Emerging Voices Group

The Emerging Voices Group

The Emerging Voices Group is a cornerstone of the IIEA’s Future of the EU27 project, which aims to add a fresh perspective to the IIEA’s work. This initiative brings together a group of young people, with an equal gender balance, and from a diverse range of backgrounds and professional experiences. The 26 members were chosen during an open selection process which drew over 100 applications.

The group meets monthly to exchange views on working papers, and contributes to the IIEA’s research programme on the future of Europe. In 2019, the IIEA will publish a collection of essays, research and policy papers from the group on a wide range of topics concerning Ireland and the European Union.

The purpose of this initiative is to convene a group of young thought leaders who want to share their visions and ideas for Ireland’s place in the future of the EU27 and to further their understanding of European Union affairs.

Members of the group are keen to contribute to both the national debate and the IIEA’s work, drawing on the expertise they have acquired in their professional experiences, ranging from the public and private sectors, to NGOs and academia.

 Below you can learn more about the Emerging Voices Group members, with more profiles to be added soon.

Aaron Burnett

I’m a German-Canadian Writer and Policy Analyst specializing in European politics and international security—which is a fancy way of saying that I’m a foreign policy nerd! My grandparents emigrated from Germany to Canada shortly after WWII—a war during which they should have been enjoying their childhoods, but instead were forced to grow up far too quickly. Aside from being my first German teachers, their stories helped me appreciate the visionary project of peace and cooperation that is Europe today. After earning a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada, I spent nearly three years as a radio broadcaster in my hometown of Calgary before heading to Berlin to complete my Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance, focusing on the EU. After completing internships at the United Nations in New York and the European Commission in Brussels, I earned a Master’s in International Peace & Security from King’s College London. As I’ve witnessed populism take its toll on political discourse, I’ve been motivated to do my bit for the Future of Europe—campaigning for the UK’s Liberal Democrats, the citizens’ rights group British in Germany, and now as a member of the IIEA’s Emerging Voices Panel—where I want to help see Europe—with Ireland at its core—plot a successful future together.

Anna Nichols

My name is Anna and I am originally from Wicklow. I have an LLB from Trinity College Dublin in Law and Political Science and am currently undertaking a Masters in Law at LSE. If I have learnt one thing from working at top legal firms in Dublin and London, representing Ireland internationally at the European Youth Parliament and serving on the Council of the world’s oldest student debating society, it is that the law cannot be reformed or created in a vacuum of perspectives if it is to effectively serve the groups it intends to protect. I found this to be true for matters in all sizes, from data protection rights for an individual to withdrawal procedures for an entire country under Brexit. During my short time as a graduate these experiences have included working on a number of EU-law related projects in Matheson solicitors, and being part of the governance and tech events at the world’s largest tech conference, WebSummit in Lisbon, last November. What excites me most about being part of the Panel is the diversity of professional and social backgrounds of its participants, and the calibre of experts with which we have the opportunity to share our output. I hope our discussions challenge us to advocate for our views while remaining open to incorporating the viewpoints of others. I look forward to bringing a legal and internationally focused perspective alongside academic and professional insights on European law to the discussions and work of the group.”  

Anne Byrne

I’m Anne Byrne, a Kildare native enjoying living in Dublin for the last 10+ years. I work as a management consultant in Deloitte’s public sector practice. I am co-lead of GovLab, Deloitte’s public sector innovation offering, where I get to apply my interest in human centred design and innovation. After graduating with a BA in Business and Political Science, I worked in industrial relations as an IR/HR Executive with Ibec. Whilst working, I completed a postgraduate diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies. I’m by no means EU “expert”, but am delighted to be on the Emerging Voices Panel. I believe that the EU is a worthwhile endeavour for Ireland, and for all Member States, in particular in respect of its social aspirations. I was motivated to join the panel by what I see a widening disconnect, or perception of disconnect, between EU policy and EU citizens. I hope to bring the “voice of the citizen” to the Panel, and the Future of the EU27 project. I am a proud feminist and am particularly interested in issues of equality, social inclusion, LGBT rights and prisoners’ rights.

Anne Fitzpatrick

I am a barrister and lecturer specialising in European Union law. I am a graduate of Law and French (LLB (Ling Franc), Trinity College Dublin) and European Legal Studies (LLM, College of Europe, Bruges), and am currently lecturing EU Law at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns and as a guest lecturer in EU law at the Law Society of Ireland.  I recently finished my term as Assistant Director of the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College Dublin and my research interests lie in EU institutional and procedural law, Justice and Home Affairs, EU environmental and external relations law. I have previously undertaken traineeships at the Court of Justice of the European Union (Cabinet of Judge Aindrias Ó Caoimh, Bar Council Bursary, 2014-15) and the European Commission Legal Service (Blue Book Stagiaire, Justice, Liberty and Security Team, 2012) and was a member of the Presidency Planning Team at the Department of the Taoiseach ahead of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2013. I was also a Judicial Researcher to the Irish Superior Courts and research coordinator to the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary and previously held roles as a legal and policy advisor to the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) in Brussels and as a research associate at an international law firm.  

Ann Marie Collins

Originally from Meath, I am an Irish Traveller with a passion for increasing opportunities for those from ethnic minority backgrounds having experienced how access to education through the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) changed my entire life trajectory in such a positive way. In 2017, I qualified as an Occupational Therapist from TCD and went on to complete a yearlong Fellowship for an educational NGO which looks to increase educational progression within underserved schools throughout the States and Ireland. Since my return home, I have started my role as a Community Development Worker for the Travelling Community of East Cork. Based in Cumann Na Daoine in Youghal, Cork, much of my role involves giving the Travellers of East Cork a voice, building their confidence and creating awareness of social issues that impact the community. Alongside this, I have a passion for public speaking and promoting attitudinal change towards and within the Travelling community, and have had the honour to do so at Oxford University, England and most recently, Villanova University, Philadelphia. While I thoroughly enjoy working on the ground in the community, I also have an interest in our national, European and global communities and how they are influenced and/or impacted by European and International affairs. I am grateful for this opportunity to be on the Emerging Voices Panel at IIEA and I hope to use this supportive environment and its influential platform to learn from others and share ideas on the future of Europe.  

Artur Banaszkiewicz

I am an entrepreneur, community activist and education enthusiast. My professional experience diversely encompasses comparing economic policies and running businesses. I worked for Economic and Trade Sections of the Polish Embassy in Dublin, as International Trade Advisor (2009-2015) facilitating trade and supporting companies in internationalization. I reported on policies, law harmonisation and the Irish digital and innovation agenda. Being passionate about education, I opened and managed an Irish branch of the University of Social Sciences where I also taught economy-related subjects. Currently, I manage industry partnerships and international sales at Digital Skills Academy. Being a fan of diverse experience and an entrepreneur, I have been involved in various ventures, ranging from water meter installation companies to recruiting international students for medical schools in Poland (Medical Poland). I have strongly supported the Polish community in Ireland by organising and running leadership programmes, conferences and workshops on career-building and entrepreneurship. Through Forum Polonia, I had the pleasure to co-orchestrate a social campaign encouraging voting in Irish local elections and European Parliament elections 2014 that resulted in putting over 2500 names on the voter register and educating migrants about their rights and obligations in Irish society. I graduated from Abertay University Dundee (Scotland) and Poznan University of Economics (Poland) where I studied international trade, business and entrepreneurship. I hope to contribute to the project through my own personal experience of settling in Ireland and observations from other countries I lived in, as well as a migrant perspective on education, empowerment, economy and society.

Brian Denvir

I’m an energy policy and technology specialist working in the renewable energy sector. I currently work for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, supporting the Irish government to develop policy to close the gap to achieving Ireland’s climate change targets. Before this I worked in the UK as a consultant to businesses and government, helping them transition to more sustainable energy alternatives. I’m a Belfast native now living in Dublin. I hope to bring a perspective on climate change and the environment to the Emerging Voices Panel. Ireland’s response to climate change has been coordinated through the EU and this relationship is important in ensuring Ireland steps up to the plate and delivers on commitments to decouple economic growth from environmental impact.

Cathal Kavanagh

Chinedum Muotto

“Kedu, aha m bụ Chinedum” – My name is Chinedum Muotto I am passionate about self-development and discovery through the arts. I am currently completing my Master’s in Race, Migration and Decolonization studies at UCD. I am pursuing this master’s programme as a means to contextualize my lived experiences as a migrant within western society. I believe it will provide me with the tools to navigate and challenge political institutions and to influence integration based on Ubuntu philosophy. Professionally, I have worked in The Hague, Washington D.C. and Walldorf, Germany with both private organizations and E.U. institutions. My leadership skills were recognized through my participation in The Washington Ireland Programme Class of 2016 and most recently by being awarded the 2018 Global Citizen Award through my involvement in The EIL Explore – Global Awareness Programme advocating for the UN Sustainable Development Goal for Good Health in Mexico. My involvement in arts has varied from hosting a quarter-final round of the 2016 Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival in Washington DC, to curating an event exploring respective African cultures and identities as part of the Dublin International Literature Festival 2017. Being part of the Emerging Voices Group provides a platform to represent ethnic minorities who are largely under-represented within political discourses in Ireland. I aim to challenge xenophobia and the politics of belonging in Ireland. We must ask ourselves, who really gets to belong as we construct fortress Europe based on European values and beliefs.

Christine Andreeva

Ciarán O’Driscoll

Currently I am an economic researcher with the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), Ireland’s dedicated development, promotional and marketing agency for the shipping and shipping services sector. My educational and research background has allowed me to understand the EU’s legal institutional architecture and political policy processes, knowledge which I will bring to this exciting initiative by the IIEA. I hold an MA from University of Limerick on European integration, where my research focused on the Common Fisheries Policy. In conjunction with my work at the IMDO, I’m perusing a research MSc from NUI Galway on Brexit’s possible impact on Ireland’s maritime trade options. Previously, I’ve produced research for NUI Galway on Brexit’s likely impact on Ireland’s sea fisheries, with quotas and access the key issues involved. I’ve contributed to the Marine Times and the Irish Skipper with pieces on fishery policy developments at the EU level, in particular the 2013 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, and lectured on the EU at UCD. More recently, I was a facilitator for European Movement Ireland’s Citizen’s Dialogue, part of the EU’s wider ‘Future of Europe’ initiative.

Clodagh Bergin

Conor O’Neill

I’m a researcher and advisor in Seanad Éireann. I’m passionate about human rights, and most recently I’ve been working on legislative initiatives regarding Ireland’s immigration & asylum systems, as well as international humanitarian law considerations in trade & foreign policy. I focus mainly on three Oireachtas committees: Justice & Equality, the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and Brexit. Before moving back to Ireland last year I spent four years working inside and outside the EU institutions in Brussels. Most of that time was with a human rights NGO, researching young people’s political participation and working on advocacy campaigns in response. I studied in Dublin, and have an M.Sc. in International Politics and a B.A. in Business & Politics from Trinity College. I’ve also worked as a teaching assistant in TCD, helping to deliver the final year undergraduate international relations course. I like campaigning, and in 2014 I co-founded We’re Coming Back, a civil society network advocating for voting rights for Irish citizens abroad. I’ve spoken in public forums, written in newspapers (and given out around barstools) on that issue and many others, and love to hear people speaking passionately about the things they care about. I’m interested in a rights-based, internationalist, inclusive vision for the European Union – one that can deliver on the demands of social justice – and I’m excited to debate it as part of the Emerging Voices Group.

David Higgins

I work as a European political analyst with a specific focus on the influence of politics on banking systems. I am interested in contributing to ideas on the future of the Eurozone and the European economy. My interest in European politics was spurred from a young age when I took part in the European Youth Parliament in school. I have been active in Fine Gael for many years, serving on the National Executive of Young Fine Gael as Dublin Organiser from 2013-2015. I studied Management Science and Information Systems Studies (MSISS) in Trinity College which places a strong focus on statistics and problem-solving. During my studies, I spent two years developing a statistical model to forecast individual seats for Irish general elections. I launched this model for the 2016 election as irishelectionstats.com, successfully forecasting 83% of seats. As a European Political Analyst, I follow developments closely both in Brussels and in the Member States, writing detailed research on a variety of political parties and their policies. I visit several European capital cities annually and meet with politicians, economists, journalists and others. I am currently sitting CFA exams (Chartered Financial Analyst).

Eimhin McEvoy

Originally hailing from Co. Laois, I now work as a management consultant and trainee chartered accountant for PwC here in Dublin. While I work in the private sector my interests have always been in the public sphere. Much like my choice of academic fields in business, law, politics and economics my decision to enter management consulting was based on international opportunity, access to influential professionals and organisations with private and public sector exposure. What drives me is an innate curiosity for how we as a globalised society structure and organise ourselves in the public and private spheres for the betterment of everyone and how these structures and organisations can be improved and refined taking into account the latest data, policy, technology and thought leadership. I read corporate law and French at NUIG while spending my Erasmus year in France earning a diploma in political science from SciencesPo Aix-en-Provence. It was during this time that I first came into contact with the IIEA as a forum for dialogue while working as a stagiaire with Fianna Fáil at the European Parliament in Brussels. This interest and relationship was compounded by further internships with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ permanent representation to the OECD in Paris and at the United Nations headquarters in New York where I worked as an economic attaché and finance analyst respectively. In the past few years I have become increasingly concerned and vocal for Ireland’s position in the world and that of Europe’s after spending 9 months living, studying and working in Brazil as part of my Master’s degree program at the UCD Smurfit Business School. It is for this reason that have chosen to contribute to the IIEA Emerging Voices Group, where I hope to write on the subjects of our international and European relations, the environment, migration and economic development.  

Nadia Reeves Long

I work as a Digital Business Partner, having worked as a Policy Analyst in the banking industry for the past two years. In this role, I worked on designing credit policies to ensure new lending and the resolution of financial difficulties was in line with European regulations and appropriate for the risk appetite. In my new role, I work in the innovation hub of a bank, focusing on the end to end implementation of new processes and products from design to business adoption. In my spare time, I am the current chair of the Young Greens, the youth branch of the Green Party. In this capacity, I work with the committee to manage the activities of the Young Greens and I sit on the executive committee of the main party representing the youth voice. We drive policy engagement, fundraising activities and activism, ensuring that the Young Greens are an important part of the main party and the community. As a half-French, half-Irish person, European integration and the ongoing success of the European project has always been of interest to me. I ultimately believe that Europe has to be a world leader in human rights, climate change and stable democracy and this can only work if the countries are willing to work towards common goals and values.  

Paul McKeon

I work as a civil servant in the legal department of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Prior to my current role I worked in a research, advocacy and information-based role for furthering the rights of socially and economically disadvantaged groups and people living in poverty in Dublin’s Inner City. I have a working background in a social care setting and have worked previously with disadvantaged youth in a number of highly secure residential care settings. Since 2009 I have also worked in the area of policing with An Garda Siochána. I have an Honours degree in Community and Social Development from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and a postgraduate degree in Applied Social Studies from Trinity College Dublin. Before returning to education to complete my Leaving Certificate, I played professional football in Scotland in the Scottish Premier League and was called up on a number of occasions to represent Northern Ireland national underage soccer team. The main consideration that attracted me to the EU27 project was to highlight the exclusion of socio-economic status-based discrimination from Irish equality legislation and also from much of our discussion or understanding around equality in recent times. I feel that a big reason a lot of people from lower socio economic backgrounds in the UK voted to leave the EU was because unlike other excluded groups in the UK, the type of discrimination and exclusion they face is not acknowledged or prohibit similar to other forms of discrimination based on Race, Gender, Age etc. Going forward in a Irish and EU context, I feel now is the time to start a discussion around why there is a need to acknowledge and include this form of discrimination into our legislation and to discuss why the Irish Government have refused to include it as a 10th ground in our Equality legislation since 1998. I feel inclusion is vital as there is emerging perceptions among those in lower socio-economic groups, in Ireland and the EU that there exists a hierarchy of equality where some issues are more accepted than others. I feel this can lead to resentment at national and EU level in regards to how beneficial, valued, protected or integrated people from lowered socio economic groups feel in Ireland and as a whole within the EU.

Róisín Costello

I hold an LL.B. from Trinity College Dublin as well as Masters degrees in International Affairs and Law from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris and Georgetown Law respectively. I have worked as a trainee at the Council of Europe and was a Fellow of the Institute for International Economic Law at Georgetown and a research assistant at the Law School’s Centre for Privacy and Technology Law during my time in Washington D.C. During my LL.M. I also worked with the Electronic Privacy Information Centre in Washington D.C. covering consumer protection and public interest law in relation to digital goods and services. Following graduation, I worked in London and Dublin in law and policy, including with the Institute for International and European Affairs. I have previously acted as a local expert for the World Bank’s 2017 Report on Women, Business and the Law and have undertaken pro-bono work for the American Bar Association, New Orleans Public Defender and Virginia Innocence Project. I am currently undertaking my Ph.D. at Trinity College Dublin where my doctoral research focuses on the impacts of digital technologies on fundamental rights within the European Union. My interest in the Emerging Voices Group is tied to this work and my interest in Ireland’s potential to act as a leader in technology regulation within the EU as well as the future of the Rule of Law in Europe, specifically post-Brexit.

Sara Stephens

My undergraduate degree was in Religions, focusing on Middle Eastern religions, and I spent a year of this degree studying in Jerusalem. I then went on to do a Master’s in International Peace Studies concentrating on gender and conflict. Following my Masters’, I worked in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on Irish engagement with Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and Irish membership of International Research Organisations. I then moved to Kenya for a year and worked as a Human Rights Monitor during the period of Kenya’s 2017 General Elections and repeat Presidential Election. I returned to Dublin to work as part of the Protection Team with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and am currently Coordinator of Refugee Resettlement in County Offaly, overseeing an eighteen-month project of the arrival and settlement of twenty-six Syrian families to the county, under Ireland’s Relocation and Resettlement commitments. I am interested in the role of the European Union in promoting peace, providing development aid and the relationships with countries at its borders. I am also concerned about the EU’s fundamental values of respect for human dignity and human rights and whether these values stretch to those beyond the EU’s borders. Having worked in human rights and refugee protection in both policy and hands-on roles, I bring a unique perspective to this project and am keen to develop my understanding of the European Union through the project.

Simon Twist

I work for the Financial Services Advisory department of Grant Thornton. I am based in the offices of one of our clients, helping with the potential sale of large portfolios of assets to overseas investment funds. Previously, I completed a six-month internship in corporate finance at PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. After an undergraduate in Science at UCD, I completed the Higher Diploma in Statistics, the MA Qualifier in Economics and the coursework component of the MA in Economics, all at UCD, which constitutes a Graduate Diploma in Economics. I then went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting at DIT. I have been an individual member of the IIEA since 2011. The strand of thinking about the European Union that I would like to bring to the Panel is found powerfully in the book Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World by William Mitchell and Thomas Fazi, and in an address by Richard Tuck to the Policy Exchange think tank on the 17th of July 2017.

Ursula Quill

As we adjust to post-Brexit Europe we in Ireland need to turn our attention to other long-term geopolitical situations, such as the continuing fallout of the economic crisis, changing demographics and climate change. These offer the chance for all of us interested in the future of our continent to create a more socially inclusive and sustainable Europe. Through working with colleagues on the Emerging Voices Group, I hope to learn from them and contribute to the exciting programme of work, at the IIEA. We need to ensure that the institute remains relevant and makes an impact at this vital time. Having long been passionate about justice and human rights, I came to study law through my work as a parliamentary assistant. Since March 2016 I have worked with Senator Ivana Bacik, having previously worked with Senator Sean Barrett on the Banking Inquiry. I have keenly followed the progression of Brexit negotiations to date and I was on the drafting team of the Labour Party’s Brexit policy paper published in 2017. I have just completed first year of the Diploma in Legal Studies at the King’s Inns, and hold a first class honours degree in English and Irish from Trinity College Dublin, where I was Auditor of the Hist, and a HDip in Psychology from UCD.

William Quill

I am a barrister, working primarily in the area of asylum and immigration. I worked in the campaign offices of Ireland for Europe for the Lisbon Treaty campaign in 2009 and Alliance for Ireland for the Stability Treaty campaign in 2012. I served as Director of Policy of Young Fine Gael and have been on the committee of Fine Gael LGBT since its inception in 2012. I worked with both local campaigns and legal professional group in the marriage equality and the recent Eighth Amendment campaigns. As the European Union faces increasing challenges, from Brexit to ensuring the rule of law, Ireland should form a leading role in promoting an open, liberal Europe, with institutions that have a connection to its people. I hope to bring my experience of political campaigns, whether on European Treaties, elections, or social issues to the IIEA.