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European Centre @ POLIS

Department of Politics and International Studies

Hosted by the Centre for Geopolitics & Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

Convened by Dr Barry Colfer and Professor Eugenio Biagini


More than twenty years after the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and a century following the partition of Ireland, the Cambridge seminar on the future of the island of Ireland invites leading figures from the world of politics, culture, academia and civil society to reflect on the future of the island of Ireland. This happens as the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU continue to play out and to reorder relations between the peoples and governments of these islands.

The meetings take the form of hour-long meetings over Zoom with an intervention on a theme by a speaker followed by a semi-structured conversation with an academic before moderated questions and answers with attendees. The seminar forms part of the European Orders strand at the Centre for Geopolitics, led by the Director, Brendan Simms.




Upcoming Events


Westminster, Europe and the Northern Ireland Protocol

with RTÉ Europe Editor Tony Connelly will be in conversation with Catherine Barnard, Professor of EU law and Employment Law and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

Monday 14 February at 6 pm

Register here>>


About the Speaker

Tony Connelly has reported extensively on Brexit, and has been covering EU and European affairs since 2001. Tony is the recipient of two ESB National Media awards, a European Journalism Award and a New York Festivals radio award. Tony is the author of 'Brexit and Ireland’ (2017) and 'Don’t Mention the Wars: A Journey Through European Stereotypes’ (2014).


About the Discussant

Catherine Barnard is the author of many books and articles, including 'EU Employment Law’ (2012), ‘The Substantive Law of the EU: The Four Freedoms’ (2019), and (with Peers ed), ‘European Union Law’ (2020). Catherine is also Deputy Director of the UK in a Changing Europe project.

The meeting will be followed by Q&A.

Questions for the speakers can be submitted in advance to





Previous meetings

Date Title/Speaker Video Paper
6 Dec The future of Northern Ireland, with Doug Beattie MLA (Leader of the UUP) here  
29 Nov Developing a human rights culture, with Ivana Bacik TD (Labour) here  
22 Nov The future of the Island of Ireland with Matt Carthy TD (Sinn Féin) here  
15 Nov The future of the island of Ireland with Lord Robin Eames (former Archbishop of Armagh and Anglican Primate of All Ireland) here  
8 Nov The future of the island of Ireland, with John Bruton (Fine Gael) & Prof Kalypso Nicolaides, European University Institute, Florence here  
25 Oct Uniting people from the grassroots, with Eileen Weir here  
18 Oct Ireland past, present and future, with Bertie Ahern here  
11 Oct Reconciliation and mutual trust - the crucial unfinished elements of the Good Friday Agreement, with Hugo MacNeill here here
4 Oct Picking up the pieces - relationships after Brexit, with Claire Hanna MP here  
20 Sep The future of UK-Irish relations, with Sir David Lidington here here
13 Jul Ian Marshall, the only unionist elected to Seanad Éireann (2018-2020), former Ulster Farmers’ Association President (2014-2016), and community activist on ‘Beyond Identity Politics: Building Bridges and Uniting People' (coming soon) here here
01 Jun Naomi Long MLA, Justice Minister of Northern Ireland on ‘The future of Northern Ireland’    
12 May Lucinda Creighton, CEO of Vulcan Consulting, former Irish Minister for European Affairs (2011-2013) here  
19 Apr Neale Richmond, Fine Gael TD/MP for Dublin Rathdown Constituency, party spokesperson on European Affairs here  
23 Mar Jim O’Callaghan, Fianna Fáil TD/MP for Dublin Bay South, party spokesperson on justice here here



Mailing List

To hear about upcoming events, join the Centre for Geopolitics mailing list.  You'll receive an invitation to every event, as well as a monthly eNewsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you prefer to only hear about events in this series – or if you any questions or comments relating to it- contact Dr Barry Colfer on