The Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) – the cross border group of local authorities for the Central Border Region – together with a small team from Queen’s University Belfast are conducting a second research project on the impact of Brexit for people living and working in the Region.

This initiative is part of the Border Compass project, which is funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund. It follows on from the Bordering on Brexit report which was completed late 2017 (see http://go.qub.ac.uk/bordering) and revealed the views of local border communities a year after the Brexit referendum.

This follow-on study, Brexit at the Border, is launched one year away from the date the UK is due to leave the EU. It aims to gather views from the communities most closely affected by the recent developments and discussions on the issue of the Irish border after Brexit.

Brexit at the Border is a non-political and non-partisan study. ICBAN is keen to gather responses from the widest possible group of people from the Central Border Region, on both sides of the border and from all political viewpoints.

As with the previous study, people living or working in any one of the eight local authority areas in the Central Border Region are invited to complete an online survey. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed via this link:   www.tinyurl.com/ICBAN-Brexit.  The survey will close at 5pm on Monday 16th April 2018.

There will then be an opportunity to participate in focus groups later in the year. Both the survey and focus groups will be conducted in such a way as to preserve the strict anonymity of all participants.

The results of this project will be compiled in a final project report and disseminated to the governments of both the UK and Ireland, the European Commission and Parliament and other key stakeholders involved in the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The previous report presents eight core findings that are highly relevant to Brexit negotiations and has gained significant coverage in local, national and international media, and has been widely referenced across the UK, Ireland and Europe, as well as in Egypt and India.

Mr. Shane Campbell, CEO of ICBAN explained, “ICBAN is a cross-border development organisation led by eight local authorities from both sides of the border: Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh and Omagh, Leitrim, Mid Ulster, Monaghan and Sligo. The ICBAN Board comprises elected representatives and they recognise the continued need for cross-border cooperation in these changing times. This research initiative, as part of the wider Border Compass Project, aims to support our Brexit policy by helping to withstand any negative consequences arising from the impacts of the Brexit process on this border region.”

Dr. Katy Hayward of Queen’s University Belfast, lead researcher on the project, remarked, “The Bordering on Brexit report revealed the unique perspective of border communities regarding the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This follow-up study focuses on some of the core issues of specific concern to the border region, such as security, cross-border access to services and the meaning of a ‘hard border’. We are keen to gather a wide range of views of people of all ages and backgrounds from the Central Border Region.”