The Good Friday Agreement’s creation of an ‘all-Ireland’ economy: A story of understated success

The Good Friday Agreement, signed on April 10, 1998, opened doors for collaboration between businesses across the Irish border and led to the emergence of an “all-island economy.”

Even after a quarter of a century, shared economic ties remain an essential source of partnership between north and south.

Once a significant symbol of Ireland’s turbulent past, Crumlin Road Gaol, a prison northwest of Belfast, housed murderers, thieves, and some of the most prominent figures of Ireland’s “The Troubles” era.

The prison, which had a 170-year history and closed its gates two years before the signing of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, is now a museum and event space that attracts tourists.

Irish whiskey and tourism have emerged as all-Ireland brands working on a global scale to drive profit.

The concept of a single island product is beguiling as logistics-wise, north-south supply chains see millions of litres of whiskey cross the border to be matured, blended and bottled by businesses on the other side.

After 25 years of peace, economic links forging between communities have had their impact as a vital avenue for alternative, non-ethnic ways of doing politics.

While Brexit changed the dynamic to some extent, cooperation between the two countries may have natural limitations, but there is still room for cross-border businesses to increase, particularly in the service industries.

Peace and certainty should mean that the all-island economy continues to be the quiet success story for the next 25 years.

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