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Northern Irish identity post-Brexit

Written by News

Newcastle University is set to lead a research project studying the long-term impact of Brexit on identity in Northern Ireland.

Spearheaded by Newcastle University, and in partnership with the Universities of Durham and Birmingham, the research project funded by the ESRC Innovation Grant will stretch over 18 months.

Even with the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan still ambiguous and needing approval from MPs, it is clear that any result other than staying in the EU will result in some sort of shift on identity in Northern Ireland.

Currently, anyone born in the country is also eligible for an Irish passport thanks to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement of 1997. With Ireland keeping their place in the EU, that would allow those born in Northern Ireland to keep their EU citizenship.

This unique position and complications will be central to the research project, as Colin Murray, Reader at Newcastle Law School, adds:

“The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will require some people living in Northern Ireland to align with new identities, such as becoming a dual national. It also could affect how they identify themselves politically, culturally, or nationally, alongside existing identities shaped by the conflict in Northern Ireland.

“The change in governance arrangements post-Brexit could affect the nature of society, citizenship and governance in Northern Ireland. Understanding if and how this is happening could influence and change ideas of governance in the 21stcentury within and beyond the UK and could ultimately begin to re-shape deeply ingrained conceptions of identity in Northern Ireland.”

Last modified: 11th February 2019

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