Irish Association

Welcome to the Irish Association

The principal objective of the Irish Association is the promotion of communication, understanding and co-operation between all the people of Ireland, both north and south.

The Association is non-party political and non-sectarian in character.

Mission Statement

VISION: Reason and goodwill to take the place of passion and prejudice in Ireland, north and south.

MISSION: To make a real contribution to the growth of reconciliation, mutual trust and respect through providing an impartial arena for dialogue and debate.

- Act as a bridge to and between cultural, economic & social issues and interests across the island;
- Encourage & develop broader and deeper analysis, debate and awareness at all levels of Irish society;
- Continually recreate platforms and processes to enable effective forms of cultural, economic and social relationships to emerge on the island of Ireland, north & south;
- Act as an impartial and membership-driven forum for the shared concerns of the wide range of organisations and individuals involved in north-south affairs.

The Council 2019

Chris McGimpsey (Past-President)
Stephen Douds (Vice-President)
Donal O'Tierney (Treasurer)
Alan Burnside
Mary Gethins
Rev Brian Kennaway
John Neill
John O'Hare
Pauline Murphy
Brian Walker
Trevor Williams
Peter Sheridan
Rosemary Dunlop
Bob Collins (President)
Dermot O'Doherty (Secretary)
Daltún Ó Ceallaigh (Internet Manager)
Garrett Fagan
Susan Hedigan
Dorothea Melvin
Gillian Travers
Phil Killeen


The Irish Association for Cultural, Economic and Social Relations was founded in 1938 by people in Belfast and Dublin who felt that the political division of Ireland should not also sever the cultural and other links between north and south.

It was initiated by liberal unionists in the north, but they got a ready response in Dublin from people who wanted to keep up contacts in spite of the border.

The Association endeavours to get people from all differing traditions in Ireland to meet and to provide opportunities for discussion.

The Association itself holds no political views but welcomes people of all political persuasions.

Since 1938, regular meetings, seminars and conferences have been organised.

The Association has continued to the present day with members north and south determined to continue the aims of the founders.

Increasing Membership

We are anxious to increase our membership, so let us have the names and e-mail addresses of anyone that you think would be interested in our mission.


2019 News

Tuesday 10th December 12.00,
Ulster Reform Club, Belfast.

Rev Brian Kennaway
It is with the deepest regret that we record the passing of former President of the Irish Association, Rev Brian Kennaway. His presence, erudition and commitment will be greatly missed.
Brian's address at the 75th anniversary dinner for the Association in 2013 we reproduce here.

The Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past
Judith Thompson, Cmsnr for Victims & Survivors in N Ireland,
Wynn's Hotel, 35 Abbey St, Dublin,
Saturday 19th October 2019,
Gathering 12.45, lunch 13.00.
For details, Click here

Belief in the Future:
Religion & Changing Identity

Half-day Seminar,
Royal Irish Academy, 10 Dawson St, Dublin 2,
Tue 2nd July 2019.
For details, click here
For Papers, Click here

Summer Lunch
'Policing on the Island of Ireland: Personal Reflections',
Drew Harris, Commissioner of An Garda Síochána,
Wynn's Hotel, 35 Abbey St, Dublin,
Sat 8th June 2019.
Gathering 12.30, lunch 13.00.
For details, click here

St Patrick's Lunch
'New Residents, New Experiences',
Sorcha Pollak, Journalist, The Irish Times,
Malone Lodge Hotel, 60 Eglantine Ave, Belfast,
Sat 23rd March 2019,
Gathering 12.30 , lunch 13.00.
For details, click here

'Cross-Border Co-productions & Developing Better North-South Co-operation in Irish Theatre'
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer of Lyric Theatre, Belfast,
Wynn's Hotel 35 Lr Abbey St, Dublin
Sat 26th Jan 2019
12.45 gathering, lunch 13.00
For details, click here.