‘It ain’t easy being green’: Sustainable Development between Environment and Economy in Northern Ireland’

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Given the relative lack of research on sustainable development in Northern Ireland, this paper focuses on the tensions between environmental governance and regulation on the one hand, and the ‘post-conflict’ imperative for Northern Ireland to compete and grow as a regional economy without continued British state subvention and subsidisation. The paper outlines how this ‘trade-off’ between ‘environment’ and ‘economy’ is essentially misplaced. It argues that this trade-off can be avoided if there is a shift in focus from an ‘environment versus the economy’ policy position to one in which the ‘triple bottom line’ (social, economic and environmental) of sustainable development becomes the over-arching policy agenda. Sustainable development, unlike either orthodox environmental or economic policy, also connects centrally with the unique ‘post-conflict transformation’ agenda of Northern Ireland. For example, promoting a human rights civic culture, tackling socioeconomic inequality and social exclusion, and building a shared future based on supporting sustainable communities and an innovative model of a ‘green(ing) economy’ goes beyond orthodox economic growth. However, it is clear from the Executive’s Programme for Government, failure to support the creation of an independent Environment Protection Agency, and above all the prioritisation of orthodox economic growth based on foreign direct investment that neither environmental protection nor sustainable development is or will be high on the political or policy agenda in Northern Ireland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-56
    Number of pages12
    JournalIrish Political Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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