Source: Brexit, Northern Ireland and Ireland
A 26-page joint study published by the universities of Durham and Newcastle which runs through issues of travel, citizenship and trade in a readable style. It was published in June 2016, presumably before the referendum judging by the opening line of its blurb: “This report is not a campaigning document, but it does attempt to inform some key areas of the Brexit debate. It conveys our concerns, estimations, and opinions as a group made up of legal academics researching in international law, trade law, UK constitutional law, human rights law and EU law on some key aspects of how Brexit would affect Northern Ireland. We do not seek to address all of the implications of Brexit, but only those within our areas of expertise.” But they are not afraid to confront harsh realities, such as that there is “virtually no possibility that the border and the movement of goods, services and individuals will remain as it is currently operating”.
And they also sound a warning saying that Europe brought the UK and Ireland closer and that a Brexit would strain that relationship. The authors say:
“The peace process will not implode in the event of Brexit not will Ireland’s close relations with the UK degrade overnight. Nonetheless the EU’s role in building this relationship will not be forgotten. Whereas the European Project drew Ireland and the UK closer together, Brexit would impose new strains on the relationship. Ireland’s trade with the rest of Europe has dramatically increased since 1974 making its economy much less dependent upon the UK, but in purely economic terms it will still be the EU country most affected by Brexit. Over time, Ireland’s increasing integration with Europe would likely put it at odds with a UK which is no longer playing on the same team. In that event the mutual working which has provided the bedrock for the peace process will inevitably be under threat.