointed by the Taoiseach, for a three year term.  They are representatives of business and employers’ organisations, trade unions, agricultural and farming organisations, community and voluntary organisations, and environmental organisations; as well as heads of Government departments and independent experts.  The Council has published more than 150 agreed reports on a wide range of policy issues, as well as research papers by its profe


To view the full report click here

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