‘Specific solutions’ & ‘distinct arrangements’: more of the same for post-Brexit NI?

In the space of a few carefully-worded paragraphs, the Joint Report issued by the UK and EU on Friday has managed to utterly transform the prospects for Northern Ireland after Brexit.   The UK-EU Joint Report The UK has offered surety for maintaining an open Irish border, promising to maintain wide-ranging alignment with EU rules covering every aspect of the 1998 Agreement, north/south and east/west. Moreover, it has asserted that Northern Ireland will ultimately have the right to decide for … Read more

The Irish border as a Brexit bargaining chip: A rejoinder to Legatum

The Legatum Institute’s ‘Special Trade Commission’ published a paper this week on the subject of Brexit and what it terms ‘the Irish border issue’. Citizens on the island of Ireland need to take note of this for two main reasons. First, Legatum is one of the most influential think tanks in London on the subject of Brexit at the moment – its views are likely to have traction at the highest levels. And, secondly, it perpetuates egregious views of Northern … Read more

Lessons from the Brexit debacle for our Executive debacle

On 10th April next year, familiar political figures and dignitaries (some with slightly less unscathed reputations than others) will gather in Belfast to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement. Northern Ireland is already in the middle of a veritable feast of commemorations, all of which illustrate the entanglement of its history with major events across these islands and beyond: the 700th anniversary of Edward the Bruce’s campaign, the centenaries of the Easter Rising and the Battle … Read more

Redeeming ‘North-Southery’ from Complacency

Complacency about the peace, about power-sharing, about cross-border cooperation, about, even, EU membership has allowed the unthinkable to happen. Such things that we have cherished and, indeed, brandished around the world as a sign of success have become playthings, tossed lightly up in the air in acts of outrageous political hubris. One after the other is falling to the ground and suddenly not only the future but the very present is characterised by uncertainty and instability. How can it be, … Read more