Colin Murray

Into the Unknown: Implementing the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

A new article from PI’s Colin Murray and Clare Rice has been published in the Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland.

The paper examines the UK’s approach to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, focusing on pathologies of (mis)government and examining historical approaches to the management of trade between Great Britain and the island of Ireland.

The full journal is publicly available at this link, with Colin and Clare’s paper starting at pg. 17: http://crossborder.ie/site2015/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Final-Digital-Journal-Cross-Border-Studies.pdf

Business as Usual? The Common Travel Area in the Era of COVID-19

PI’s Colin Murray has recently had an article published examining the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Common Travel Area arrangements.

In short, if information sharing is proving difficult to operationalise under the umbrella of EU law, it will be impossible to achieve if provision is not made for its replacement. 

Colin Murray

The article was published on the blog of the Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance, and is available to read here in full.

The UK’s Internal Market Bill

The Internal Market Bill has been a source of much debate since its publication earlier in September 2020. The PI team has been busy analysing this, in real time on the project’s Twitter feed (@performidenty) and in a number of written pieces.

Colin Murray responded to the initial leak of the IMB’s contents ahead of its publication in a piece for the UK in a Changing Europe (available here), while Clare Rice prepared a blog examining the implications of the IMB for Northern Ireland for the DCU Brexit Institute blog (available here).

A short briefing paper on key aspects of the IMB for Northern Ireland is also available to view here on our website.


Follow us @performidentity for all our latest updates and analysis

PI Panel at UACES 2020

The Performing Identities will (virtually) come together on Monday 7th September to lead a panel discussion at the UACES Virtual Conference 2020.

Initially planned to be happening in Belfast, the full conference has now moved to an online platform in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have planned a panel on the theme of Brexit and Northern Ireland, in which each member will outline some key aspects of the work being done within the Performing Identities project.

This will include the presentation of initial findings from interview-based research in Northern Ireland, and overviews of several forthcoming papers not yet in the public domain.

Central to our plans for the session is to provide a forum for informal discussion – on the work of the team, but also more generally on the topics being covered.

As a ‘non-traditional panel’ at the UACES conference, we had ambitious plans for this session in Belfast. While now proceeding in a virtual format, this remains a session not to be missed for anyone interested in Brexit and its impact in Northern Ireland!


Unfortunately, this panel is only open to registered participants of the conference, but we will be tweeting updates on the day from our account – @performidentity


Evidence submitted to the EU International Agreements Sub-Committee: Inquiry on Treaty Scrutiny

Colin Murray and Clare Rice have submitted evidence to the EU International Agreements Sub-Committee as part of the inquiry on Treaty Scrutiny. It outlines that post-Brexit, treaty scrutiny is going to matter more than ever in light of Northern Ireland’s position under the Protocol needing ongoing consideration. The submission focuses mainly on the role of the devolved institutions in this, and suggests some ways in which the scrutiny powers of the UK Parliament can be enhanced.

Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020

PI team members Sylvia de Mars, Colin Murray, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ben Warwick have submitted evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights with regard to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020.

This submission focuses on Clause 2 of the bill, which relates to Irish citizens. In particular, it is highlighted that the omission within the Explanatory Notes of all reference to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement (GFA) is concerning.

Evidence submitted to the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

PI’s Colin Murray and Clare Rice have submitted evidence to the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union as part of the ‘Progress of the negotiations on the UK’s Future Relationship with the EU’ Inquiry.

This document comprises of 4 elements:

  • Negotiation priorities
  • Interpretation and implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • The role of the Joint Committee and the Specialised Committee on Northern Ireland
  • Specific constitutional considerations for Northern Ireland

Blog: Implementing the NI Protocol

Following the publication of the UK’s Command Paper on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, our team prepared several pieces of analysis.

Aoife O’Donoghue prepared an article for the DCU Brexit Institute Blog – ‘The UK’s Approach to Implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol‘ – which highlighted absences of detail in the document, reaching a conclusion that ‘this is unlikely to be the basis on which the EU will accept the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.’

Colin Murray, also writing for the DCU Brexit Institute Blog, highlights ambiguities between the UK’s position and the commitments already signed up to in the Withdrawal Agreement. In Front-Foot Negotiations: The UK’s Proposed Implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol it is argued that the document exposes the UK’s weak position in the discussions, and that rather than bravado, a more realistic approach is necessitated.

Clare Rice prepared an article for The UK in a Changing Europe – ‘A road to nowhere? The UK’s approach to implementing the NI Protocol.’ This piece explored the potential intent behind the position the UK outlined on implementing the NI Protocol. It suggests the Command Paper indicates that Northern Ireland will likely become collateral damage as a consequence of political ambitions beyond its control.


For further analysis and immediate responses to developments as they happen, check out our Twitter – @performidentity


REPORT: ‘Continuing EU Citizenship “Rights, Opportunities and Benefits” in Northern Ireland after Brexit’

Four of PI’s team members – Colin Murray, Sylvia de Mars, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ben Warwick – have prepared one of two reports for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, examining challenges to citizenship rights in the context of Brexit.

Brexit therefore creates the potential for new and more extreme gaps in the rights and protections available to different groups of people living within Northern Ireland.

This report highlights a number of pre-existing complexities with regard to citizenship laws in Northern Ireland and examines the specific challenges these give rise to in the context of Brexit. A number of recommendations are made as to how these can be addressed.

The full report is available to download here: https://www.nihrc.org/publication/detail/continuing-eu-citizenship-rights-opportunities-and-benefits-in-northern-ireland-after-brexit