Countdown to Unity: Debating Irish Reunification


Richard Humphreys

The first modern, in-depth and practical legal road map to bring about the unification of the island of Ireland.

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Product Description

This book explores how the Good Friday Agreement has put in place the broad outline of how a united Ireland might be achieved by consent. The increasing momentum of nationalist politics in Northern Ireland combined with an ever greater sense of self – confidence in nationalist Ireland as a whole creates an environment in which we can begin to think about the practical steps required to bring a united Ireland into being. It examines the legal implications of a united Ireland and sketches out a programme of action to move towards achieving reunification of the island of Ireland in a spirit of reconciliation and peace.

Table of Contents

  1. Unity Denied: 1920-1937
    •  The Treaty Settlement
    • The New Constitutional Order 1932-1937


  2. Towards a Common Understanding of Sharing These Island
    •  Constitutional Consolidation
    • A New Approach to the Totality of Relationships
    • The Groundwork for the Good Friday Agreement


  3. The Good Friday Agreement 1998
    •  Background
    • The Agreement
    • Other Developments Subsequent to 1998


  4. The Agreement as a Roadmap to Reunification
    •  Negotiating Unity
    • The Referendum
    • A New International Agreement


  5. Implementing the Bilateral Treaty Contemplated by the Agreement
    •  Legal Change in the United Kingdom
    • Constitutional and Legal Change in Ireland
    • Ratification


  6. Uniting People as well as Territory
    •  Developing the Agreement’s Institutional Architecture
    • Mechanisms to Ensure Compliance with the Agreement
    • Confidence-building Legal Measures on the British Side
    • Measures to Promote Irish Identity


  7. Confidence-building Measures on the Irish Side
    •  Constitutional Reinvigotation
    • Recognising the British Identity
    • Constitutional Fundamentals


  8. Conclusion

About the Author

Richard Humphreys is a Barrister at Law and a legal advisor to the Labour Party. From 1992-1997 he was the Programme Manager for the Minister for Equality and Law Reform and played a key role in a number of significant legal developments including the Divorce Referendum of 1995 and the enactment of comprehensive equality legislation. Prior to that he lectured at the Faculty of Law, UCD.


Additional Information


Richard Humphreys


Contemporary Ireland, Northern Ireland, Politics



Release schedule



Irish Academic Press