Ireland: Brexit Developments and Debates

Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 4/2022

16 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2022

See all articles by Oran Doyle

Oran Doyle

Trinity College (Dublin); Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS)

Date Written: March 28, 2022


Ireland, as the closest neighbour of the United Kingdom, was peculiarly affected by the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union. Lengthy disagreements over the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol have, however, somewhat obscured two significant issues related to Ireland’s place in the EU that Brexit has occasioned. In April 2017, the European Council decided that if Irish unification should occur, Northern Ireland would become part of the EU without the standard accession process. This raises significant questions for the EU: What interests of the EU would be implicated by Irish unification? Given those interests, when – if at all – should the EU involve itself in discussions about unification? The second somewhat obscured issue concerns how Ireland will function as an EU Member State without the UK. Although EU membership is largely seen as a critical factor in allowing Ireland to disentangle itself both politically and economically from the UK, the two countries worked closely together as Member States. Brexit has therefore changed Ireland’s role in the EU, and unification would change it again.

Keywords: Brexit, constitutional referendums, EU accession, Irish unification, Northern Ireland

Suggested Citation

Doyle, Oran, Ireland: Brexit Developments and Debates (March 28, 2022). Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 4/2022, Available at SSRN: or

Oran Doyle (Contact Author)

Trinity College (Dublin) ( email )

2-3 College Green
Dublin, Leinster D2

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS) ( email )

128 Academia Sinica Rd., Sec. 2
Taipei City, 11529

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics