The Scottish government’s Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe, Michael Russell MSP, will deliver the 2017 Irish Association for Contemporary European Studies (IACES) Annual Lecture on Friday, 21 April 2017 at 11am in G03, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork. The talk comes at an auspicious time as the UK moves towards a general election on 8 June and as the European Union launches the formal negotiations on Brexit. Mr. Russell’s address will address the Brexit negotiations and the approach the devolved Scottish Administration in Edinburgh will take to the talks.

Michael Russell MSPSpeaking about the timing of this event, the President of IACES, Dr Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork), said: ‘even a glance at some of the issues currently making European and global headlines highlights the importance of this event. The opening of the talks on Brexit, a growing refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in major EU cities, confrontations at Europe’s borders, and a faltering and uneven economic recovery are posing profound challenges for the EU, its member-states and people. There is a distinct nervousness about the result of Sunday’s French Presidential election as the gap between the top four candidates in the polls continues to narrow. An impending UK general election only makes for an even more turbulent political environment’.

She continued: ‘The decision by Theresa May to trigger Article 50 threw up stark issues for Scotland, which voted to Remain within the European Union by a huge margin of 62 per cent (to 38 per cent for Leave). Scottish independence is now very much back on the agenda and the SNP administration in Edinburgh has made it clear that Scotland will not be taken out of the EU against the will of its people’.

Vice President of IACES, Professor John O’ Brennan of Maynooth University said: ‘The accelerated nature of recent developments underlines the urgent need for deep and thoughtful assessment about how Brexit is posing enormous challenges for seemingly settled constitutional questions across the United Kingdom and the island of Ireland. Minister Russell will address those questions from a Scottish perspective and consider what form Scotland’s relations with Ireland might take in the future’.

Dr Murphy warmly welcomed Minister Russell’s contribution noting that: ‘it continues the IACES mission of bringing together scholars, practitioners and commentators to address timely issues relating to European integration and to consider the evolving nature of Ireland’s membership of the EU’.

This event is free and open to all. Register here. Further inquiries: info@iaces.ie.

18 April 2017