Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement
in Breaking peace
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This chapter looks specifically at the extent to which the Brexit process represents a challenge to the Good Friday Agreement. It examines the arguments relating to whether the substantive principles of the GFA were impacted by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The Good Friday Agreement has lasted for twenty-one years but, at the same time, the devolved power-sharing institutions that resulted from it have been plagued by instability and a chronic lack of collective coherence, and these problems were exacerbated by the spectre of Brexit and by the dysfunctionality within the UK’s efforts to negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

The chapter explores the different narratives surrounding the extent to which Brexit has impacted on and undermined the GFA. Sinn Fein and the SDLP viewed Brexit as anathema to the GFA and as a fundamentally destabilising challenge to its institutions. Many unionists, however, viewed Brexit as more of a bump in the road within the peace process and criticised Irish nationalists in both parts of Ireland for talking up Brexit as a crisis. This chapter examines these conflicting narratives on whether Brexit poses a legal or political threat to the GFA in its letter and spirit.

Breaking peace

Brexit and Northern Ireland


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