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Northern Ireland After Brexit


Northern Ireland has played a prominent role in debates around Brexit. Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom has been long been unique, subject to specific governance arrangements as a result of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998. The operation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, however, points towards it becoming an increasingly complex constitutional space. Although Northern Ireland remains within the UK, the consequences of the Withdrawal Agreement are that, for some purposes, it remains subject to the operation of EU law.

Our research both assesses these changes and works to inform the public and policy makers about the challenges involved in making these special post Brexit arrangements work. This work promotes a better understanding of the complexity of contemporary governance arrangements in the UK, Ireland and the EU and of what Brexit means for Northern Ireland.

Research Questions

What does Brexit mean for trade rules between Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and the EU?

How has Brexit shaped the rights and equalities protections operative within Northern Ireland?

Have the institutional arrangements established to manage Brexit enabled Northern Ireland to have a voice in decision making?



de Mars S, O'Donoghue A. Law and Scale: Lessons from Northern Ireland and BrexitLegal Studies 2024.

Murray C. Northern Ireland’s Post-Brexit Governance Crisis: What to do when the Post-1998 Centre Cannot HoldNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly 2024.

de Mars S. A Little Less Liable? Enforcing Post-Brexit EU Law in the UKEuropean Law Review 2023.

Deb A, Murray C. Article 2 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol: a new frontier in human rights law?European Human Rights Law Review 2023, (6), 608-625.

de Mars S, O'Brien C. Inevitably Diminished: Rights of Frontier Workers in Northern Ireland after BrexitNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly 2022.


This research continues the work of the major ESRC-funded Performing Identities project: