Northern Ireland news

Impact of Brexit 'worse or much worse than expected', according to half surveyed for new study

The study was led by Queen's University Belfast

THE impact of Brexit is "worse or much worse than expected", according to around half of those surveyed for a new study led by Queen’s University Belfast.

Just 13 per cent of respondents said it had been better than they feared.

Most participants in the study reported negative economic experiences of the impact of Brexit and the protocol, with around half of respondents pointing to problems with the supply, delivery, delays in delivery and general availability of goods.

However, respondents expressed most concern for the societal impact of Brexit and the protocol, on cross-border and cross-community relations with many giving examples of a ‘hardening of views’ on both sides, including among young people.

The report is part of The Border after Brexit project in conjunction with the Irish Central Border Area Network, the cross-border local authority partnership consisting of eight local authorities in the Central Border Region.

Co-authored by Professor Katy Hayward and Dr Milena Komarova from Queen's University Belfast, the research consisted of three parts - an online survey of 394 unique responses, focus groups and stakeholder interviews with participants from both sides of the border.

Half of respondents say the experience of the year has made them less optimistic about the future in light of Brexit, whilst those who see positives from Brexit tend to do so in terms of economic advantage or strengthening sovereignty.

Leave-voting respondents, however, expressed disappointment, with many stating that what had been delivered, either politically or in purely economic terms, was not what they believed they had voted for.

Leave-voting participants predominantly see the protocol in negative terms, although the majority of respondents see it in a positive light, such as offering ‘dual market accessibility’ and avoiding ‘a hard Brexit and hard border’.

Professor Hayward said: "Over half of participants remain concerned that there could yet be a hard Irish land border in the future.

"This shows overall that there is a real sense of flux and, with it, anxiety when it comes to the political, economic and social conditions in the border region since the end of the transition period.

"Such concerns are felt on both sides of the border from people of different backgrounds, identities and viewpoints."

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