Northern Ireland

NEW Article – ‘Beyond Trade: Implementing the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol’s Human Rights and Equalities Provisions’

PI’s Colin Murray and Clare Rice have shared a working version of their article on the topic of human rights, equality, and the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The peer-reviewed paper, which will be published in its final form in the winter edition of Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly in early 2021, is available to download here.

Keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when the final article is published – @performidentity

Evidence submitted to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: ‘Cross-border co-operation on policing, security and criminal justice after Brexit’ Inquiry

PI’s Colin Murray and Clare Rice have submitted evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee as part of the ‘Cross-border co-operation on policing, security and criminal justice after Brexit’ inquiry.

The submission considers key aspects of cross-border co-operation with particular reference to the potential challenges of Brexit for practicalities of this between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It also considers some specific challenges this is likely to present for policing, security and criminal justice on the island of Ireland and the potential difficulties this will create for Northern Ireland.

The full submission is available to view here:

A Review of Politics in Northern Ireland

A presentation delivered by PI’s Clare Rice examining the last 12 months in Northern Ireland’s politics has been published on the website of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Education Service.

The presentation covers a number of key areas from the last year in Northern Ireland including the 2019 General Election, the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal, Brexit and management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A with questions submitted by A-Level Government and Politics teachers in Northern Ireland. This covered a range of matters, including future Assembly elections, Opposition and the NDNA agreement.

A recording of the full session and a copy of the slides used (with some additional reading suggestions) can be viewed here: https://education.niassembly.gov.uk/video-gallery/review-politics-northern-ireland_october-2020

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

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


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

Blog: ‘EU Citizenship Rights in Northern Ireland’

In a new article published on the UK in a Changing Europe blog, Colin Murray presents an overview of two reports published by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

The first report, authored by Alison Harvey, is entitled ‘A Legal Analysis of Incorporating Into UK Law the Birthright Commitment under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998’ while the second is entitled ‘Continuing EU Citizenship “Rights, Opportunities and Benefits” in Northern Ireland after Brexit’ and was authored by four PI team members (Colin Murray, Sylvia de Mars, Aoife O’Donoghue, Ben Warwick).

This article presents an overview of the key areas covered in these publications, and offers some explanation in the context of the DeSouza case.

This approach is, in itself, generating a rolling crisis in Northern Ireland’s governance, as one cause célèbre gives way to the next and everything seems to remain in flux. It remains to be seen how much of this buffeting Northern Ireland’s unique (and fragile) constitutional order can sustain.

Colin Murray, UK in a Changing Europe, April 2020

The article is available to read in full by clicking here.