Fintan O’Toole

Thursday, Oct 11, 6.30pm

World Affairs Council, SF

Brexit: Ireland and the English Question

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, it has become ever clearer, not just that Brexit has profound consequences for Ireland, but that Irish issues have profound consequences for Brexit. Ireland is strongly committed to remaining in the EU, and is thus set to become its only English-speaking member state. After Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will suddenly become a major international frontier. The peace process that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago has made the border largely invisible. This has been a crucial contributor to the normalising of life on the island of Ireland. But Brexit threatens to bring back a hard border — a development all sides say they abhor but no one seems to know how to avoid. This is why the Irish question has become the single most important factor in shaping Brexit. As Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland wait for Britain to provide an exit strategy, tensions are rising. How can Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic prepare for Brexit? Can Northern Ireland reject Brexit and fight to maintain EU ties? How will these EU-related decisions affect relations between the two? And what does this problem tell us about the crisis of English identity that has led to this extraordinary moment in the entangled history of Ireland and Britain? Fintan O’Toole, historical writer, political commentator, and columnist for the Irish Times, will discuss the consequences Brexit may have for Ireland.

World Affairs Council


Friday, Oct 12

Montalvo Arts Center
Judging Shaw Exhibit and Presentation – Opening Night details

Fintan O’Toole is a Dublin-born op-ed columnist for the Irish Times, as well as an author, literary critic, historical writer, and political commentator. He has been an op-ed columnist for the Irish Times since 1988, and his column, which comments on social and political issues, appears in the paper every Tuesday. His June 26th, 2018 article, “Trial runs for Fascism are in full flow” is the most read Irish Times editorial of all time. He has written over one dozen books and most recently has edited Modern Ireland in 100 Objects, which is part of a series for the Irish Times. He is the recipient of the AT Cross Award for Supreme Journalism, the European Press Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism. He currently resides in Dublin.

O’Toole’s book Judging Shaw looks at the legacy of George Bernard Shaw, the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award.

“The world has never needed George Bernard Shaw more…” more on Judging Shaw