Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys has officially launched an innovative conference to be held at a county Monaghan school. The event, which takes place on the last weekend of October, aims to examine the future of the Irish border in the context of Brexit. There is an impressive array of national and international experts attending. The conference, which is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Communicating Europe Initiative, takes place at the campus of Our Lady’s Secondary, Castleblayney on October 26- ‘Brexit weekend’.
Among those speaking are Dr Peter Leary (Oxford Brookes University), Dr Ed Burke (University of Nottingham), Dr Thomas Leahy (Cardiff University) and well known Irish historian Dr Brian Hanley. Each of these have published major works on the border. Also contributing will be Monaghan authors Darach MacDonald and Patrick Mulroe, who have both written well received works on the topic. Additionally, speakers will be in attendance from community groups, such as the Border Communities Against Brexit, as well as former MEP Marian Harkin. The final session of the day will include presentations from agriculture specialist Senator Ian Marshall and Dr Katy Hayward (Queen’s University). Dr Hayward is generally regarded as the leading expert on Brexit in Ireland and her presence is sure to attract a large crowd.
The Principal of Our Lady’s, Mr Eddie Kelly, complimented those involved in organising the event;
“We pride ourselves on being innovative in this school and this event is a good example of that. We have parents, teachers and students on an organising committee working away for months to make this event happen and I am delighted with the interest it is generating. We introduced Politics and Society as a Leaving Certificate course this year and the conference fits in very well with that. Obviously, there is concern in the community over Brexit and we see the conference as part of our role as educators in the broadest sense.”
Echoing Mr Kelly’s words, Minister Humphreys stated;
“This is a very significant event. That it is taking place in a school is particularly important as I know there is considerable concern among young people about the potential implications of Brexit, especially in terms of educational opportunities. The Department of Foreign Affairs is to be commended for supporting this conference and I am sure those who attend will have a very informative day.”
The event is free but places are limited and attendees require a pre booked ticket. Those interested can get register by visiting the Eventbrite link on the school’s website www.olss.ie or its twitter page @olssblayney.