TJI Director, Rory O'Connell is a member of a research team led by Prof Colin Harvey (Queen's University of Belfast, School of Law) which has just been awarded an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Brexit Priority Grants, for research into the impact and consequences of Brexit in Northern Ireland.
Brexit and Northern Ireland: The Constitutional, Conflict Transformation, Human Rights and Equality Consequences is a collaborative project between leading researchers in Queen's University of Belfast, Ulster University and the Committee on the Administration of Justice.
Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and is the region of the UK most likely to be negatively affected by Brexit. It is now evident that the transformation of constitutional and legal relationships between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Britain flowing from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998 was premised on background assumptions about common membership of the EU.
The UK-wide vote to leave the EU is thus profoundly unsettling for the peace process, and it has already proved constitutionally destabilising in and beyond Northern Ireland.
Professor Harvey, said:
“I am pleased to be working on this collaborative project with colleagues at Queen’s, Ulster University and CAJ. Brexit is challenging many of the fundamentals of constitutional relationships across these islands. This project intends to advance knowledge and understanding as well as provide policy-relevant insights into the constitutional, conflict transformation, human rights and equality consequences."
According to Prof O'Connell
"Brexit is the most significant challenge facing this society since the ending of the conflict itself, raising multiple issues sensitive and complex which will need to be informed by expert research and widespread consultation. I am delighted to participate in this project led by Prof Harvey of Queen's and working closely with the region's leading human rights organisation."
Brian Gormally, Director of CAJ, said
"The implications of Brexit for human rights and our peace process are numerous and significant. This collaborative project will help provide practical and legal solutions directed towards protecting both human rights and our fragile peace settlement."
Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London and Director of the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative, said:
“I’m delighted to welcome such a range of leading scholars to our team. These new additions will reinforce the ability of The UK in a Changing Europe to respond to the high demand for accurate, research-based information from politicians, civil servants, journalists, businesses, civil society and the public at this crucial moment for the UK.”