The 1998 Good Friday Agreement provided the basis for a dramatic improvement in relations on and between these islands. These relations, however, have been placed under strain since the Brexit referendum. To mark the IIEA’s 30th Anniversary, the IIEA is delighted to welcome Bertie Ahern, former Taoiseach, and Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister, for an in-conversation session, chaired by Michael Collins, IIEA Director General, on Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations.
About the Speakers:
Bertie Ahern served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, leading Fianna Fáil into government on three successive occasions in 1997, 2002 and 2007. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1977 for Dublin-Finglas and he went on to represent Dublin Central from 1981 until 2011. Among other roles, he previously served as Minister for Labour, Minister for Finance, Minister for Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht and Minister for Industry and Commerce. A defining moment of his period as Taoiseach, and in Irish history, was the successful negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement between the British and Irish Governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland. Since leaving Government in 2008 he has dedicated much of his time to the issue of Conflict Resolution in several countries.
Tony Blair currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change. He served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, making him the only Labour leader in the party’s 100-year history to win three consecutive elections. During his time in Downing Street, Tony Blair implemented a major domestic reform agenda, including in education and healthcare. During his tenure, crime was reduced by a third, and the first ever national minimum wage was introduced. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair was also a central figure on the global stage helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland through the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and he was a passionate advocate of an interventionist foreign policy. In 2016, he established the Tony Blair Institute for Institute for Global Change, which aims to help make globalisation work for the many, not the few.