An initiative jointly developed and administered by the Royal Irish Academy and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is set to launch on Monday, January 11.
Called Analysing and Researching Ireland, North and South (ARINS), the project provides authoritative, independent, and non-partisan research and analysis about constitutional, institutional, and policy options for Ireland, north and south, in a post-Brexit context.
The ARINS project brings together experts to provide evidence-based research and analysis on the most significant questions of policy and public debate facing the island of Ireland, north and south. The project will facilitate and disseminate research on the challenges and opportunities presented to the island against the backdrop of Brexit, with the intention of contributing to an informed public discourse.
Research and analysis will focus on three broad areas:
- Political, constitutional, and legal questions
- Economic, financial, social, and environmental questions
- Cultural and educational questions
The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) is an all-island body, founded in 1785, that brings together leading scholars and researchers from across the island of Ireland and overseas, and which already plays an active role in many areas of public policy.
“While the issue of a future referendum on the constitutional position of Ireland has been raised, holding a referendum in the absence of prior research and informed debate on the options and their consequences would be most unfortunate,” said Gerry McKenna, senior vice-president of the Royal Irish Academy, an all-Ireland, leading body of experts in the humanities and the social sciences. “The Academy recognizes the sensitivities around the very process of conducting such research, but also believes that the need to ensure that all eventualities are anticipated and researched, and that ensuing debate is informed and comprehensive, takes primacy.”
The purpose of the RIA-Keough-Naughton Institute partnership is to plan, support, and communicate a wide-ranging programme of research. This research will be rigorous, non-partisan and independent, and will operate to the highest academic standards. The ARINS Project will commission and welcome research from a wide range of scholars in all relevant disciplines. In publishing and publicizing that research, it will seek to support respectful debate among politicians, within the media and civil society, and among the general public.
“Research on these matters is not intended to strengthen or weaken any particular aspiration, but rather to foster meaningful debate,” said Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. “Irrespective of how constitutional questions might develop, it is also essential to understand how the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and its institutions might be affected by the uncertainties of this moment. As part of this exercise, it is critical to map interdependencies and connections within and between Northern Ireland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.”
Papers will be published monthly in the Irish Studies in International Affairs journal edited by John Doyle, Director of the Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, Dublin City University, and Executive Dean of that university's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. All articles will be free to access online at www.arinsproject.com. Each article published will be accompanied by at least one response, often from a different standpoint.
Forthcoming articles include Jennifer Todd (Uniiversity College Dublin) on Unionism, Identity and Irish Unity; Deirdre Heenan (Ulster University) on Cross-border Cooperation in Health in Ireland; Duncan Morrow (Ulster University) on Unionist responses to the new debate on constitutional futures; Rory Montgomery (former Irish diplomat) on the Good Friday Agreement and a united Ireland; and Katy Hayward (Queen's University Belfast) on Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol. Climate policy in the two jurisdictions has also been identified for detailed research and analysis.
Other experts contributing to the ARINS project include: Alan Barrett (Economic and Social Research Institute); Marie Cowan (Geological Survey of Northern Ireland); Etain Tannam (Trinity College, Dublin); Cathy Gormley- Heenan (Ulster University), and Christopher McCrudden (Queen’s University Belfast).
On Monday, January 11, the Irish Times and the Belfast Telegraph will each publish two op-ed pieces—one by Brendan O’Leary (University of Pennsylvania) and the other by Peter Shirlow (University of Liverpool) on whether the Irish should prepare for a referendum on unification.
At 7 pm that day, Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Professor of Politics and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Ulster University, will give a brief overview of the ARINS Project, followed by the Royal Irish Academy's Discourse on "Northern Ireland After Brexit" with Fintan O'Toole (Irish Times) and William Crawley (BBC).
Tickets are free of charge but booking is essential at www.ria.ie