The EU’s influence on the peace process and agreement in Northern Ireland in light of Brexit

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Hayward, Katy
Murphy, Mary C.
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Taylor and Francis
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The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) has enormous implications for Northern Ireland. All sides to the Brexit negotiations quickly agreed that it was vitally important to protect the peace process and to uphold the 1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement. However, the question of how this was to be done soon became a point over which there were very apparent differences between the two sides; such differences are manifest within Northern Ireland in differing political views regarding European integration and national sovereignty. This paper explores the effects of EU membership on the peace process and the Agreement in light of the Brexit process. It provides an overview of the difficulties and frictions in finding a common approach from Northern Ireland to the EU and explains how this is manifest in the response to the Brexit referendum of June 2016. It concludes by considering some of the ways in which the Agreement itself offers means of navigating some of the more thorny issues arising as a result of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement , Brexit , British-Irish relations , European Union , Northern Ireland
Hayward, K. and Murphy, M. C. (2018) 'The EU’s influence on the peace process and agreement in Northern Ireland in light of Brexit', Ethnopolitics, 17(3), pp. 276–291.
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© 2018, The Editor of Ethnopolitics. Published by Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnopolitics on 5 June 2018, available online: