Our History

Our History

Who We Are

Key dates in our History

Formerly known Co-operation North, Co-operation Ireland was founded in 1979 by Dr. Brendan O’Regan. It was set up to improve North-South co-operation and in particular the economic links between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Since then, Co-operation Ireland has undertaken some remarkable and inspiring activities and has worked with hundreds of thousands of people.

This timeline records some of our most significant moments, activities and work over the past 40 years.

1979 Co-operation North founded
1980 Co-operation Ireland begins a series of publications on North – South Research
1981 Co-operation Ireland USA founded
1982 The Belfast office opens
1983 Co-operation North launched 15 innovative cross border projects launched
1984 Maracycle introduced – organised over 3 days, 1500 cyclists complete the return journey between Belfast and Dublin
1986 Cross border Youth and Schools programmes introduced
1987 The Co-operation North Innovation Awards presented at the European Technology Entrepreneurs Programme Venture Market
1989 Co-operation North host North South economic co-operation conferences
1991 Media programme for journalists introduced
1992 Exchanges Programme introduced after the evaluation of Co-operation North’s Schools and Youth Programme
1995 Her Majesty The Queen and President Mary Robinson become Co-operation North’s joint patrons
1996 Co-operation North awarded contract to deliver a key cross-border element of the European Union Peace Programme.
1997 Following her election as President of Ireland, Mary McAleese becomes Joint Patron
1998 Co-operation North changes its name to Co-operation Ireland after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement
1999 Cross Border Civic Link education programme launched. 30 second level schools and youth clubs participated until 2010.
2000 A Gala Concert for Peace at Royal Albert Hall, London in support of Co-operation Ireland, with headline artists including The Corrs, the Saw Doctors and B*witched participating
2001 Co-operation Ireland awarded contract for delivery of EU Peace II Programme. The annual Student Journalism Conference introduced
2002 The Local Authority All-Island Steering Forum established to encourage strategic sustainable approach to cross-border relationships
2003 All-Island Pride of Place Competition introduced
2004 Co-operation Ireland awarded contract for delivery of EU Interreg IIIA Programme. Senator George Mitchell receives Co-operation Ireland Peace Award
2005 Her Majesty The Queen and President Mary McAleese attend celebratory dinner in Crosby Hall, London to mark Co-operation Ireland’s 25th anniversary
2006 Arts-Link Programme introduced
2009 Co-operation Ireland celebrates its 30th anniversary. Joint Patrons Her Majesty The Queen and President McAleese attend a reception for more than 500 people who have been involved in Co-operation Ireland’s work. The annual All-Island School Choir Competition begins. The Youth Leadership Programme introduced
2012 Co-operation Ireland awarded contract to deliver the National Citizen Service Programme in Northern Ireland. Co-operation Ireland facilitates the handshake between Her Majesty The Queen and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
2013 Her Majesty The Queen singles out Co-operation Ireland in her state banquet speech during the State Visit of President Michael D Higgins to Great Britain
2014 Co-operation Ireland celebrates its 35th anniversary
2016 Queen Elizabeth is presented with a portrait by Colin Davidson at a Co-operation Ireland event in Crosby Hall attended by First Minster Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
2018 His Highness Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle attend Co-operation Ireland’s Amazing the Space event at the former Maze/Long Kesh site to support cross community peace building.
2018 President of Ireland Michael D Higgins addresses Co-operation Ireland dinner to honour the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland football teams ahead of their November friendly in Dublin.
2019 Co-operation Ireland celebrates 40 years of peace building.
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