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The evolving impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland - Analysis from a Queen's University Expert

Five and a half years after the Brexit referendum, the subject remains a live and contested topic in public affairs. The relationship between the UK and EU remains fraught, with Northern Ireland still placed at the crux of those tensions.

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The two sides are currently in discussion to find adjustments to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland signed as part of the withdrawal agreement. Both recognise that this agreement has serious political and economic consequences for Northern Ireland. The stakes around Brexit remain high, and expert analysis on the process is vital. 

Katy Hayward, Professor of Political Sociology at Queen's University Belfast and Fellow of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, has emerged as one of the world's leading experts on Brexit and its impact on the island of Ireland. She is currently leading a major project for the UK in a Changing Europe think tank on ‘The future and status of Northern Ireland after Brexit’.  

She is the author of over 280 research publications, including the most recent reports ‘The Border After Brexit: experiences of local communities in the Central Border Region of Ireland/Northern Ireland and Testing the Temperature 3: What do voters in Northern Ireland think about the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland?’. 

Professor Hayward has presented widely on the topic of Brexit to the public, policy, media and academics. In interviews and published analyses recently including The New York TimesBBC and The Irish Times, she has offered well-informed insights into the latest developments and future prospects around Brexit, focusing on the impact it is having on communities in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Recently she co-organised a day-long event with the European Policy Centre (Brussels) on the subject of the Protocol of Ireland/Northern Ireland for an audience involving British and European officials and diplomats.  

She delivered a lecture on ‘The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland: Past, Present and Future’ as part of the Irish Seminar Series at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a lecture What Is the Future of Northern Ireland After Brexit (And Why Should Europe Care)?’ for the Democracy Institute at the Central European University (CEU) in conjunction with the Embassy of Ireland to Hungary as part of their prestigious Irish Speaker Series.  

She also met with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič as part of an invited group of representatives of civil society in Northern Ireland and has presented evidence before a visiting delegation from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.  

This week concluded with a mini conference she co-organised for the island of Ireland chapter of Eisenhower Fellows, including senior diplomats from the USA, UK and Ireland. 

Professor Richard English, Mitchell Institute Director, commented: "The complexities of Brexit have been felt more sharply in Northern Ireland than in any other part of the UK, and the politics around the Irish border have become more important as a consequence. Scholarly expertise such as that provided by leading academics such as Professor Hayward makes an invaluable contribution to societal debate and understanding here.” 

Professor Hayward has recently published two new books: What Do We Know and What Should We Do about the Irish Border? for Sage and a co-authored book Northern Ireland A Generation after Good Friday (MUP). 

An episode in the new series of the Mitchell Institute Conversations Podcasts hosted by Professor English is now available. In this episode, Professor Katy Hayward focuses on her book What Do We Know and What Should We Do about the Irish Border? Listen to the podcast here. 

For further analysis and updates by Professor Katy Hayward please visit https://www.qub.ac.uk/brexit/insight-analysis/ and https://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/khayward/ or follow her on Twitter at @hayward_katy  

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