Northern Ireland

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The twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement has been overshadowed by questions concerning the Irish border and the relationship between the North and South of Ireland in the wake of Brexit. Patrick Utz reflects on the volatile relationship between Northern Ireland’s communities and European integration.

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The Irish border has proved to be one of the most intractable aspects of Brexit, says Michael Keating, and the proposals put forward by the UK Government show little signs of being endorsed by Dublin or, as a result, Brussels. 
 
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The current compromise on the border issue between Northern Ireland and the Republic relies on a subsequent technocratic fix, which, says Michael Keating,  provides ample material for arguments in the course of the next round of negotiations. 
 
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The challenges presented by an international border on the island of Ireland has been highlighted as a key challenge in Brexit negotiations but, says Prof Janice Morphett, a solution may already exist in the shape of European Groupings for Territorial Cooperation (EGTCs).
 
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Mary C. Murphy, University College Cork, urges caution in linking Northern Ireland support for remaining in the EU with growing support for a united Ireland.

In 1998, the Northern Ireland electorate voted in a historic referendum to support the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. The Agreement was reached following multi-party talks and was an integral part of the Northern Ireland peace process. Turnout for the referendum was 81%. Of those who voted, 71% voted in support of the Agreement.

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  • 18th May 2018

    Different political actors have responded to the decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold its consent for the UK Government’s showpiece EU (Withdrawal) Bill in very different ways. Prof Nicola McEwen sifts the facts from the hyperbole and explains where we are and where we go from here.

  • 15th May 2018

    On 8 May the UK’s House of Lords passed an amendment to require the House of Commons to vote on remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA), the possibility of Britain adopting the so-called ‘Norway model’ is back on the agenda of British politics. Here the authors of Squaring the Circle on Brexit: Could the Norway Model Work?, John Erik Fossum and Hans Petter Graver, give some background to Norway’s relationship with the European Union and reveal the truth behind some common myths about the Norway model.

  • 4th May 2018

    The Sewel Convention has historically worked well, says Michael Keating, but Brexit will put it to the test.

  • 3rd May 2018

    Amendments to controversial Clause 11 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill were agreed in the House of Lords yesterday evening, following a deal between the UK and Welsh governments last week. Jack Sheldon and Mike Kenny explain the significance of this agreement for the UK as a whole and outline a number of unresolved issues it raises.

  • 2nd May 2018

    The hesitant progress of Brexit legislation through Westminster has provided parliament with an opportunity to show its teeth and, says Tobias Lock, it demonstrates that the legislature has bite as well as bark.

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