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

This initiative is part of the Border Navigator project, which is funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund. It provides an opportunity for the voices of border region residents and workers to be heard on recent developments, including the subject of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario, just two months before the planned exit date of the UK from the EU on 31st October.

This research study follows on from the two previous reports: ‘Bordering on Brexit’ which was completed November 2017 and revealed the views of local border communities a year after the Brexit referendum; and ‘Brexit at the Border’, June 2018 which highlighted the hopes and fears of border citizens in a post-Brexit world and the overriding need to protect a hard-won and valued peace. 

‘The Border into Brexit’ is a non-political and non-partisan study. ICBAN and QUB are keen to gather responses from the widest possible group of people from the Central Border Region, on both sides of the border.

As with the previous studies, 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 15 minutes to complete and will close at 5pm on Monday 23rd September 2019.

There will also be opportunities for survey respondents to participate in focus groups as part of the project. Both the survey and focus groups will be conducted in such a way as to preserve the strict anonymity of all participants.

Over 1,000 people have inputted to these research exercises to date. ICBAN and QUB have ensured these voices have been heard by disseminating the reports to those involved in the high-level negotiations, including the EU’s negotiating team and the UK and Irish Governments. The previous reports have gained significant coverage in local, national and international media, and have been widely referenced across the UK, Ireland and Europe, as well as in Egypt and India.

The results of this latest project will be compiled in an interim report, which will be completed before what might be the UK’s last European Council meeting on 17-18 October. The final report will follow later in the year.

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 Navigator Project, aims to support the Brexit policy of our Management Board, in working together to help 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,

“This is a time of enormous attention in the Irish border as an issue in light of Brexit. But of course the border and Brexit are lived experiences as well as conversation topics. Our previous reports, Brexit at the Border and Bordering on Brexit, brought the experience in the central border region to a wide international audience. This third study will do the same, particularly given the significance of the decisions now being made by the UK and EU. We are grateful for every single response to these surveys and are keen to gather a wide range of views of people of all ages and backgrounds in the Central Border Region.”