Ever since its formation in 1972, the British-Irish Association has played a valuable role in bringing key people together to debate relationships across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

It has made a significant contribution to the progress made in Northern Ireland over the past decades and it continues to set the agenda on how to build on that achievement.

Its annual conference is an essential forum.

The British-Irish Association
Clarendon House
52 Cornmarket Street

Telephone +44(0)1865 557344

The 2017 conference took place at Downing College, Cambridge.  At a time of growing pressure on the relationship between the UK and Ireland, around 150 influential people met together to discuss positive ways to sustain that enduring and vital relationship after Brexit.

Key speakers included the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government in the Welsh Government, and the European Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King.

A particular focus of the conference was Brexit’s likely impact on senses of identity, cultural attitudes, poverty and peace in Northern Ireland.

Also during the course of the weekend, Lord Dubs talked about his successful work in support of child refugees and Roisin McDonough of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland described the crucial role the arts play in a strong and stable society. The musician Philip King took up that theme in a subtle exploration of shared cultures and John Concannon of Creative Ireland gave a vivid presentation on the 1916 commemorations, which was of particular value to those conference participants who are now considering the other potentially contentious anniversaries that fall within the next five years.

The 2018 conference will be held on 7-9 September.

Attendance at BIA conferences is by invitation of the Executive Committee.  For more information please contact us.