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Assessing Ireland's Global Future and Key International Relationships in 2021

by Stephen O’Shea, Nathalie De Hertog, Richard Cunningham and Caoimhe McCarthy

This publication by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung UK & Ireland and European Movement Ireland covers a series of high level, public events in late 2020 and during 2021 focusing on exploring Ireland’s key international relationships from a number of perspectives. It presents the outcomes of the discussions, and suggests some learnings and conclusions that arise following the series of events.

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The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and European Movement Ireland are working together to facilitate discussion, dialogue and fresh thinking on Ireland’s European, international and multilateral relationships in a European and global context.

In late 2020 and during 2021 our work focussed on exploring Ireland’s key international relationships from a number of perspectives through facilitated, high-level, public events.

Firstly, we looked at the relationship between Ireland and Germany in the context of the Future of the European Union. This discussion coincided with the German Presidency of the Council.

Secondly, we explored Ireland’s relationship with the United Kingdom, its implications regarding Northern Ireland and how it impacts on Ireland’s relationship with the European Union. We also analysed how the emerging EU – UK relationship post-Brexit will impact on the EU and Ireland’s place within it.

Thirdly, we examined Ireland’s broader multilateral engagement and foreign policy priorities. From the perspective of Ireland’s seat on the UN Security Council, we explored Ireland’s commitment to multilateralism and how that commitment is complimented and informed by the European Union.

Finally, we turned our attention to new threats. Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a priority in both foreign and domestic policy and we analysed how states can build resilience at all levels, supported the increasing role of the European Union in this area.

These rich discussions featured serving and former deputy prime ministers, cabinet ministers, Members of the European Parliament, senior diplomats, officials and academics who provided fresh, cutting-edge and diverse thinking on the issues. This report presents the outcomes of these discussions and suggests some learnings and conclusions that arise.




Event Reports:

1. Ireland & Germany’s Priorities in post-Brexit Europe

2. Two Islands – One Future Ireland, the UK and the EU

3. A Multilateral Future: Ireland, the European Union and the United Nation

4. A Secure Future: Cybersecurity and the EU


Learnings & Conclusions:

Ireland and the European Union

Ireland and the United Kingdom

Ireland’s Multilateral Role

New Challenges: Cybersecurity




"With our activities in Ireland we aim to strengthen the friendship and close relationship between our two countries. Ireland and Germany share many common values and goals. German-Irish relations are more important now than ever. I am very thankful to the authors and contributors of this publication for their informative analysis and valued opinion on Ireland and Germany’s priorities in post-Brexit Europe, Ireland–UK relations, multilateralism and the growing importance of Cybersecurit",

Matthias Barner, Director Konrad-Adenuaer-Stiftung UK & Ireland 


"Our partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung allows us to frame and explore issues relevant to Ireland from a broad European perspective. It enables us to reach new audiences and explore issues that inform our members, promote public engagement and, hopefully, provide informative and diverse perspectives to policy makers"

Noelle O Connell, CEO European Movement Ireland 

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