Cross Border Cooperation Health in Ireland

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Providing healthcare services commands the largest allocation of public
funding on both sides of the Irish border and concerns over the efficiency and
effectiveness of these systems are perennial. Over the past two decades health
has been identified as a key area for cross-border collaboration. However, in
the absence of an overarching framework or strategy, there is little clarity
about objectives. Using the responses to the Covid-19 pandemic as a case
study it demonstrates that even in the face of an existential crisis, political
leaders default to debates over culture and identity. The paper sets out how
the healthcare systems in the two jurisdictions share similar core principles
and values and face similar social, economic and political pressures. They have adopted broadly comparable approaches to tackling systemic issues,
such as an ageing and growing population, evolving healthcare needs, workforce planning and financial pressures. It argues that there is potential for
greater cross-border cooperation but this requires high-level political agreement and must be based on robust evidence. As this paper shows, there are significant barriers to developing all-island approaches, but these are not
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-136
Number of pages20
JournalIrish Studies in International Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Since 1995 the region has received PEACE IV funding designed to support peace and reconciliation, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) since its establishment under strand two of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In the most recent round, PEACE IV invested €270m, €229m of which is provided through the European Regional Development Fund, and the remaining €41m is match-funded by the Irish Government and the NI Executive. The region has also been in receipt of INTERREG funding since 1991, representing an investment of approximately €1.13 billion in territorial cooperation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Royal Irish Academy. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Royal Irish Academy. All rights reserved.


  • cross border
  • health
  • ireland


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