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North-South relations have ‘stagnated’ over political instability


Dr Anthony Soares, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies.

Dr Anthony Soares, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies.

Dr Anthony Soares, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies.

A cross border organisation has warned that North-South relations are stagnating due to political instability.

A survey published today by the Centre for Cross Border Studies found that tensions around the Northern Ireland protocol continued to frustrate North-South political cooperation.

Over 60 civil society organisations and local authorities responded to the survey in September.

The report also showed East West cooperation had stayed the same, but respondents indicated a lack of trust in the British government and local politicians to address issues.

Centre Director, Dr Anthony Soares, said he was becoming “increasingly concerned” by the findings.

A previous report in July found that 51% of respondents felt North-South relations were not getting better.

“Whilst it is expected that cooperation may dwindle occasionally, it is alarming that cooperation has stagnated during a period when we need it most. Cooperation across these islands is the only solution to the problems we face,” he said.

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“I believe we can improve the political conditions for cooperation across these islands, but this can only be done through honest and respectful dialogue between all parties to deal with the sensitivities surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

Since becoming Director in 2019, he said it was still apparent that society as a whole still had a willingness to cooperate across the islands for mutual benefit.

“That is why our decision makers should strive to find solutions to the barriers of greater cooperation,” he said.

“Stability is needed for cross border cooperation and collaboration; all parties must come to an agreement on the working of the Protocol and governments must engage on cross cutting issues.”

“We note and welcome the negotiations currently taking place between the British Government and the European Union to find an agreement.

“As a Centre we will work to continually promote dialogue and cooperation to ensure the vision of a reconciled and peaceful society, underpinned by all three strands of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement is a reality.”

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