Introduction to Special Issue: Creating Spaces for Cooperation: Crossing Borders and Boundaries before and after Brexit

Cormac Walsh, Gavan Rafferty


No abstract but Introduction which starts with...

Brexit is undoubtedly a geographical question and one with profound implications for the UK, Ireland, Europe and, perhaps most critically, North-South relations on the island of Ireland. The prospect of a hard border places at risk the goodwill and ease of access that have provided the basis for cross-border cooperation over the last two decades (Hayward, 2017). In the period since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA), the island of Ireland has slowly emerged as a coherent functional space with extensive effort gone into the development of shared cross-border spaces for cooperation at community, local authority, regional and inter-jurisdictional levels (Coakley and O’Dowd, 2007; Walsh, 2015; Rafferty and Blair, this issue). Prevalent zero-sum mentalities of competing territorial claims and mutually exclusive socio-spatial imaginaries have slowly given way to new spatial logics, focussed on the island of Ireland and/or cross-border region as a functional space (O’Dowd and McCall, 2008, 86; McCall, 2011).


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