Co Down Indian summer school to look at Brexit's impact on nationalism

Irish News political correspondent John Manley (left) with South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna and Slugger O'Toole deputy editor David McCann

THREE rising stars of Irish politics are set to come together to discuss whether Brexit will help or hinder the future prospects for a united Ireland.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O'Brien and the SDLP's Claire Hanna will take part in a roundtable discussion on the impact of June's EU referendum result on nationalism at the Lighthouse Summer School in Killough, Co Down.

The Saturday September 24 event is the second time the picturesque coastal village has hosted a debate on the direction of nationalist and republican politics, in what has now become an annual gathering.

Organised by Irish News political correspondent John Manley, in association with Slugger O'Toole deputy editor David McCann and commentator Chris Donnelly, 'Nationalism after Brexit' will assess how the UK's vote to leave the EU will inform Irish politics in the medium to long term.

The discussion is based on the premise that Article 50 will be triggered at some stage in the near future and that Brexit will happen.

Speaking ahead of the event, which due to its rescheduling in early autumn has been renamed the 'Lighthouse Indian Summer School', Mr Manley said last year's corresponding discussion on the north's declining nationalist vote proved a great success.

What is Brexit?

"We've decided that this annual get-together will focus on the strategic elements of nationalism and republicanism and how ideologies need to evolve in response to changing circumstances," he said.

"Without a doubt Brexit spells upheaval for Ireland, especially north of the border, and that will require a fresh approach to realising the goal of a united Ireland."

The Irish News political corrrespondent described the panel members as "three of the most important upcoming voices in Irish politics".

"This is a young panel, with a distinctly post-conflict perspective on Irish unity and how that's achieved," he said.

"We're anticipating a lively and enlightening discussion with plenty of input from the audience."

:: The Lighthouse Indian Summer School takes place on Saturday September 24 in the Killough Youth & Community Hall, starting at 11 am. It is a free event and open to the public with a light lunch provided.

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