Greater alignment on FDI may boost all-island economy

Research papers to examine opportunities for further co-operation

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “This collaboration with the ESRI will produce research outputs across a range of areas this year.” File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “This collaboration with the ESRI will produce research outputs across a range of areas this year.” File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The potential benefits of developing “sectoral ecosystems” on the island of Ireland to attract foreign investment in the wake of Brexit is to be examined by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the newly formed Shared Island unit, which is run out of the Department of the Taoiseach.

Both groups are collaborating on a series of research projects, examining the opportunity for greater alignment between Northern Ireland and the Republic in several areas, including services, foreign direct investment (FDI), health and education.

They published a series of scoping papers on Monday, setting out the parameters of the research being undertaken. The full research papers will be published later this year.

One will consider the potential for greater alignment on FDI. It noted that Northern Ireland’s continued access to the EU single market for goods could be an opportunity for “mutually beneficial co-operation”.

Benefits

It said economies of scale (critical mass) and economies of scope (knowledge complementarities) have been identified as important drivers of cross-Border co-operation.

It also highlighted the potential benefits of developing sectoral ecosystems on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland has been successful in attracting high-value FDI in software development, aerospace and telecommunications, while the Republic has been successful in attracting FDI in financial services, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

“This collaboration with the ESRI will produce research outputs across a range of areas this year, which will contribute to the conversation about how we can work together across this island, taking up the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin said.

The ESRI’s Alan Barrett said: “We live on an island where we have two systems to deliver social services, such as health and education. This creates a great opportunity to learn about what works best for our citizens.”