On October 24, the National Committee hosted Congressman Richard Neal for a conversation on Northern Ireland, Brexit and the future of the Good Friday Agreement. Congressman Neal, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional Friends of Ireland, has long played an active role in the relations between Washington, Belfast, Dublin, and London. Additionally, his role on the Ways and Means Committee will play a key part in the future of trade relations between the United States and a 'brexited' United Kingdom.
Central to much of the discussion, however, was the January 2017 political crisis that witnessed the collapse of the devolved government of Northern Ireland, launching a quagmire that has yet to be resolved. A key outcome of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive plays a crucial role in the Irish Peace Process, and much of Congressman Neal's discussion and candid Q&A session with the audience focused on the history of the Good Friday Agreement, and the state of play on the island of Ireland--a critical part of current Brexit discussions.
Joined by a distinguished audience, Congressman Neal's remarks were supplemented by comments from many long-time Ireland watchers, and even members of the diplomatic corps in New York.