The annual British Irish Chamber of Commerce Conference took place last Thursday at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road in Dublin.
The theme of the conference was ‘Ireland and England – The Only Game in Town?’ and was sponsored by Ulster Bank. The timing of the conference was particularly relevant as Prime Minister, Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 any day.
With the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum now certain and a very different looking Northern Ireland Assembly, the impact of Brexit on British-Irish relationships topped the agenda in Ballsbridge.
Speaking at the conference, Businessman and Patron of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, Niall FitzGerald said, "We don’t have to settle for the status quo. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be carried along on a global wave of alienation, hatred and divisiveness. Ireland doesn’t have to lose out to the challenges of Brexit, of Trump, of Protectionism or to the loss of Trust in Politics or Business. In fact it’s my firm belief that Ireland can instead be a unique Beacon of Openness, Diversity and Social Inclusion."
He added, "Ethically Leading, Outward Looking, Embracing Technology & Lifelong Learning and fairly sharing the benefits among all. But this will only happen if we have a clear and compelling National Development Plan executed through a real partnership between business and the community."
Other key speakers at the conference included:
Eddie Cullen, Ulster Bank
Tony Hanway, Virgin Business
Deirdre Somers, Irish Stock Exchange
Simon Harris, Minister for Health
Barney Reynolds, Shearman & Sterling
Angela Knight CBE, Brewin Dolphin
Marie Hunt, CBRE
Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland, Ulster Bank
Eithne O’Leary, Stifel
James Lisbon, Mishcon de Reya
John McGrath, Dawn Farm Foods
Maree Gallagher, EU Food Lawyer
Sinead McSweeney, Twitter
Iseult Ward, Food Cloud
Baroness Glenys Thornton, The Young Foundation
Ruairi Quinn, Former Minister for Education
Karen Tyner, Bord Bia
Kevin Sheridan, Sheridan Cheesemongers