On Friday, 29 March 2019, Arthur Cox hosted the DCU Brexit Institute’s conference on “Brexit, the Terms of Withdrawal and the Framework of Future EU-UK Relations”.
Brian O’Gorman, Managing Partner, Arthur Cox welcomed the DCU Brexit Institute and guests to the firm’s offices. The event was then opened by a keynote address by Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland.
Ms. McAleese spoke of how she believed that Theresa May’s deal is the only hope for closure and the best hope for an orderly Brexit, and how on both the EU and Irish sides of the negotiations there has been a laudable farsightedness, a clear sightedness and a solidarity which has been very reassuring and important to the future of the European Union.
She addressed directly the consequences of plantation and partition and how they are now directly affecting the Brexit negotiations and of how we 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 if the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union 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.