The Business of Building Peace: Private Sector Cooperation across the Irish Border

Katy Hayward, Eoin Magennis

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The sustainability of cross-border peacebuilding initiatives is increasingly pertinent in a context of reduced public funding (national and European), yet the potential contribution to be made to this from private sector cooperation remains under-explored. This paper brings together quantitative data on cross-border trade with qualitative evidence from business leaders in the Irish border region in order to examine the nature of cross-border cooperation within the private sector and its possible connections to peacebuilding. This evidence is analysed in the light of three theses: spillover, contact and business-based peacebuilding. The first part of this paper assesses the conditions for cross-border business cooperation in Ireland, including funding support for economic development, European integration, and (post-Agreement) institutional change. The second part examines the particular contributions made by the private sector to peace, centring upon consciously non-political motivations (such as pragmatism and profit), networking and leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-175
Number of pages22
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number1
Early online date06 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • 1998 Agreement, business, cross-border, economic development, peacebuilding, private sector


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