Former Taoiseach to deliver keynote opening address

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Military historian Dr William Sheehan

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is one of several influential and high-profile speakers lined up to deliver keynote speeches at a major economic and political think-tank in Killarney next Thursday and Friday.

The former Fianna Fail leader will give the opening address to the second annual Killarney Economic Conference in The Brehon/INEC complex on Thursday afternoon and the eyes and ears of the national and international media will focus on his every word.

It is now 12 months since DUP leader, Arlene Foster, made the symbolic and conciliatory gesture of addressing the inaugural Killarney Economic Conference but one year on, the Irish border backstop remains the key issue in the Brexit withdrawal process.

This year’s gathering of economic, civic and political leaders, from Britain and Ireland, is aptly timed with the UK parliament poised to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal that same week. The outcome, impact and implications of that vote will be discussed by the expert panel of speakers, drawn from business, academia, politics and media.

Specific topics for discussion will include an exploration of the legal issues raised by Brexit, building a collaborative and open political future, the challenges posed to businesses and how to respond and the regulatory fall-out in banking and finance.

“Our conference this year takes place in a critical and historic week and there is still so much uncertainty,” said conference organiser and military historian Dr William Sheehan.

“Our goal is to bring some light to the way ahead for businesses and organisations and, given the calibre of our speakers, I know we will do that.”

Ryanair Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew
Kerry County Council CEO Moira Murrell

In addition to former Taoiseach Ahern, speakers for the Killarney Economic Conference 2019 include Mark Kennedy, Mazars; Ed Sibley, Central Bank; Prof Eilis Ferran, University of Cambridge; Dr Stephen Kinsella, University of Limerick; Prof Ursula Kilkelly, UCC; Dr Georges Baur, ex-EFTA, Liechtenstein Institute; Prof Catherine Barnard, University of Cambridge; Dr Holger Hestermeyer, Kings College London and Dr William Sheehan, conference organiser and military historian.

Also contributing will be David Clarke, Scottish Irish Finance Initiative; Moira Murrell, Kerry County Council; Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, Údarás na Gaeltachta; Ruth McCarthy, Fexco; Dr Mary C Murphy, University College Cork; Prof Brigid Laffan, European University Institute; Henry Newman, Open Europe and Dr Edward Burke, University of Nottingham.

DUP leader Arlene Foster addressing delegates at the inaugural Killarney Economic Conference last January.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

Others to take to the podium at the Brehon/INEC will be Denis McShane, UK Labour; Mark Hennessy, The Irish Times; Doug Beattie, Ulster Unionist Party; John McGrane, British Irish Chamber of Commerce; Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fáil; Lucinda Creighton, Vulcan Consulting; Dr Simon Kingston, British Irish Association; Peter Bellew, COO, Ryanair; Dr Orla Flynn, Cork Institute of Technology; Michael Russell MSP, Scottish Government and Micheál Martin, Leader, Fianna Fáil.

The conference will begin at lunchtime on Thursday next, with a half-day forum followed by dinner that evening. On Friday, the debates and discussions will continue for a full day conference.

The Killarney Economic Conference is organised in partnership with the Killarney Convention Centre and The Brehon and combined gala dinner and full day conference tickets, which are now available, cost €295. The conference ticket costs €250 and the gala dinner costs €80. Discounts are available, on request, for students, NGOs and public sector employees.

For more information or to book a ticket for what promises to be a fascinating, informative and engaging event visit

© We have changed the face of local news coverage
Advertise with Kerry’s premier news source: Over 300,000 views every month. Over 20,000 followers on Facebook. Call 087-2229761