A Troubled Constitutional Future

Northern Ireland after Brexit

Mary C. Murphy, Jonathan Evershed

£60.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788214117
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788214124
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788214131
208 pages   |  216 x 138mm   |  17 March 2022


"This informative, well researched book on the complexities of UK–Irish relationships and the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and its potential constitutional consequences should be compulsory reading for UK politicians." – Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC

"Brexit collided with a fragile 'negative peace' in Northern Ireland, and more than five years on we are still living with the consequences of an English insurgency against the European Union which cared little, and understood less, about the implications for Ireland. Murphy and Evershed have done a wonderful and valuable job in drawing together the strands of a complex story, still unfolding, which has led Northern Ireland, perhaps even the United Kingdom, to a critical, constitutional moment." – Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, and author of Brexit and Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response

"Murphy and Evershed capture the ‘carnival of reaction’ that has followed the 2016 Brexit referendum, which itself forced discussion of identity, borders and the constitution into Northern Ireland’s everyday discourse. At a time when politics has seemed simultaneously to be stuck and moving at speed, this book helpfully takes stock of the dynamics at play, where this conversation might go next and how political forces in Northern Ireland react and respond to one another."  – Claire Hanna MP


The UK's decision to leave the EU has opened up huge existential questions for Northern Ireland as it marks its centenary. Constitutional conflict in Northern Ireland had been regarded as largely resolved and settled, but Brexit has altered the wider constitutional framework within which the 1998 Good Friday Agreement is situated. With the question of Irish unity gaining renewed and sustained traction, and with trade, relationships and politics across "these islands" in a state of flux, Northern Ireland approaches a constitutional moment.

Murphy and Evershed examine the factors, actors and dynamics that are most likely to be influential, and potentially transformative, in determining Northern Ireland’s constitutional future. This book offers an assessment of how Brexit and its fallout may lead to constitutional upheaval, and a cautionary warning about the need to prepare for it.


1. Introduction
2. Northern Ireland and the great Brexit disruption
3. Irish Nationalism
4. Ulster Unionism
5. The "middle ground"
6. The British and Irish governments
7. What prospects for the constitutional future(s) of Northern Ireland, and of "these islands"?

Author Information

Mary C. Murphy holds a Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration and is Senior Lecturer in Politics at University College Cork. Her books include Northern Ireland and the European Union (2014) and The Europeanization of Party Politics in Ireland, North and South (2010) (coeditor).

Jonathan Evershed is a Newman Fellow in Constitutional Futures at the Institute for British-Irish Studies, University College Dublin.

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