• Paul Fingleton

Agenda 2018: Breakfast Series with British Irish Chamber of Commerce serves up Brexit as a hot topic

First of its kind roadshow across the UK and Ireland, Brexit #Agenda2018

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce together with its sponsors KPMG and Ulster Bank have today announced the launch of the #Agenda2018, a year-long programme of events setting the agenda for decision makers to address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

With seminars taking place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast, Edinburgh, and London, the roadshow will place a spotlight on the impact of Brexit on SMEs, the ICT, infrastructure, life sciences, financial and professional services, agribusiness and culture, arts, sports and tourism (CAST) sectors.

Originally set up in 2011, long before Brexit even became a thing, the British Irish Chamber of Commerce was founded to represent businesses and employers with interests in the two nations of Great Britain and Ireland. Specifically to highlight, protect and grow trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England - trade that is worth almost €60 nillion a year, supporting over 400,000 jobs.

Brexit is far from the only topic in town and #Agenda2018 will kick off on Monday 26th February with Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government providing the keynote address at the Infrastructure breakfast event. Helen McEntee TD, Minister for European Affairs will be the guest of honour at the main Brexit seminar on Thursday 1st March. The week’s events will culminate with the Chamber’s annual spring networking dinner featuring the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit Simon Coveney TD as the keynote speaker.

#Agenda2018 – Business, Politics and Brexit” is particularly timely given the UK Government is to shortly outline its vision for the long-term trading EU-UK trading relationship and phase two Brexit negotiations are to get underway in Brussels.


“With the next phase of Brexit negotiations on the horizon, 2018 will set the agenda and framework for UK-Ireland trade in the years to come. In light of this, the Chamber has developed an innovate seminar series to help businesses chart this period of uncertainty and plan for the future. Our impressive line-up of speakers will provide their insight into the Brexit process, possible trading models post-Brexit, and how best to plan for the future. With UK-Irish trade set to witness great change, the stage is set for our most compelling event series yet.”

- John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce


Eddie Cullen, Managing Director, Commercial Banking Division at Ulster Bank said: “Ulster Bank is very pleased to co-sponsor the British Irish Chamber of Commerce #Agenda2018 event series. For many of our customers, maintaining trade links with the UK is vital to their growth ambition. As part of RBS, Ulster Bank is especially well placed to support customers in this area. Working with the Chamber provides an excellent platform to support businesses in every region of the UK and Ireland as they look to 2019 and beyond.”

Brian Daly, Head of Brexit at KPMG in Ireland said: ““KPMG is delighted to be a co-sponsor of #Agenda2018 taking place across Ireland and Britain. As the largest professional service firm in Ireland and with a network of offices across Britain, we see great value in supporting and facilitating dialogue on the key issues affecting business. Whilst Brexit dominates many discussions, it is far from the only agenda item for business at the moment. The programme of events that the Chamber has put together for #Agenda2018 will provide an important opportunity for discussion of a wide range of issues, including Brexit, that create both opportunities and challenges for business in Ireland and the UK at the moment.”

The confirmed list of #Agenda2018 events are as follows:

  • Infrastructure Seminar - Monday, 26th February

  • ICT Seminar – Tuesday, 27th February

  • Brexit Seminar – Thursday, 1st March

  • Annual Spring Dinner – Thursday, 1st March

To watch any of the events online or see announcements of further dates, these will be available on the British Irish Chamber of Commerce website.


Infrastructure Breakfast Seminar:

  • Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government;

  • Sean Finlay, Geoscience Ireland;

  • Michele Connolly, KPMG;

  • Marie Hunt, CBRE;

  • Dr Kieran Feighan, Engineers Ireland;

  • Cormac Murphy, European Investment Bank;

  • Fergal Mulligan Dept Communications, Climate Action & Environment;

  • Anne Graham, NTA; and Simon Barry, Ulster Bank.

ICT Breakfast Seminar:

  • Colm Lyon, Fire;

  • Jeanne Kelly of L K Shields

  • Niall Flood, KPMG;

  • Anne Kiely, Twitter;

  • Sarah-Jane Larkin, Irish Venture Capital Association;

  • Olivia Buckley, Irish Tax Institute;

  • Ruth Curran, MERC Partners;

  • Giles Derrington, Tech UK.

Brexit Breakfast Seminar:

  • Helen McEntee TD, Minister for European Affairs

  • Tony Connelly, RTE;

  • Rory Broomfield, The Freedom Association & Better Off Out

  • Pat Cambage, VW Ireland;

  • Lucinda Creighton, Vulcan Consulting;

  • Brian Daly KPMG;

  • Michael Emerson CEPS.