25 Years On – Doubling Down On The Good Friday Agreement

Mark O’Connell | 10 Mar 2023 | UK and Ireland Perspective

OCO analysis shows how the          Good Friday Agreement has changed Northern Ireland for the better…        but the best is yet to come

Good Friday 1998 was a momentous day for Northern Ireland. The signing of an agreement that marked the beginning of a journey to end 30 years of conflict.  A few years later I set up OCO Global in 2001, and there was a palpable sense of business confidence that as a region Northern Ireland was about to take off economically. In this new report I look back on how the Good Friday Agreement has changed Northern Ireland across four pillars:

  • Investment – more jobs created by international companies, and nearly £3bn property investment shows Northern Ireland has become an attractive location for investors
  • Tourism – a phenomenal success story with overseas visitors tripling in 25 years, supported in a flotilla of cruise ships sailing up Belfast Lough
  • Economy – exports have more than doubled since 1998, and GDP per capita has grown faster than most regions in the UK
  • Liveability – demographic and lifestyle factors indicate a healthier, more diverse population.


Doubling Down on the Agreement

I’ve also looked forward to what the future might hold. Dual access to the UK and the EU Single Market places Northern Ireland in a unique position, and now is the time to double down on the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement.

If we can embrace and exploit the opportunity, there is the potential to grow the economy by 50% in ten years, create another 33,000 jobs through foreign direct investment, and welcome nearly 6 million visitors a year.

If you are interested in finding out more about this historical analysis and my thoughts on the future, you can read the report HERE.

To register interest in a webinar to discuss the findings of our analysis in more detail and what the future of the Northern Ireland Economy looks like, click HERE.