Northern Ireland and the European Union

The dynamics of a changing relationship

Author: Mary C. Murphy

This unique book breaks new ground in engaging the study of Northern Ireland politics directly with broader debates about European integration and European governance. The text offers the most comprehensive coverage to date of the institutional development of Northern Ireland following the UK government’s devolution programme and Northern Ireland’s development as an autonomous policy actor in Europe. This study marshals evidence from Northern Ireland’s relationship with the European Union (EU) during the contemporary era of devolved power. Uniquely, it does not treat Northern Ireland as a sui generis case-study, but as a region facing the same challenges as many other parts of Europe. This distinctive approach is a key strength of the book. It is a fresh and novel means of studying the EU and produces new and compelling conclusions with broad appeal and application. The text argues that in Northern Ireland, a series of national and regional constraints, complexities and divisions limit the application of the multi-level governance (MLG) model. The distinction between state and civil society in Northern Ireland has become less, rather than more blurred, and has shifted in the direction of the former. The author questions the synergy between devolution and the EU and queries the existence of new forms of ‘governance’. This is a contribution of both immense substance and considerable importance and will appeal to scholars from a diverse range of social science disciplines. It is essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Northern Ireland politics, EU governance, European regions and conflict studies.

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