Brexit and the Future of Northern Ireland

Federico Fabbrini (ed), The Law & Politics of Brexit, Oxford University Press, 2017, ISBN 9780198810438

DCU Brexit Institute - Working paper N. 1 - 2017

21 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018 Last revised: 9 Feb 2018

See all articles by John Doyle

John Doyle

Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, Dublin City University

Eileen Connolly

Ireland India Institute, Dublin City University

Date Written: June 12, 2017

Abstract

The paper examines Brexit and the Northern Ireland question, arguing that the withdrawal of the UK from the EU creates tremendous difficulties for the region. As the paper explains, the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is the only physical frontier between the EU and the UK, and the introduction of a hard border would have huge impact: first, on free movement of goods, with implications for the economy; second on free movement of people, with effect on the Common Travel Area which has existed there since the 1920s; and thirdly on the peace process, potentially threatening the endurance of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which put an end to over 40 years of sectarian conflict. As the paper underlines, given the peculiar situation of Northern Ireland, specific solution ought to be identified – and a number of options can be considered. In terms of free movement of goods, the paper points to the Cyprus model, where good produced in Northern Cyprus can enter into Cyprus without custom duties. In terms of free movement of people, it suggests that, given the insular nature of Ireland, immigration controls could be moved into the Irish Sea. And in terms of the peace process, it recommends that the spirit if not the letter of the Good Friday Agreement be preserved, notably by avoiding any symbol of division (such as a hard border) which may catalyze opposition. As the paper concludes, however, both the UK and the EU seem fully cognizant of the sensitivity of the Northern Irish question, which raises some optimism on the possibility of finding a pragmatic solution for the region.

Keywords: Brexit, Northern Ireland, Good Friday Agreement

Suggested Citation

Doyle, John and Connolly, Eileen, Brexit and the Future of Northern Ireland (June 12, 2017). DCU Brexit Institute - Working paper N. 1 - 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3102330

John Doyle (Contact Author)

Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, Dublin City University ( email )

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dublin City University
Dublin 9
Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://iicrr.ie

Eileen Connolly

Ireland India Institute, Dublin City University ( email )

Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://irelandindia.ie

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