The United Kingdom (UK) Brexit vote of June 2016 has created unprecedented uncertainty in the construction industry in Ireland but little research to date has been undertaken on existing construction trading patterns and the potential effects of regulatory divergence and other non-tariff barriers in Ireland in this context. In response, this study uses mixed methods to fill this gap in knowledge. The experience of nine construction industry interviewees is probed – five based in Northern Ireland (in the UK) and four from Ireland, which will remain in the EU after the UK leaves. The researchers’ analysis of the qualitative data generated themes which were tested through investigation of the 101 eligible responses gathered through an online questionnaire. Our findings demonstrate that the construction trade in Ireland is highly mobile, currently trading extensively North – South and East – West. The physical barrier of the Irish Sea is less of a hindrance to trade than the regulatory barrier of the Irish border. Trade from peripheral areas is drawn to economic centres in Dublin and GB. In the view of the respondents, Brexit will impose further non-tariff barriers, although it is difficult to predict and plan for these barriers.
- Cross-border trade