At a special event hosted by the Northern Ireland office in Brussels on March 2, 2011, the local authorities from Newry and Mourne District Council, Louth County Council, Drogheda Borough Council, Dundalk Town Council and Adree Town Council signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in a number of thematic areas including; emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, sustainable economic growth and job creation. There was a local launch of the agreement on 7 April 2011 at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk.
The agreement, developed with the assistance of ICLRD, is seen by EU officials as a best practice and an important new instrument to build cooperation among the involved councils. An ICLRD report commissioned by the Councils outlines the options for this strategic alliance and the final memorandum: Developing a Strategic Alliance between Newry and Mourne District Council and Louth Local Authorities–Background Report. The report provides cases studies and explores different legal instruments for cross-border cooperation that can be useful for other local authorities.
Support from central government authorities in Dublin (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government) and Belfast (Department for Regional Development) were also important in reaching this agreement. The North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretaries, Mary Bunting and Anne Barrington welcomed the launch of the Memorandum of Understanding:
“This is a very positive development and an excellent example of practical, mutually beneficial cross border co-operation. The four themes for co-operation have a direct impact for the people of Newry and Mourne and Louth at a time of constraint on resources. It makes sense to co-operate and where practical to share resources for the benefit of the whole region”.