Liam O'Dowd

Crossing the Border


Liam O'Dowd and John Coakley (Eds)

Crossing the Border: New Relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007.

This timely book provides the first sustained examination of cross-border relationships since the momentous sequence of events that began with the Good Friday agreement of 1998. It looks at changing patterns of North-South relations in three broad domains: politics and public administration, the economy, and civil society. Specific topics covered include the cross-border implementation bodies, the island economy, the voluntary sector, education, health, planning, public policy and the EU. The book draws on findings from a two-year research project embracing a large, multi-disciplinary team based in Dublin, Belfast, Dundalk and Armagh. The book also sets recent changes in perspective, outlining the evolution of cross-border relationships between partition in 1920 and the recent comprehensive settlement, and exploring the extent to which leaders North and South remained in denial about the evolving impact and implications of the border until the closing decades of the 20th century. The authors demonstrate how the search for a settlement in Northern Ireland has created a new dynamic in cross-border relationships, underlining the critical importance of these relationships in sustaining the peace process. In a trenchant assessment of future prospects, the book stresses the extent to which new North-South relationships have been dependent on external funding from the EU and the USA. It argues that the diminution of these funds potentially threatens the sustainability of successful cross-border programmes, putting the onus on the two governments to develop a more coherent and strategic approach to cross-border co-operation. Crossing the border is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the island of Ireland in the twenty first century, for all those actively committed to consolidating peace in the island, and, in particular, for the wide range of policy makers and activists seeking to forge a new and mutually beneficial relationship between the two Irelands.

Political Geography


Liam O'Dowd and John Coakley (Eds)

Irish Borders

Special Issue of Political Geography, vol. 26 (8), 2007.

Recent Select Publications

McCall, C. and L.O’Dowd (2008) ‘Hanging Baskets, Blowing in the Wind: Third Sector Groups, Cross-Border Partnerships and the EU Peace Programme in Ireland’,  Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 14 (1) pp.29-54.

L’Estrange, S. and L.O’Dowd (2008)  ‘Structures and Narratives of Border Change: Perspectives from North America, Europe and the Middle East’,  Journal of Borderland Studies  26 (1) pp.1-12.

O’Dowd, L. and McCall, C. (2008) ‘Escaping the Cage of Ethno-National Conflict in Northern Ireland: The Importance of Transnational Networks’, Ethnopolitics 7 (1)  pp.81-100

Anderson, J. and O’Dowd, L. (2007) 'Imperialism and Nationalism: The Home Rule Struggle and Border Creation in Ireland, 1885-1925’,  Political Geography, 26 (8), pp.934-950.

 O’Dowd, L. and Coakely, J. (2007)‘The Transformation of the Irish Border’, Political Geography, 26 (8), pp. 877-885.