The Royal Irish Academy, Ireland's principal learned society, was the venue for ARINS: Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South panel discussion, “Ireland in 2033,” which took place on Friday, August 25.
The panel was chaired by Fintan O'Toole, Ireland's leading critic, journalist, and public intellectual. The panel members were Deirdre Heenan (University of Ulster), Cathy Gormley Heenan (University of Ulster), Michael Kerr (University College, London), and Brendan O'Leary (University of Pennsylvania). Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA) gave the introductory remarks.
This distinguished panel of leading academics discussed the future of Ireland and in particular the intensive preparation that is required before a border poll, which would consider the constitutional position of Northern Ireland, could be called on the island of Ireland. Panelists widely praised the current work programme of the ARINS project for undertaking this necessary research and publishing its non-partisan analysis of the issues.
A distinguished audience of senior civil servants and politicians, members of the diplomatic corps, media, and academia from Ireland and the United States heard calls for the ARINS project to develop and expand its research programme. The panel called, for example, for ARINS to undertake further polling in collaboration with The Irish Times, building upon two previous major, in-depth opinion polls conducted simultaneously in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The clear message from the event was that although change is inevitable, the outcome is not: we need to work together to devise better outcomes for Ireland, North and South.