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July 18th, 2006
Mixed Blessings
A Tale of Two Economies

“There were those who once mockingly joked that the only thing the Republic lacked in order to become a Third World country was the climate. Well, they’re not laughing now. It is the Republic which has had the last laugh.” — Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party Deputy Leader Peter Robinson, Belfast, June 23, 2006.

As the world watches the economic transformation in the Republic of Ireland with interest, the inevitable question arises, “What about the other Ireland?” Given a decades-long struggle over the unification of the two Irelands, this question touches a raw nerve, but also raises new hopes as sectarian slogans give way to some new mantras — “Collaborate to Compete” and “North-South Makes Sense.” Can economics do what violence and negotiation have not? Trade and economic ties between the two are growing, as both sides of the border recognize that the other has something to offer. This economic cooperation is only likely to increase as plans to upgrade all-island infrastructure are put into play. Explore various facets of the North-South economic relationship by clicking on the tabs below.

Sources: Central Statistics Office, Democratic Unionist Party, Economic and Social Research Institute, Enterprise Ireland, IntertradeIreland, Microtrade, Social Democratic and Labor Party, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Sinn Féin, The Economist

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