The IIEA is 30! Celebrating 30 Years of Sharing Ideas 1991- 2021

IIEA26th April 20216min
The IIEA is 30! Celebrating 30 Years of Sharing Ideas 1991- 2021



In May 2021 we will celebrate 30 years since the IIEA was founded. Since then, the IIEA has played a key role in informing public discourse on European affairs in Ireland, through numerous referenda campaigns, the financial and economic crisis, and more recently, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Today, our mission to share ideas and shape policy, remains as relevant as it was 30 years ago. Public debate, analysis and reflection are of even greater critical importance in the age of misinformation.

To commemorate this milestone, throughout May we will welcome thought-leaders and decision-makers from across Europe and around the world. To honour our commitment to fostering public engagement and debate all events hosted by the IIEA in May will be open to the public and free to attend.

As part of this commemoration, the Institute will also remember its Founder and late President, Brendan Halligan. Earlier this year we launched the ‘Brendan Halligan Essay Competition’ to pay tribute to Brendan’s commitment to fostering public debate on European affairs among young people. The winning essay, chosen by a committee chaired by Prof. Brigid Laffan will be published by the IIEA in May.

In the third week of May, running from Monday, 17 May to Friday, 21 May, the IIEA will host a weeklong series of keynote lectures and panel discussions, as the centrepiece of our month of celebrations. These events will focus on the pressing issues that will shape Ireland, Europe and the world, over the next 30 years.

An Taoiseach Michael Martin will open the week giving the first ‘Brendan Halligan Memorial Lecture’, which will be chaired by Catherine Day, IIEA Board Member and former Secretary-General of the European Commission on Monday 17 May. This speech will consider Ireland’s role in a changing European Union. Register via Zoom here:

On Tuesday 18 May we will turn our focus to Anglo-Irish relations and peace on the island of Ireland. Two events will consider the distance travelled in the past 30 years and the challenges ahead. IIEA DG Michael Collins will host a conversation between former PM Tony Blair and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, discussing peace and stability on the island of Ireland. Register for this discussion via Zoom here:

This discussion will be followed by a panel discussion on the future of Anglo-Irish relations featuring: Matt Carthy TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture; Dr Katy Hayward, Professor of Political Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast; The Rt Hon Julian Smith MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; and Claire Sugden MLA, former Minister for Justice of Northern Ireland. You can sign up now for this discussion via Zoom here:

On Wednesday 19 May a panel discussion will consider the role think tanks play in informing public debate, in the age of fake news and misinformation. Directors of leading international think tanks will discuss what international cooperation will look like over the next 30 years. Speakers include Dr Rosa Balfour, Director of Carnegie Europe; Dr Robin Niblett, Director & CEO of Chatham House; and Dr Nathalie Tocci, Executive Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), chaired by IIEA Chief Economist Dan O’Brien. Sign up for this timely discussion via Zoom here:

On Thursday 20 May the IIEA brings together Paschal Donohoe TD, President of the Eurogroup and Minister for Finance of Ireland and Prof. Philip Lane, Chief Economist and Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), in a discussion chaired by Dr. Frances Ruane, Economists and former Director of the ESRI. The discussion will consider the transformation of Europe’s economy over the past 30 years and look ahead at challenges related to the COVID19 pandemic, global tax reform efforts, and emerging protectionist tendencies around the world. Register for this discussion via Zoom here:

On Friday 21 May, focus will turn to Ireland’s relationship with the United States. To outline the economic agenda of the Biden-Harris Administration, with particular regard to global corporate tax reform and the COVID-19 recovery stimulus package, the IIEA will welcome Congressman Richard Neal, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, United States House of Representatives. Sign up for this webinar discussion via Zoom here:

Additional Speakers throughout the month of May include:

  • Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Wednesday 5 May
  • Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Friday 7 May
  • Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice President & Commissioner for Trade, Tuesday 11 May
  • Lawrence H. Summers, President Emeritus Harvard University and former US Secretary of the Treasury, Wednesday 12 May
  • Minister Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Thursday 13 May
  • Kevin Rudd, President and CEO of the Asia Society and former Prime Minister of Australia, Friday, 14 May
  • Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, Thursday 27 May
  • Minister Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Thursday, 27 May
  • Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Monday 31 May


Reflecting on the IIEA’s 30th anniversary milestone, IIEA Chairperson Ruairí Quinn said: “The IIEA is as committed to our founding mission today as we were 30 years ago. We bring decision makers, stakeholders and the wider public together to share ideas and shape policy”.

He continued: “Enormous political, economic, social and environmental change has taken place over the last 30 years. Since 1991 the IIEA has sought to bring clarity and understanding to those issues and their impact on Ireland, ranging from the introduction of the Euro to the enlargement of the EU, to the global financial crisis and more recently to Brexit”.

Commenting on the IIEA’s 30th anniversary programme of events, IIEA Director General, Michael Collins said: “Throughout the month of May, the IIEA will host close to 20 online events on a range of pressing international and European issues such as the future direction of the European Union, global development, Anglo-Irish relations, climate action, the future of the European economy, transatlantic relations and much more”.

He added: “We will bring together some of the most distinguished global thought-leaders and decision-makers in their respective fields to share their insights and expertise. Over the past 30 years the Institute has been committed to fostering public debate. To reflect this, all of our events in May will be open to all and free to attend.”

For all media enquires contact our Communications Team.

Hannah Deasy, Communications Director:

Darragh Moriarty, Press Officer: