Europe and Northern Ireland's Future

Negotiating Brexit's Unique Case

Mary C. Murphy

£60.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788210294
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788210300
£19.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788210317
192 pages   |  216 x 138mm   |  30 April 2018


"By boldly linking Northern Ireland's weak political economy and 'negative peace' to the politicization of its EU membership by Brexit this book makes a powerful case for a special status agreement on the North to stave off wider political and constitutional instability."  – Paul Gillespie, columnist, Irish Times

"Mary C. Murphy’s analysis is essential reading for those seeking to understand the importance of the EU to the politics and political economy of Northern Ireland. Her thorough analysis identifies the combined effect of Northern Ireland’s introverted politics and a political economy which is particularly exposed to risks associated with Brexit. Using rich empirical analysis, she provides clear insight into the destabilizing effects that the Brexit process has already unleashed in Northern Ireland, and the political and economic challenges posed by alternative Brexit scenarios." – Nicola McEwen, Professor of Territorial Politics, University of Edinburgh

"Cometh the hour, cometh the book. This book is an invaluable map to understand the consequences of Brexit for Northern Ireland and provides an exemplary compass for appreciating what the future may hold. It further establishes Mary C. Murphy as the leading scholar of the complex nexus that is the relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU." – Paschal Donohoe TD, Irish Minister for Finance

"Draws on a vast set of cutting-edge empirical data in order to trace the political, economic, and societal dynamics that Brexit has triggered in Northern Ireland. The result is a clear and comprehensible overview that introduces the reader to the multifaceted challenges that Northern Ireland’s society is facing in the light of the region’s withdrawal from the EU ... provides an excellent starting point for scholars and students who aim to familiarize themselves with Northern Ireland’s perspectives on Brexit." – Patrick Utz, Regional & Federal Studies

"An exceptional piece of academic work. The book is a welcome addition to the literature on the politics of Northern Ireland and to Brexit in particular. Murphy’s considerable scholarly knowledge of the politics on the island of Ireland and EU governance allow for the systematic qualitative research evidenced throughout this book. In turn, this analysis produces a significant, comprehensive and timely account of how to negotiate the unique case of Northern Ireland as well as determining the future relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU." – Kathryn Simpson, Irish Political Studies

"This multi-layered account of the consequences of the Brexit referendum vote for Northern Ireland politics and the relationship with the European Union shows great sensitivity, intellectual rigour and acute understanding." – Matthew O'Neill, LSE Review of Books

"A very helpful and clear account of the situation in Northern Ireland both before and after the 2016 referendum ... Murphy provides a useful analysis of the specificities of Northern Irish politics and the risks that Brexit may entail for the peace process ... the process of politicisation of the Brexit issue is key to understanding changes in attitude towards the EU since the referendum was announced ... a highly readable account of discussions and tensions on the Northern Irish issue in UK and EU politics ... will undoubtedly remain essential reading whatever the outcome of current negotiations." – Thibaud Harrios, Books & Ideas

"Thorough, detailed, excellent – an indispensable record of how Brexit collides with Northern Ireland’s 'negative peace'." – Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor


The implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland are profound, given its history and geographical position as a land border with the European Union. Four decades of sectarian violence have been replaced by a period of sustained peace, economic growth and development, yet the trenchant political divide remains. The ongoing fractious relations within the Northern Irish Assembly threaten to derail any hope the region might have on influencing the discussion and direction of the Brexit negotiations.

Mary C. Murphy offers a detailed and in-depth analysis of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU, the role the EU has played in rebuilding the region after the Troubles, and the challenges and opportunities that Brexit might offer Northern Ireland in terms of its fragile politics and economy.

Northern Ireland has long occupied a greater political space than might seem warranted, given its size and relatively underdeveloped economy. This space may yet again become the most hotly contested and divisive topic in future Brexit negotiations, if it doesn’t in fact prove to be the key to the successful UK withdrawal and future relations with our European neighbours.


1. The political economy of a pressured relationship
2. The politicization of Brexit in Northern Ireland
3. When introverted politics and political economy collide
4. Who speaks for Northern Ireland?
5. Europe and Northern Ireland's future

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).

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