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

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


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.

Blog: ‘Governance in Northern Ireland: Learning from the ‘Cash for Ash’ Scandal

In a new article, written for the Political Studies Association (PSA) Blog, Clare Rice examines the fallout from the Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Inquiry and considers the implications of the Report’s recommendations for governance in Northern Ireland.

“The #CashforAsh scandal contributed to the unravelling of a complex political web which ultimately saw the collapse of political institutions and three years without a government.”

The full article is available to read here: https://www.psa.ac.uk/psa/news/governance-northern-ireland-learning-cash-ash-scandal

Evidence to Lords EU Select Committee

Colin Murray and Sylvia de Mars attended a meeting of the European Union Select Committee in the House of Lords on 11th February 2020, to give evidence on the revised Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol. Completing the panel was David Henig, called to share his expertise on trade.

Colin and Sylvia addressed a range of issues pertinent to the work of the Committee, drawing on their expert knowledge of EU law, UK constitutional law and the particularities of the situation in Northern Ireland.

This informative session was followed keenly by experts across the UK, not least in Northern Ireland (see this thread from BBC NI’s Economics and Business Editor, John Campbell), as the complexities that will need to be addressed by the end of 2020 were made unequivocally clear.

The full meeting is available to watch by following this link – https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/006d7a57-9cd7-474b-96ea-0773023c0582#player-tabs/p>

Alternatively, the Performing Identities Twitter account (@performidentity) will be sharing short clips from the meeting over the coming days along with some bite-size analysis and insight.

Blog: Northern Ireland’s ‘New Approach’ in a Decade of Uncertainty

What has changed since the 2019 General Election, and what does Brexit mean for the new deal that has been reached in Northern Ireland?

PI team member, Clare Rice, considers these questions in a new article published on the DCU Brexit Institute blog – available to read here: http://dcubrexitinstitute.eu/2020/01/northern-irelands-new-approach-in-a-decade-of-uncertainty/

General Election 2019 Coverage and Analysis

The PI team have been busy in the lead up to the General Election and in the days since, offering insight and analysis across a range of platforms.

Professor O’Donoghue has appeared on BFM Radio Malaysia and Today FM (Ireland).

Clare Rice has been involved in BBC coverage, appearing on Inside Politics, Sunday Politics, Good Morning Ulster, Evening Extra, Newsline, Newsnight, and the BBC News Channel.

Follow us on Twitter (@performidentity) for all the latest updates and links to catch up on our analyses!

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

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.

Internal Market Bill

The publication of the Internal Market Bill (IMB) on 9th September 2020 sparked widespread concern about the UK’s commitment to upholding the Withdrawal Agreement reached in 2019.

This short summary provides some initial analysis of key aspects of the IMB relevant to Northern Ireland.

For rolling analysis of developments and for updates on further output from the team on this, keep an eye on the PI Twitter account @performidentity

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


NEW: ‘EU Law in the UK’

We are delighted to share that PI team member, Sylvia de Mars, has published a new book.

‘EU Law in the UK’ is the first textbook to be published in the field since Brexit. It examines the institutional and substantive elements of EU law, considering them in terms of Brexit and the potential implications of this for UK law.

“It takes a uniquely contextual approach designed to enliven the learning experience, support understanding, and help students appreciate the relevance and impact of EU law.”

Oxford University Press

A phenomenal achievement in the context of the fast pace of change over recent years. Congratulations, Sylvia!

Copies of the book can be purchased online here or from most book retailers.