Northern Ireland

Matters of consent: the Withdrawal Agreement does not violate the Good Friday Agreement

Matters of consent: the Withdrawal Agreement does not violate the Good Friday Agreement

John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary write that, contrary to the DUP’s claims, the draft Withdrawal Agreement does not violate the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement when it comes to consent. Instead, the proposals regarding Northern Ireland are reasonable and balanced.

Are the DUP for turning? When the Union is perceived to be at risk, all options are on the table

Are the DUP for turning? When the Union is perceived to be at risk, all options are on the table

The UK government’s latest attempt to push a deal through Parliament failed when the DUP withdrew support. Mary C. Murphy explains the DUP’s thinking and options. She writes that, while they can continue to pursue a strategy which is focused on revising the deal to their satisfaction, it is also possible that they could change tack completely and re-align their position in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.

Northern Ireland and the Withdrawal Agreement

Northern Ireland and the Withdrawal Agreement

Boris Johnson’s proposed withdrawal agreement with the EU, which Parliament votes on today, establishes different customs arrangements for Northern Ireland than for Great Britain, to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. Sean Swan explains how having differential arrangements for Northern Ireland and Great Britain is not novel, and is a reflection of long-existing realities in Northern Ireland’s governance. For them to have democratic legitimacy, though, the Northern Ireland Assembly needs to be reconvened.

Governing without ministers: Northern Ireland power-sharing should be a priority for the UK government

Governing without ministers: Northern Ireland power-sharing should be a priority for the UK government

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning Executive or Assembly since January 2017. Jill Rutter and Jess Sargeant detail the consequences, which would be particularly severe in the case of a no deal Brexit, and set out proposals for reform.

Three questions ahead of Northern Ireland’s local elections 2019

Three questions ahead of Northern Ireland’s local elections 2019

Northern Ireland votes in local council elections on Thursday, 2 May. These elections take place while the Northern Ireland Assembly remains dormant, the Brexit process raises seemingly unresolvable questions about the Irish border, and in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee. Jamie Pow previews the elections and outlines some key questions they highlight for Northern Irish politics.

‘The ability of the UK Parliament to override a measure made in any part of the United Kingdom is one of the mischiefs in the UK’s constitution that needs fixing.’ Why it is time to reform the Sewel Convention

‘The ability of the UK Parliament to override a measure made in any part of the United Kingdom is one of the mischiefs in the UK’s constitution that needs fixing.’ Why it is time to reform the Sewel Convention

The Sewel Convention, by which the UK’s government normally seeks the consent of the devolved legislatures on matters that come within their competence, is enshrined in legislation. However, writes Matthew Hexter, it remains too weak and a constitutional convention is needed to fundamentally alter the balance of powers between London and the devolved nations.

Social media can play a key role in campaigns against paramilitary-style assaults in Northern Ireland

Social media can play a key role in campaigns against paramilitary-style assaults in Northern Ireland

Assaults on young people in Northern Ireland by paramilitary groups remain prevalent, though under-reported. Paul Reilly and Faith Gordon detail how social media has been used both by such paramilitary groups to ‘police’ young people and how it can also become a tool for organising campaigns against such violence in the long term.

How democratic are the basic structures of the UK’s devolution settlement?

How democratic are the basic structures of the UK’s devolution settlement?

Devolution encompasses a range of quite different solutions in three countries (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), plus markedly smaller delegations of powers to London and some English cities and regions. There remain important issues around the stability and effectiveness of these arrangements, which were designed to meet specific demands for national or regional control and to bring government closer to citizens. In an article from our book, The UK’s Changing Democracy, Diana Stirbu and Patrick Dunleavy explore how far relations between Westminster and the key devolved institutions have been handled democratically and effectively.

Schrodinger’s devolution and the potential for ongoing political instability after Brexit

Schrodinger’s devolution and the potential for ongoing political instability after Brexit

Territorial governance in the UK has taken the form of ‘Schrodinger’s devolution’, where the devolved nations both have and have not experienced fundamental constitutional change. But Brexit highlights the need for exact decisions where ambiguity has so far existed, explain Mark Sandford and Cathy Gormley-Heenan.

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Proposals from backbench Brexiteer MPs as to how to resolve the border question in Northern Ireland fail to address the problem of maintaining a common set of standards with Ireland post-Brexit. Sean Swan argues that, given public opinion in England, a customs border in the Irish Sea, with divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a likely outcome.