State Papers

State Papers: Dublin to Belfast 'economic corridor' floated in 1992

Sir George Quigley. Picture by Arthur Allison
Dr Éamon Phoenix

DISCUSSIONS of a proposal by the former senior Stormont civil servant and chairman of the Ulster Bank, Sir George Quigley, for "an all-island economy" are included among official files which have been disclosed.

 

The speech was given at a meeting of the Confederation of Irish Industry in Dublin on February 28, 1992.

In a memo in response, dated March 6 that year a Northern Ireland Office official informed the then Secretary of State Peter Brooke that Quigley’s central idea was that "given the imminence of the Single Market and worldwide economic trends, the island of Ireland must move towards functioning as a single economy".

Sir George had identified the conditions necessary for the development of the "island market", including improved physical communication and better information about the supply and demand for goods and services in both parts of the island.

This mirrored matters discussed at the Inter-governmental Conference on March 6 1992.

 

The official informed Mr Brooke that two aspects of Quigley’s paper had broken new ground: the first was the proposal that, in its economic programme, the European community should treat the island as a single entity and create "a special budget aimed at the promotion of a vigorous island economy". The second was his proposal for the creation of a Belfast-Dublin ‘economic corridor’.

However, the official told the Secretary of State to react cautiously as Quigley’s suggestions had already drawn negative reaction from unionist politicians.

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