Employers group Ibec and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) have launched what they say is a major research project on the economy of all islands aimed at improving understanding of the economy of all islands. the islands, including North-South trade.
The three-year project will include engagement with the UK’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to address the lack of a data-driven statistical macroeconomic model for Northern Ireland, similar to what is currently available for Ireland and the UK.
The plan includes the production of what is described as a series of other micro-policy analysis papers, including examining the impact of Brexit on cross-border trade on the island.
Ibec said the plan is to improve the ability of forecasting exercises for Northern Ireland’s economy as well as the ability to assess the likely impact of events and policy measures on an economy across l ‘Isle.
“The adoption of evidence-based policies that protect the competitiveness of all islands’ economy and trade will be crucial to weathering an exceptionally volatile external environment and ensuring its long-term prosperity,” Ibec said in a statement. .
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said the project will play an important role in the future development of the economy of the whole island.
“This research can contribute constructively to ensure that evidence-based policies are at the heart of the Shared Island Partnership approach to connectivity, sustainability and prosperity,” he said.
Brexit has already brought about significant changes to Irish trade, increasing cross-border trade and altering established trade routes on Irish sea routes, including more goods from the Republic passing through Northern Ireland ports to reach markets UK and more direct crossings to the continent while the volume of goods passing through Dublin Port is declining.
ESRI CEO Alan Barrett said ESRI’s toolkit for analyzing the Irish economy has been refined over 40 years to assess the impacts of economic policies and events, and the plan is now to expand knowledge of the economy of Northern Ireland and its links to Ireland. and the rest of the UK.
NIESR Director Jagjit Chadha said he was already working to better understand economic developments at the level of UK regions and the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The special circumstances that Northern Ireland faces with its links to Ireland will present our modellers with significant challenges, but with the support of our friends at ESRI and Ibec, our London-based team will appreciate this new project.”
The new research project is likely to overlap with the Shared Island Unit set up last year in the Taoiseach department to work on projects that can help improve cross-border relations which until now , include the Ulster Canal and a Sligo-Enniskillen Greenway, as well as funding a study of the island-wide rail network.