Post-Brexit Scenarios for the Irish Border

Friday, July 14, 2017
East Quad Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Katy Hayward , Politics, Queen's Universtiy, Belfast
The Irish border has a symbolic significance that far outweighs its importance in practical terms for both the British and Irish governments. The likely effects of UK exit from the EU are likely to have acute and real consequences for the 500km land border on the island, the sea borders between these islands and the border region; such effects include cross-border trade and movement, as well as security and socio-political concerns. In fundamental terms, the UK/Ireland boundary will become an external border of the EU. This paper sets out and critiques the position of the Irish border in the Brexit debate and the respective stances taken by British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland executives. It summarises and explains the border-related priorities identified by these players. Finally, it analyses the implications of the nature of the Brexit process to date for the border as a locus of several layers of governance in these islands. The future position of the Irish border in any post-Brexit scenario will need to account for the fact that it is best conceived not as a dividing line between the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland but as a meeting point between them.