Implications of UK withdrawal from the EU

Ruth Taillon was one of the speakers at an event in Strabane on 14 November, hosted by Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty and MEP Martina Anderson on the implications of a UK withdrawal from the EU. The talk focused on implications for the economy, regional development, social and economic cohesion, workers’ and citizens’ rights, and North-South relations.

Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation

The website of the Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation project has recently gone ‘live’ at

‘Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation’ gave residents along both sides of the border an opportunity to remember and express their feelings in relation to the closure of border roads and the impact that it had on their lives. The project digitally recorded 149 interviews and linked these accounts with recovered photographs taken at the time of the road closures and newspaper articles that covered the events. A number of showcase events in October and November provided an opportunity for the team to introduce the project’s interactive website to people across the border counties. CCBS Director, Ruth Taillon was guest speaker at the 6 November event in Enniskillen. At the event she praised the project, saying, “I believe that it is a very important piece of work that will be a priceless resource for many years to come. … This project has … allowed people, many for the first time, to tell their stories and for those stories to be heard. It has already made a real contribution to better understanding within and across communities. But more importantly, it’s now here as a resource for others who want to rebuild those broken relationships and the reverse the isolation and the social and economic decline of border communities. … People need to know about it. People need to use it and hopefully build upon it. So thank you again, to all those who worked so hard to make it happen.“

Mentoring in Macedonia

CCBS Director Ruth Taillon spent three days in Skopje, Macedonia, at the end of October with support from the Euclid Network Peer Exchange Programme. The Euclid Network connects members from more than 40 countries from across Europe for a more innovative, professional and sustainable European civil society. The Peer Exchange was funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Our partner in Macedonia was the FORUM – Centre for Strategic Research and Documentation. Forum-CSRD is the leading Macedonian non-governmental organisation that is dedicated to exploring the political and strategic aspects of current solutions and innovative national regional and European issues. The Centre has an important role in strengthening the role of civil society and increasing its influence on the formation of national policies and the creation of policies aimed at achieving the standards required for Euro-Atlantic integration of the country. (Macedonia is an EU-candidate country.)

While in Skopje, Ruth worked with FORUM Executive Director Slagjan Penev (who visited CCBS earlier this year) on a project proposal to support increased civil society organisations’ participation in decision-making processes in municipalities and enhanced transparency in creating municipal and regional development plans/strategies and to encourage citizens to control how these plans are implemented. The proposed project aims is to create network of watchdog monitors which will be ready to react to any bad practice or poor performance of the authorities and administration in local and central government.

Cross-border seminar - UK Right to Reside and Irish Habitual Residency Conditions

Lee Hatton Law Centre NI and Jean Plummer Department of Social Protection are confirmed speakers at the next Border People seminar which will take place on Thursday 20th November, 9.30am-1.30pm, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk.

The event will focus on the UK Right to Reside and Irish Habitual Residency Conditions. Both have implications for entitlement to social welfare and as always there are exceptions for cross-border cases.

This seminar is suitable for those working in information providing organisations in both jurisdictions. It is an excellent opportunity for cross-border networking and knowledge sharing. There is no charge to attend and places will be issued on a first-come basis. Online registration is now open.

For further information please visit or contact Annmarie O’Kane

This seminar is part of the Border People project managed by the Centre for Cross Border Studies in collaboration with the North South Ministerial Council, the Citizens Information Board and Citizens Advice Northern Ireland. The project is part-financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Joint ICLRD & CCBS Conference 29-30 January 2015

Shared Services, Shared Opportunities: New Models of Public Sector Collaboration and Partnership

The annual ICLRD & CCBS conference will take place in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, 29-30 January 2015. The conference will focus on the issue of shared services and will explore the opportunities for local authorities and public sector organisations to collaborate to ensure more effective service delivery for citizens, particularly in the Border region. A conference programme will be available in the near future.

CCBS 15th Anniversary and Launch of the Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland 2014

The Board and Staff of the Centre for Cross Border Studies

would like to invite you to join us at a celebration of


The Centre’s 15th Anniversary
and the
Launch of the Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland 2014

European Commission Office in Northern Ireland
74 – 76 Dublin Road
Belfast BT2 7HP

Thursday 13 November 2014
5.30pm – 7.30pm

Head of Belfast Office of the EU Commission, Ms Colette Fitzgerald will speak and launch the Journal at 6.15pm.

Light refreshments will be served. There is no charge for this event. Car parking is available nearby (see here).

If you are able to attend please click here to register online or contact Claire Toner.

CCBS focuses on the Border Economy at Meeting of Enterprise Committees from North and South

CCBS was invited to speak on the border economy at a meeting of the Oireacthas Joint Committee for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, which took place in the Senate Chamber at Parliament Buildings on 3rd November. CCBS Director, Ruth Taillon and Research & Policy Manager, Anthony Soares, were joined by independent economist, Philip McDonagh and Padraic White, Chair of the Border Development Corridor Steering Group. The CCBS team emphasised the urgent need for specific focus to be given by both governments to the border region in order to avoid the risk of regional disparities increasing as the economies on both sides of the border appear to show signs of recovery. Underlying structural deficiencies were highlighted, including insufficient access to broadband and lack of transport connectivity. The Senators, TDs and MLAs present actively explored with the CCBS team the issues it raised and noted the concerns it brought to their attention, as well as the initiatives CCBS are involved in to address them, such as the Solidarity Charter for the Economic Revitalisation of the Irish Border Corridor.

Click here to view a copy of the CCBS’s written submission.

Read more on the NI Assembly website here

CCBS at NWRCBG/ICBAN/EBR Joint Conference

CCBS at NWRCBG/ICBAN/EBR Joint Conference

CCBS Research & Policy Manager, Anthony Soares, spoke at the joint conference organised by the North West Region Cross Border Group, the Irish Central Border Area Network, and the East Border Region, which took place in Buncrana on 2nd of October. The conference, entitled “Cross-Border Connections”, focused on strategies to bring local authorities to the forefront of cross-border collaboration and partnership. Whilst Anthony spoke on the importance to cross-border cooperation of a regional dimension and the principles of subsidiarity and partnership, Professor Greg Lloyd spoke of some of the challenges to local authority collaboration, and Padraic White, Chair of the Border Development Corridor Steering Group, presented the draft Solidarity Charter for the Economic Revitalisation of the Irish Border Corridor. Mr Joe McHugh, Ireland’s Minister of State for the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and for the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources, as well as Northern Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Mark H. Durkan, were after-dinner speakers at the conference.

Click here to view Anthony’s presentation.

CCBS in Brussels

Left to Right: Anne Thevenet, Hynek Böhm, Ruth Taillon and Marek Olszewski

Ruth Taillon, Annmarie O’Kane and Anthony Soares were representing CCBS in Brussels on the 7th and 8th of October in a series of events and meetings, coinciding with the EU Open Days Week.

Annmarie led a meeting with colleagues in the European Citizens Action Service. The CCBS team met with Assya Kavrakova the Director of the European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) and her colleague Vera Soldanova, EU Rights Manager to discuss current collaboration between the Border People project and the My Mobility Mentor project and to look at future cooperation between CCBS and ECAS for the future provision of cross-border information provision.

The CCBS team then attended a networking event – Partnership Opportunities with Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland – held in the Northern Ireland Executive Office, and organised by the North West Region Cross-Border Group. On the 8th, Ruth Taillon made a presentation on the work of CCBS as part of an Open Days Workshop centred on the need for capacity-building to support efficient cross-border cooperation, organised by the TEIN network.

Finally, CCBS returned to the Northern Ireland Executive Office to make a presentation of its work, focusing on capacity-building, the Border People project, and its research activities. Among the audience were officials from the Executive Office (who were extremely supportive hosts), representatives from regional authorities, MEP staffers, and Maria-Jose Doval Tedin from the Commission’s European Cross-Border Cooperation Unit. These were two very busy but successful days for CCBS!

NIRSA/ESPON Conference: "Creating the Regions of Tomorrow: Maximising Ireland’s Reform Opportunity"

A joint NIRSA/ESPON conference on reform of regional development policy took place on Friday, 26th September 2014, with delegates from CCBS in attendance.

From the event website:

“The economic crisis and fiscal austerity have hit regional Ireland, outside of the major urban centres, particularly hard. Unemployment and out-migration have all increased, re-exposing the historic disparities which were temporarily masked by the construction bubble. The geography of the nascent economic recovery is further revealing an increasingly ‘two-speed’ Ireland with new employment and investment ever more concentrated in the larger cities competing at a global scale.

While much of the focus has been on prioritising national economic recovery, comparatively little attention has been paid to the uneven spatial and regional dimensions of the crisis. EU Cohesion Funding for 2014-2020, which is worth €1.2 billion to Ireland, together with the government’s ambitious proposals for local government and planning reform represent an important opportunity for Ireland to implement meaningful policies and to frame new governance institutions to counteract unbalanced development and promote regional recovery.

This one-day conference aims to take stock of these developments and will have a specific focus on the spatial aspects of policy implementation, particularly the proposed review of the National Spatial Strategy and the new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies which are to be developed as integrated cross-sectoral policy vehicles for economic development, investment and job creation.

The programme of speakers comprises national and international speakers and will bring together policy actors who will have a key role in shaping Irish regional policy in the years ahead.”

Presentations given at this event can be found here

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