NUI Galway Lecturer Contributes to Major New Study on Brexit

Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway
Oct 01 2019 Posted: 10:08 IST

An NUI Galway academic has contributed to a major new book on Brexit and Northern Ireland. Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, is one of 26 contributors to the study.

The seminal and very timely book brings together distinguished ex-politicians, journalists, writers and academics from both sides of the Irish Sea to examine the conundrum of Brexit and Northern Ireland in terms of its potential political, economic, social and cultural implications.

Contributors include former Progressive Democrat TD and junior minister Liz O’Donnell, former Irish ambassador Ray Bassett and editor and media commentator Roy Greenslade.

In his chapter, entitled ‘A History Lesson for Brexiteers’, Felle argues that a failure to understand or give consequence to the Irish position in the corridors of power in Whitehall, combined with anti-Irish sentiment in sections of the British press have legitimised arguments in favour of a no-deal Brexit,

According to Felle: “Large swathes of the British public have been conditioned for years by sections of the very hostile British press to be anti-EU, so it was perhaps no surprise the UK voted leave. That focus has now switched from the EU, in part, on to the Irish Government. The story is portrayed by the pro-Brexit press as one of the Irish being difficult and obstinate, and of the Taoiseach, and Tánaiste as pandering to republicans. The legitimacy of Ireland’s position is never given a moment’s consideration on the pro-Brexit press.

“Brexit has caused a seismic schism in British society and its scars will be felt for a generation. It has threatened the fragile peace in Northern Ireland and the economic well-being and prosperity of nearly six million people on the island of Ireland.  The long-term damage to the British economy and society – no matter the outcome – will be monumental. A handful of newspaper editors have played with fire when it came to influencing public opinion and setting the agenda regarding the EU for years”, he argues.

The book Brexit and Northern Ireland: Bordering on Confusion, is published in association with the Centre for Brexit Studies at Bermingham City University and is published by Bite-Sized Books later this month. The book is edited by ex-BBC journalist John Mair and Dr Steve McCabe from the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University.


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