Professor Raymond J Friel, as Special Advisor to the UL President on European Policy (with a focus on Brexit) joined the President at a UL Alumni Gathering in London on November 16.
This exceptionally well attended event was opened by Dr Des Fitzgerald as UL President who outlined in detail the achievements of the University, its focus on core values which prioritised people, the plans for the future development of the campus and the challenges facing us as a University.
Friel then continued on with an engaging exploration of the issues that Brexit presented for UL alumni, particularly those living in the UK in general and London in particular. Friel surveyed the current negotiations and made the point that he believed that despite at the time the UK floating a figure of £20 billion, it would take something in the order of £50-60 billion to satisfy EU needs. He compared it to a marital divorce where the separation agreement is not really about legal entitlements but satisfying the needs of the parties and that those needs had been built up during the relationship.
Friel also dealt with issues as varied as the Common Travel Area and the new trading relationship. He offered UL as a potential bridge between the UK, North America and the EU, with its strategic location at Shannon. He also pointed out that he viewed the relationship between UL and the Alumni as being mutually supportive and that as Special Advisor he would by the end of the year be adding a resource to the Brexit guide on the Library website specifically aimed at alumni.