Arthur Cox hosts DCU Brexit Institute conference addressed by Mary McAleese
Arthur Cox welcomed the DCU Brexit Institute to its offices for a major Brexit conference addressed by former president Mary McAleese.
The “Brexit, the Terms of Withdrawal and the Framework of Future EU-UK Relations” conference took place at the firm’s offices on Friday.
Brian O’Gorman, managing partner at Arthur Cox, welcomed guests before Ms McAleese delivered her keynote speech.
The former president told guests that she believed Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the only hope for closure and the best hope for an orderly Brexit.
She lauded negotiators on both the EU and Irish sides of the negotiations for their far-sightedness, clear-sightedness and solidarity, which she said has been reassuring and important to the future of the EU.
Ms McAleese addressed directly the consequences of plantation and partition and how they are now directly affecting the Brexit negotiations, and spoke of how Ireland as a country must learn from the mistakes of Brexit and prepare for the possibility of a border poll and what may come after it.
She also spoke of how the Good Friday Agreement may not have passed in 1998 if the possibility of the UK leaving the EU had been on the table, and of the importance of the assurances and deal secured by then-Taoiseach Enda Kenny that “under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and under the terms of the Irish constitution, if partition of this island was ended, then Northern Ireland would seamlessly re-enter the European Union”.
In addition to Ms McAleese’s speech, there were four panel discussions on the themes of the process; the Withdrawal Agreement; the framework of future relations; and the challenges.
Guest panel members included Emily Jones, University of Oxford; Kenneth Armstrong, University of Cambridge; Paul Craig, University of Oxford; Catherine Barnard, University of Cambridge; John Doyle, Dublin City University; Eileen Connolly, Dublin City University; Edgar Morgenroth, Dublin City University; Giorgio Sacerdoti, Bocconi University; Paola Mariani, Bocconi University; Deirdre Curtin, European University Institute; Ben Tonra, University College Dublin; Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Queen Mary London; Etain Tannam, Trinity College Dublin and Federico Fabbrini, Dublin City University.