ESRC Festival of Social Science: from business to Brexit and migration to the menopause

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science in Northern Ireland is back for another year and runs from 3-10 November. Organised jointly by the three universities in Northern Ireland – The Open University, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University – this festival aims to open up leading research to new audiences, bringing social science into the public domain, and showing how it influences our social, economic and political lives both now and in the future. This year’s programme … Read more

The Future of Referendums: What Role Should They Play and How Should They Be Conducted?

Referendums are now established as part of the UK’s political landscape.  They are widely seen as necessary before some fundamental constitutional changes are made.  Politicians will continue from time to time to find it useful to manage conflicts by proposing to put certain decisions to the people. Yet, despite their importance, there has been little concerted thinking recently about how referendums should be conducted.  Two inquiries conducted in the 1990s – by the Nairne Commission and the Committee on Standards … Read more

Article 50 one year one – where are we now?

Boats with EU, UK flags sailing in opposite directions

It’s almost a year since Theresa May triggered Article 50 and the past year has been a veritable rollercoaster of ups and downs in the Brexit negotiation process – admittedly more ups than downs! But where exactly are we in the process and what are the implications for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland? Will the next phase of the negotiations culminate in Downing Street’s end goal of a “a smooth and orderly Brexit?” Join the Queen’s on Brexit … Read more

Closure of Kilroot – or how NOT to manage a ‘just transition’ to a low carbon energy economy

Kilroot Power Station

This is not how you plan a transition from a high to a low carbon energy economy.  The announcement a few weeks ago that the operator of Kilroot coal fired power station had lost out in the auction process within the all island Single Electricity Market (I-SEM), and the company announcing it will close the gates in May is not only a disaster for those workers, contractors and communities affected.  It is also a major setback for the managed transition … Read more

Implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland: Have your Say…

When it comes to looking at the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland, the BrexitLawNI project has been out and about gathering information about the concerns of people living in Northern Ireland. Townhall-style events have taken place in Belfast, Derry and Enniskillen, with more events scheduled next month. BrexitLawNI is a collaborative research project between the Law Schools at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University as well as the region’s leading human rights organisation, the Committee for the Administration of … Read more