On Wednesday 26th October 2016 CCBS director Ruth Taillon was delighted to welcome a very special visitor to the Centre, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan. His visit focused on the activities of the Border People project (www.borderpeople.info) which provides practical cross-border information to people crossing the border to live, work, study or retire.
The project was recently supported by the DFAT Reconciliation Fund and the Minister was pleased to hear of the support provided to citizens and to the citizens’ advice sectors in both jurisdictions.
Potential complications for citizens on the island when the UK leaves the EU were also discussed at the meeting. To date citizens on this island have enjoyed many benefits of EU membership including opportunities to work, live, study, shop and receive health care across the border. The continuation of these benefits will be unknown until UK negotiations are complete but whatever the outcome the Minster heard of Border People’s intention to provide clear and practical support to citizens and the advice sectors through these changing times.
Due to the high prevalence of cross-border mobility in this region the Border People project anticipates a very busy period once Article 50 is triggered in early 2017.
The Border People project is managed by the Centre for Cross Border Studies in partnership with the North South Ministerial Council. Launched in 2007 as an online information portal to provide citizens with cross-border mobility information, the project has developed in response to an ever growing demand for information from citizens and from the Advice Sectors in both jurisdictions.
The key elements of the project include:
- Online citizens Information www.borderpeople.info
- Email and telephone support to the Advice sectors
- Research and analysis
- Advice sector training
- Co-ordination of stakeholders
Border People fosters collaboration between government departments, agencies and the advice sectors who comprise the project advisory group:
- North South Ministerial Council, Joint Secretariat
- Citizens Information Board (Ireland)
- Citizens Advice (Northern Ireland)
- EU International Section of the Department of Social Protection (Ireland)
- NI Social Security Agency / Department of Social Development (Northern Ireland)
- EURES Cross Border Partnership
- Law Centre NI