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Democracy Under Attack: MacGill School 2018

The 2018 MacGill Summer School focused on “The Future of Ireland in a New Europe: The challenge Ahead”. As is the practice, the published programme set down the background to the session and said that little was being heard in day to day discourse of the Union’s record on human rights and its defence of freedoms and and this was happening at a time when democracy itself was under attack.The programme went on to say that Europe was threatened within and without by extremist ideologies, aggressive regimes, discrimination and the rejection of democratic values. It consequently argued that the need for a strong Europe had never been greater. This paper opened the session on European values and took as its theme the organisers’ belief that democracy was under attack and clearly in peril.

 

To read the full text, click here or download a PDF here.

 

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McGill Summer School paper 2017

AT THE CENTRE OF THE UNION: Ireland can and must play a full part

MacGill Summer School 2017 paper by Brendan Halligan

 

In his recent address to the MacGill Summer School, Brendan Halligan looked at Ireland’s current situation in Europe in the light of BREXIT and discusses how, “there is one eminently pragmatic reason to be at the centre, and it’s economic. The disruption from Brexit will be widespread and long lasting and far greater here than in any other EU state.” But remaining at the centre of the EU will not only protect Ireland, but present it with a whole new gamut of possibilities

To read/download a PDF of this document, click here or scroll down.


 

Introduction

A Union without Britain will be a challenge in its own right. Ireland playing a full part at the centre of that Union only magnifies what is already a huge challenge, the biggest since 1939 in the words of Ruairi Quinn.

In considering how we respond, I want to start with what the Union is and what is meant by the centre, in which we‘re being asked to play a full part.

Franco/German Project

The Union is a Franco/German project. They are building a European home together. 

Other countries may join in, but must obey the rules. Joining is voluntary. You don’t have to join. Membership is voluntary too. You don’t have to stay. You can leave if you want to. And if you misbehave, you can be asked to go.

The European Union was famously described as ‘Journey to an Unknown Destination‚‘ by Andrew Shonfield in his Reith Lectures given in 1972. It has a history of progressively enlarging its membership, extending its activities and deepening the interdependence of its members. Progress goes forward in spurts, sometimes at speed. I suspect we are at such a moment. (more…)

Brexit Insight Issue 9: A Perfect Storm?

This article by Brendan Halligan appeared as analysis number 9
in the “Brexit Insight” series on the IIEA website.

Brexit Insight No 9 by Brendan Halligan

Previous issues of the Brexit Insight have identified the danger of a breakdown in the Brexit negotiations even before the talks begin. Far from disappearing, the danger has been increased by a combination of developments in the EU and separately in the UK. We may be facing into a perfect storm as the following analysis explains.

Introduction

Things have definitely taken a turn for the worst. The chances of a breakdown in the Brexit talks have increased from 30% to over 50%. And this is before the talks have even begun. They are now expected to start by mid June after the new British government has been put in place. Monday the 19th has been pencilled in.

Three developments have shortened the odds on a breakdown; adoption of the EU negotiating mandate, the publication of the Conservative Party election manifesto and the elaboration of the UK’s negotiating position.

EU Negotiating Mandate

Taking them in turn, the EU negotiating mandate now has the force of law having been adopted by the General Affairs Council on Monday, 22 May. A draft had been in circulation for weeks and had worked its way through the Union’s decision-making process but the key point remains the same: the EU has instructed its negotiator, Michel Barnier, to follow a prescribed agenda in which the UK’s Brexit Bill is to be settled before negotiations can open on the new trade deal with the UK. (more…)

LAUNCH OF ‘VISION AND REALITY’ BY TONY BROWN AT THE IIEA

vision-reality-cover-blogBrendan Halligan saluted a new book written by IIEA Senior Fellow Tony Brown yesterday at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin. The launch of Vision and Reality – A History of 25 Years of the Institute of International and European Affairs was launched to coincide with the Annual General Meeting of the Institute, and was received with huge enthusiasm by Institute members and attendees at the event.

Halligan praised the book itself for its broad vision: that of capturing the history and development of the Institute in one comprehensive tome. Its seven chapters take us from the origins of the organisation through its actual founding, the nuts and bolts of its development and implementation, the progression of its concept of scholarship, dialogue and activism, the exploration of the many issues it has addressed, and its embracing of the new issues like Climate Change and the digital world.

He noted that “Vision and Reality” is commendable not only for its meticulous attention to detail, but its fine writing style, which allows the reader to enjoy and fully appreciate the depth and breadth of its subject. (more…)

Film by Brendan Halligan and Jim Mulkerns to screen Culture Night 2016

A new version of Capital City Dublin 1974-75, a film by Brendan Halligan and Jim Mulkerns, will have a special advance-launch screening as part of Ireland’s Culture Night, on 16 September, 2016.

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cathedral-1For many years the film existed in silent celluloid only, under the preservation care of the Irish Film Archive.  Then, on the film’s fortieth Anniversary, the idea of a creating a new version of the film came about. Sunniva O’Flynn and Raelene Casey of the Irish Film Archive facilitated conversion of a digital copy of Capital City Dublin 1974-75 for Scáthán, Brendan Halligan’s own publications and media imprint.  Design and technical production on the project came from Jim Mulkerns’s daughter Helena, whose company Cyberscribe created the 2016 titles and look.

Next came a new original soundtrack from Dublin musician Josh Johnston.  Johnston, who had previously worked with the Irish Film Archive as a live accompanist for screenings of his Grandfather Denis’s film, Guests of the Nation. With a launch and select distribution of the DVD to take place in the coming months, this special screening for Culture Night, 16 September 2016, will take place at Dublin’s Unitarian Church  on Stephen’s Green at 10pm.

“Britain and Europe – The Endgame” Introduction Speech by Brendan Halligan

At the recent launch for the new book, “Britain and Europe: the Endgame”, Brendan Halligan gave a speech to introduce his contribution at the Institute of International and European Affairs.  To view the video, click below.  

Britain’s fraught relationship with Europe is analysed in this study prepared by Ireland’s leading think tank, the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).

The third in a series that stretches back over 20 years, the authors argue that the relationship has entered the endgame. If not managed with daring and imagination, it could result in Britain exiting from the European Union, perhaps unwittingly.

The consequences are examined under a number of headings, including: the political and economic future of the United Kingdom; its options for a new external relationship with Europe; the political impact on the European Union; the implications for Ireland, with particular reference to the economy; and on the totality of Irish-British relations, with special attention to the effect on Northern Ireland.

The threat of UK withdrawal requires a unique response. This study proposes a bespoke solution by creating a Union with four cores which would enable Britain to be simultaneously both inside and outside the Union. The proposal has the great merit of dealing with political realities and of preventing a potential disaster for all concerned.

The study closes with a series of recommendations for pre-emptive action by the EU as whole and by Ireland in particular.

The book is edited by Dáithí O’Ceallaigh and Paul Gillespie. It contains chapters by ten contributing authors: Tom Arnold, John Bradley, Tony Brown, Paul Gillespie, Brendan Halligan, Blair Horan, James Kilcourse, John McGrane, Edgar Morgenroth and Dáithí O’Ceallaigh.

It follows two previous books on this theme from the IIEA: ‘Blair’s Britain, England’s Europe – A View from Ireland’ (ed. Paul Gillespie, 2000) and ‘Britain’s European Question: The Issues for Ireland’ (ed. Paul Gillespie, 1996).

 The book can be downloaded here.

 

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From the Archive: Tribute to Altiero Spinelli

Tribute to Altiero Spinelli by Brendan HalliganOne of the founding fathers of the European Union, Altiero Spinelli was a co-author of the historic Ventotene Manifesto, an influential figure in the European federalist movement and later a member of the European Commission, and MEP.

This paper explores the man, his personal story and his success as a European innovator and facilitator.

“It is proper to commemorate Altiero Spinelli when marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Schumann Declaration. Along with Monnet and Delors, he belongs in the European Pantheon dedicated to those who created and built the European Union of today.

He stands in the middle between these two great Frenchmen, for if Monnet gave life to the ideal of integration and nurtured it through its infancy, and if Delors was to steer it from adolescence to early adulthood, it was this great Italian who inspired the first and guided the second, and who led Europe at a moment of crisis on the passage from childhood to adolescence.

In his memoirs, Monnet reminds us that while institutions endure, nothing can be achieved without the individual, that special type of individual who puts their stamp on history and leaves the world a different place; in Spinelli’s case, a better world.  Each of these three men, whose lives overlapped and intertwined, not only understood how the world of politics works, but more importantly, knew how to make it for the purpose of change, transformational change.

Interesting too, that while each was the product of his own intensely local culture, all three focused their intellects and energies on promoting the European ideal; none ever held the highest office in their country; and all three spent the latter part of their career exclusively devoted to European affairs.”  …  (more…)