NI Governance

On this page, you will find all the work we are doing relating to governance issues specific to Northern Ireland in the 21st century. Brexit contributes to the current issues in NI governance, but other governance matters - UK-specific or Northern Ireland-specific - are relatively independent of Brexit issues and instead are the consequence of multilevel governance.

Performing Identities: Post-Brexit Northern Ireland and the reshaping of 21st-Century Governance.

The Performing Identities project is being funded by the ESRC Governance After Brexit grant scheme. The project team will spend at least 16 months working on the a set of questions about the effects of Brexit on identity in Northern Ireland, along a new research assistant (Megan Armstrong) and in collaboration with Roots and Wings and the Human Rights Consortium.

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Commentary: Joint Report on Phase 1 of the UK/EU Negotiations.

We published our immediate reaction to the Phase One agreement in the form of an annotated account of the Report. Three key issues are central to understanding how this Report changes the dynamic of Brexit insofar as it impacts on Northern Ireland: they are, first, the categorisation of individuals, second, the difference between EU rights and freedoms, and third, the role of consent in any change to the status of Northern Ireland.

Policy Paper: Northern Ireland and the Brave New World of Brexit.

With October 2017 witnessing the beginning of consideration of amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill and the culmination of efforts to address aspects of Brexit affecting the island of Ireland in Phase 1 of the UK’s withdrawal negotiations, this paper is intended to focus on some of the emerging issues for Northern Ireland as the contours of Brexit become increasingly defined.

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The Common Travel Area: Prospects After Brexit.

Maintaining the Common Travel Area that has existed between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man has been set down by the UK Prime Minister as one of her government’s 12 key negotiating objectives. In this note, some of the functions of the CTA are described, and the possible threats to it from Brexit are explored. It is concluded that the flexibility and informality of the CTA means that while maintaining it in name is relatively easy, changes to its substance are likely. Close scruntiny of any changes to the reciprocal nature and substantive provisions of the CTA are therefore essential to assessing the success of this aspect of the UK government’s negotiations.

“There is no appetite for the return of the fortified border posts which were so emblematic of the Troubles. However, in choosing their words carefully, ministers have sought to reassure the Northern Irish public on the most extreme outcome (the hard border) while neglecting to address the other possible day-to-day impacts which Brexit will have on the island of Ireland.”

The Implications of the Good Friday Agreement for UK Human-Rights Reform.

Speculation is rife as to the impact of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement upon the Conservative Government’s plans to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. In the face of this speculation, the UK’s Conservative Government has provided little detail as to how UK human-rights reform will address the requirement for incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Northern Ireland settlement. We therefore analyse the Agreement as both an international treaty and peace agreement and evaluate its interrelationship with the Human Rights Act and the Northern Ireland Act. Once the hyperbole surrounding the Agreement and its attendant domestic legislation is stripped away, the effects of the 1998 settlement are in some regards more extensive than has to date been recognised, but in other respects are less far-reaching than some of the Human Rights Act’s supporters claim. The picture that emerges from our analysis is of an intricately woven constitution dependent on devolution arrangements, peace agreements, and international relationships.