Northern Ireland: Demographics and Divisions

Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 19/2021

20 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022

See all articles by Katy Hayward

Katy Hayward

Queen’s University Belfast

Date Written: December 6, 2021


This paper explains the relevance of EU membership to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement before moving to examine what the consequences of the UK exit process have been for Northern Ireland, particularly in terms of societal and political divisions. The paper considers evidence for this during four different periods of time. The first period is from the 2016 referendum itself. The second period is that of the negotiations over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The third is that of the transition period, during which the TCA was negotiated and the Protocol was to be rolled out. The final period is the first year of the implementation of the Protocol (2021). Each period has been characterised by a reinvigoration of political divisions in Northern Ireland, albeit in different ways. The paper considers the relevance of the Protocol to the future of Northern Ireland as connected to these competing constitutional aspirations.

Keywords: Belfast/ Good Friday Agreement, Brexit, Northern Ireland, Protocol on Ireland/ Northern Ireland, Withdrawal Agreement

Suggested Citation

Hayward, Katy, Northern Ireland: Demographics and Divisions (December 6, 2021). Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 19/2021, Available at SSRN: or

Katy Hayward (Contact Author)

Queen’s University Belfast ( email )

United Kingdom

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics