Constitutional Conundrums: Northern Ireland, the EU, and Human Rights is an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account funded project undertaken by four legal scholars at Durham University and Newcastle University in the North East of England.  (One of the four of us has since relocated to Birmingham University, but Durham and Newcastle remain the ‘base’ for the project’s operations.)

The rationale for the project is straight-forward: there are many very specific ‘Irish’ dimensions to current political debates surrounding potential ‘Brexit’ and the potential repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998, but these are not being addressed in sufficient detail (if at all) by the current political narratives.  The project’s aim is to shed light on these particular Irish dimensions, so as to help those affected–whether Irish or British–by these very serious looming changes to the UK’s constitutional structure to make fully educated decisions when the time for a vote or a campaign arises.  Equally, the project aims to engage directly with policy makers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so as to ensure that future negotiations with Westminster and/or Brussels regarding both the EU referendum and the HRA 1998 take full account of the specific ways in which their jurisdictions will be affected by the changes.

This website will host an overview of the work being done, consisting of animations produced for potential voters; opinion pieces on specific ‘Irish’ and Northern Irish issues that are not receiving enough attention in the run-up to the EU referendum; and policy papers that will highlight the specific impact of both the referendum and the HRA’s repeal on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Relevant links to external organisations providing helpful information to anyone interested in these very big questions will also be made available.

The researchers involved in the project are:

Prof. Aoife O’Donoghue, Professor in Law, Durham University (E-Mail | @aoifemod)
Dr. Ben T.C. Warwick, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham University (E-Mail | @btcwarwick)
Mr. Colin R.G. MurraySenior Lecturer in Law, Newcastle University (E-Mail | @mastermanmurray)
Dr. Sylvia de MarsLecturer in Law, Newcastle University (E-Mail | @sylviademars)

They are grateful for the research assistance of Ms. Sophie Doherty.  The project is on Twitter at @niconstitution.