Brexit will cause more division in Northern Ireland and hamper relations with the Republic, a new study has warned.
The research by Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the Committee on the Administration of Justice contends that the UK’s departure from the EU will have detrimental consequences for the peace process and also weaken human rights and equality protections.
BrexitLawNI is led by Prof Colin Harvey from the school of law at Queen’s.
He described Brexit as a “profound constitutional moment for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland”.
“Brexit will threaten the peace process and weaken protections for human rights and equality,” he added. “It risks disrupting North-South co-operation, increasing racist immigration enforcement and dividing British and Irish citizens.
“It could also reduce international oversight of human rights and introduce a new focus for conflict between divided communities. Many of these matters have simply been neglected in the discussions thus far, and that must change.”
The report comes following 18 months of research involving interviews, consultations and town hall-style events.
Researchers also met with politicians and officials in Belfast, London, Dublin and Brussels as well as with business representatives, trade unions and community activists.
The academics say they detect “widespread anxiety” about the long-term impact of Brexit across Ireland.