This three-year project is focused on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland annexed to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. Its core aim is to identify and explain the consequences of the new governance arrangements established by the Protocol since its full entry into force on 1 January 2021 and supplemented with through the Windsor Framework adopted in 2023. The project explores the governance challenges that the Protocol raises in and for Northern Ireland and seeks to identify how these challenges can be managed in such a way that can promote effective implementation of the Protocol's arrangements as well as enhance their legitimacy.
The project monitors the implementation and evolution of the Protocol and assesses the impact on Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom but occupying a unique position owing to the arrangements flowing from the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement as regards devolved government, north-south cooperation on the island of Ireland and east-west cooperation between Britain and Ireland.
Drawing on approaches from political science, sociology and legal studies, the project considers the roles and responsibilities of the UK and the EU under the Protocol as well as the engagement of existing governance arrangements in the Protocol's implementation. Particular attention is given to the activities of the UK-EU bodies established to manage the Protocol (e.g. the Joint Committee) and those that feed into their work. The project also involves assessing public opinion on the Protocol as well as identifying the challenges faced by stakeholders in the implementation of the Protocol and potential solutions.
The project involves promoting increased understanding of the Protocol through publications, an online Protocol Monitor, and public events.