Transboundary cooperation is viewed as an essential element of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). While much of the MSP literature focuses on the need for, and benefits of,transboundary MSP, this paper
explores the political and institutional factors that may facilitate the effective transition to such an approach. Drawing on transboundary planning theory and practice, key contextual factors that are likely to expedite the transition to transboundary MSP are reviewed.These include: policy convergence in neighbouring jurisdictions; prior experience of transboundary planning; and good working relations amongst key actors. Based on this review, an assessment of the conditions for transboundary MSP in the adjoining waters of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is undertaken. A number of recommendations are then advanced for transboundary MSP on the island of Ireland, including, the need to address the role of formal transboundary institutions and the lack of an agreed legal maritime
boundary. The paper concludes with some commentary on the political realities of implementing transboundary MSP.