The pivotal position of the Irish border in the UK's withdrawal from the European Union

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Abstract

This paper shows why the Northern Ireland/Ireland border moved from a marginal to a core concern in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (‘Brexit’). Drawing on longitudinal research on the impact of the EU on the Irish border, and contemporaneous research on the Phase 1 of negotiations of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it explains this case study through three broad themes. First, the impact of EU membership on the transformation of the border and, secondly, the challenges posed by Brexit to the border in practical and symbolic terms. Finally, it analyses how these have been addressed in the call for ‘specific solutions’ to meet the UK’s ambition of ‘avoiding a hard border’ after withdrawal. In so doing, it explores the ways in which the multi-layered complexities of a small, peripheral geographical region came to influence the course of the UK’s most important set of international negotiations for half a century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSpace and Polity
Early online date06 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Brexit
  • Irish Border
  • European Union
  • Northern Ireland
  • Peace process

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