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New Diplomacy: The UK and Ireland in a Changing World (NEWDIP)

New Diplomacy: The UK and Ireland in a Changing World (NEWDIP) 

Lead and Contacts:


Prof Ben Tonra, UCD: ben.tonra@ucd.ie

Prof Federica Bicchi, London School of Economics and Political Science

Ireland and the UK share a complex and contested history. For nearly 50 years their bilateral relationship was embedded within a larger European project of political and economic integration which contributed substantially to a normalising of relationships. At the same time, the two governments worked together with local political parties and other actors in Northern Ireland to construct a durable framework for agreed governance and peace-building to resolve the violent conflict in Northern Ireland. The 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement created just such a framework.

The UK's withdrawal from the EU entails substantial changes to that bilateral relationship in both political and economic aspects. It also pulls at the threads of the carefully woven constitutional settlement in Northern Ireland.

The goal of the NEWDIP project is to bring together early career and established scholars, as well as policy practitioners, to look at the most critical foreign policy, security and defence aspects of this bilateral relationship as the UK and Ireland embark on quite different national journeys.

How will Ireland and the UK define and pursue their respective national foreign policies, as well as their bilateral cooperation, post-Brexit? The NEWDIP project will look at three inter-related set of foreign policy, security and defence relationships. 

1. How can/should the UK and Ireland manage and develop their bilateral diplomatic and defence relationship? What are the shared/distinct security interests and what modes of bilateral cooperation exist to manage these? 

2. Outside of the bilateral relationship, how does the UK's withdrawal from the European Union change the respective foreign, security and defence policies of the UK and Ireland? What opportunities and constraints present themselves in this new situation and how might bilateral cooperation reinforce opportunities and minimise constraints? 

3. As the European Union expands and develops its own foreign, security and defence policy profile, how does this impact the bilateral relationship? Also, how might the bilateral relationship affect Ireland's engagement with its EU partners and the UK's bilateral relationship with the European Union as a third country?  

Generously funded by the ESRC-IRC UK-Ireland Social Science Networking Award.