Territorial disputes: Northern Ireland (Part 25) [Post 110]

Time to solve the case of Northern Ireland. When referring to this particular case, the blog series TERRITORIAL DISPUTES presented with the first 20 posts (posts 86-105) relevant European Union law (free movement of persons, European citizenship, free movement of goods, capital and services). The last four posts (posts 106-109) introduced very briefly the background situation.


Territory, in principle, can be defined as an area owned and possessed by the population (in land, water, space and, perhaps, cyberspace). Like population, it may have features that could cause controversy in TERRITORIAL DISPUTES. Some of the features that constitute territory will be reviewed using the case of Northern Ireland in light of Brexit. Those that introduce controversy will be analyzed using the model proposed here. Next time we center the attention on borders, natural resources and defense.


Let us remember the way in why this series propose to deal with TERRITORIAL DISPUTES. The allocation of sovereignty will be given by: a) equal right to participate (egalitarian consensus principle); b) the nature and degree of participation depends on efficiency of accomplishing the particular objective/area/activity at issue (principle of efficiency); c) each party receives a benefit (in terms of rights and opportunities) that depends on what that party cooperates with (input-to-output ratio principle); and d) provided the party with greater ability and therefore greater initial participation rights has the obligation to bring the other two parties towards equilibrium (equilibrium proviso). I call this way of dealing with sovereignty conflicts or disputes the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY.


Many questions are to be expected. Amongst them: How is that translated into geographical borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit? What about the exploration and exploitation of natural resources? This question has two parts: a) the sea-zone adjacent to Northern Ireland only; and b) the portion that overlaps with the Republic of Ireland. Finally, in the hypothetical scenario that Northern Ireland had a referendum and decided to leave the United Kingdom, who would defend them?


The next posts on this blog series about TERRITORIAL DISPUTES will cover these questions. In order to answer them, the posts will explore the concept of self-determination in the event Northern Ireland decided to have a referendum in the future.


NOTE: based on Chapter 7, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.


Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

27th July 2018

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