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Brexit: Our Best Speakers on ‘The Great Unknown’

By August 28, 2019No Comments

It’s almost here. Whether it’s hard or soft, and under the stewardship of Boris Johnson, Brexit is happening at the end of October. And while arguments rage about the scope and nature of its impact, there’s no doubt that it will impact trade and the way we do business with the UK and Europe.

Whatever way it goes – no deal, or deal – it seems to be down to the throw of a dice

This week we got a vox pop of the opinions of some of the economists and business speakers on our roster who write and/or talk extensively about Brexit and what Irish business can expect if, as predicted, the U.K. leaves the EU at the end of October.

Because whether they leave with a bang or a whimper, it seems the U.K. is certainly going, even if not in the way they originally imagined. And we need to adjust to the changes Brexit brings sooner rather than later if we are to make the transition to a different but still positive and productive relationship with our soon-to-be-former EU neighbour.

So here are our speakers on Brexit – the people with something to say that is important, interesting, compelling and engaging.

If you would like to get in touch with us to inquire about having one of them come in to talk, email

David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Author, Journalist, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Documentary Maker

“Brexit is a great opportunity for Ireland……… Capital and talent will flow in here, as the UK loses its lustre for investors.”

David is well-known and highly regarded for his strong yet informed opinions on Brexit (and much else besides).  He has written widely on the topic in his column in the Irish Times, and also spoken about it to organisations and companies across the country.  For David, it’s all about the facts, not the fantasies, of Brexit.


Matt Cooper Broadcaster, Journalist, and biographer of Tony O'Reilly

Matt Cooper

Broadcaster, Journalist, Author

Matt, who has called Brexit ‘a shambles’, is an incisive MC and speaker who brings energy, wit and intelligence to the debate on this crucial issue.


Dan O’Brien

Chief Economist, Institute of International and European Affairs

Dan’s unique selling point on Brexit is that he was the only Irish commentator to critique the backstop from the very beginning (Nov 2017), arguing that it risked collapsing the exit talks and bringing about that which it was designed to prevent. Unfortunately, as he argues, that analysis now looks as if it will be proved right.


John Stapleton

The Authentic Entrepreneur – Turning Uncertainty into Competitive Advantage




Ronan Lyons

Expert on Future of Housing and Cities


Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Broadcaster, Entrepreneur, and former Politician

Ivan is never less than entertaining and well-prepared and  is also provocative in the best meaning of the word – highlighting issues and angles that others are often unwilling to tackle and unpicking them with energy and his unerring sense of the political realities of Brexit.


Ian Kehoe

Ian Kehoe

Journalist, Author, Broadcaster, Editor of The Sunday Business Post

Ian brings his broad experience and journalistic nose for a story to the tricky topic of Brexit.  Expect a measured, knowledgeable talk full of insights.


Padraig O’Ceidigh

Aer Arann Founder, Entrepreneur and Independent Senator

Padraig looks at Brexit from the unique perspective of someone who is both a highly experienced businessman and a seasoned politician.


Marc Coleman

Economist and Best-Selling Author who Predicted Ireland’s Miracle Recovery

While with IBEC, Marc set up the first industry task force on Brexit and together with the City of London brought in industry leaders to identify the key challenges and opportunities for Ireland arising from Brexit.  He also set up the first task force to analyse the challenges and opportunities of Fintech and produced the first comprehensive budget submission and strategy report.


Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

Bright and Engaging Columnist, Broadcaster, MC and Speaker


Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Economist and Journalist


Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

Author and Current Affairs Broadcaster

“Business hates uncertainty and right now every business, large or small, that exports or imports goods is left in limbo because they cannot know how Brexit is going to play out. It makes planning impossible.  My worry would be if some of the predicted fall-out from a no-deal Brexit comes to pass – multi-month slowdowns at ports, medicine shortages, food supply issues etc. – then we are in uncharted territory and the impact on consumer confidence here and in Britain will end up being far more severe than anticipated. “


Gerard Howlin

Gerard Howlin

Public Affairs Consultant, Columnist with The Examiner, Commentator and Former Senior Political Adviser

“Boris Johnson’s real objective is to use Brexit to win a general election, rather than use a general election to secure Brexit”  


Paul Collier Economist

Paul Collier

Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Oxford University and world leading expert on developing markets


Pat Cox

President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe


Mark Carruthers

Broadcaster and Political Scientist


Margaret Doyle

Reuters Economic Journalist


Jim Power

Chief Economist, and one of Ireland’s leading and best-known economic analysts.

In the face of this Brexit challenge, Ireland will have to display confidence and strength and make sure that we do what needs to be done to ensure future growth and prosperity.

We need to understand what sort of future relationship we have
with the UK, but we cannot be obsessed about it. As a country we
need to be mature and prove to the world that being part of an
economic and political union with the UK is not what defines us.”


Jim Fitzpatrick

Journalist and Broadcaster for BBC Northern Ireland


Fintan O’Toole

Journalist with The Irish Times, Author and Broadcaster

Fintan’s columns for The Irish Times are always conversation starters on the pressing issues of the day, but few topics have exercised him as much as Brexit – as much for the cultural fallout as for the economic impact.  This has made him a leading voice on the issue.  Expect thoughtful, well-reasoned arguments, strong opinions and smart insights.


Fergal Keane

BBC Special Correspondent and Author

Fergal has straddled Irish and British cultures for years as a special correspondent for the BBC, giving him a unique perspective on what Brexit might bring in its wake for both Ireland and the U.K., including – of course – Northern Ireland and the Border Area.


Alan Dukes

Chief Economist and former Politician

Alan has a unique understanding of the long and complex relationship between the U.K. and Ireland thanks to his years in politics and government during the historic period around the passing of the  Anglo Irish Agreement.  He is also an astute and highly experienced economist with a passion for the bigger ‘world picture’.


Alastair Campbell

Journalist, Broadcaster, Political aide, Author, Communicator and Strategist

Alastair has long experience as a commentator on, and participant in, the political landscape of the U.K.  He is not entirely convinced that the U.K. will leave the E.U by the October 31st deadline, despite the claims of Boris Johnson.  As a movement against Brexit, Alastair has talked much recently about the People’s Vote campaign, arguing that “where we can make a difference, as we have shown, is in changing opinion.”  



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