On Wednesday 19th June, The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels was delighted to welcome back screenwriter and author Colin Bateman. Hailing from County Down, Colin had previously visited Brussels in 2014 for the Brussels Book Fair, and it was great to have him back in the Office to introduce his 2017 film ‘The Journey’.
Colin introduced the film by explaining the ‘journey’ behind ‘The Journey’ – producers had struggled to find a screenwriter willing to create a script around the events of the St Andrew’s Agreement, and the relationship between the Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. However, inspired by the subsequent media coverage of the unexpected friendship between the late former First and Deputy First Ministers, Mr Bateman wasn’t afraid to incorporate his famously witty writing style into a story imagining the first real interactions between the two men.
While enjoying the film, the audience tucked into food and beverages from Northern Ireland – ‘Pop-notch’ gourmet pop-corn, cider from Longmeadow Cider and the Armagh Cider Company, as well as beers from Clearsky Brewery and Hilden Brewery. The audience enjoyed the film – described by the reviewers as ‘a remarkable mixture of light and darkness’ – and took the opportunity to ask Colin about the production of the film and the wider film industry. Colin also regaled the audience with stories from the set and of his interactions with stars such as Liam Neeson.
Colin explained to the audience that, while some critics argued the film is historically inaccurate in parts, ‘The Journey’ tells a fictional story that was never intended to be a documentary! He noted that history doesn’t come in neat three act scripts to be portrayed on screen, and ‘The Journey’ uses an imagined situation to explore the essence of the friendship between the Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.
The Brussels office is now looking for two recent graduates for a full time paid internship.
This is a good opportunity to develop your skills and to gain experience in a diverse work area, working in the heart of Brussels’ EU Quarter.
Please click the link below to download:
Applications should be sent to Brusselsrecruitment@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk and the email subject line must be formatted as follows: BRU-ONIEB/2018
The closing date for applications is Saturday 23rd June 2018.
Interviews will take place on 5 and /or 6 July 2018, in Belfast, with one post likely to commence in September 2018 and the second post likely to commence in February 2019.
Why do we collect information?
We maintain a contact database with details of individuals with whom our office has had contact or anyone that we invite to events in our office. We have two elements of our contact list (a) contacts relating to our work with the EU (b) individuals with a connection to Northern Ireland in a personal capacity
What kind of information do we collect?
We record if individuals have a connection to Northern Ireland in a personal capacity and for some contacts we have personal email details
How do we use the information we collect?
We use the information that we collect as a basis for invitation lists for events we hold. We do not share the information that we hold with anyone outside of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Access to information and correction
Any information we collect will be retained for no longer than is necessary, and in line with the Department’s retention and disposal schedule.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation you have the following rights:
We want to ensure that the information we hold is accurate and up to date. If you would like a copy of the information that we hold about you, or if you wish to correct or update the information that we hold about you, please email us at Info.BrusselsOffice@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk
How to contact us
The data controller is The Executive Office (TEO) in the Northern Ireland Civil Service
You can also contact us by post or telephone:
180 Chaussée d’Etterbeek,
Tel: 0032 (0) 2 2901 330
The TEO Data Protection Officer is:
Dr David Lammey
Upper Newtownards Rd,
(+44) 028 9052 8400
You also have a right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Information Commissioner’s Office
14 Cromac Place
Tel: 028 9027 8757 or 0303 123 1114
In partnership with the Embassy of Ireland, Belgium, and the British Embassy Brussels, and with support from the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS), the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels was pleased to host a panel discussion on ‘Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland.’
In 1985, the Northern Ireland Women’s’ Rights Movement published ‘The Female Line’, as the first ever collection of literature from women writers from Northern Ireland. ‘The Female Line’ endeavoured to show the experiences and perceptions of women.
Published in 2017, ‘Female Lines’ is a follow-up anthology of writing from thirty-three female writers from, or with a connection to, Northern Ireland. Dr Dawn Miranda Sheratt-Bado co-edited the anthology alongside Belfast-born, awarding-winning author Linda Anderson. An academic specialist in Irish studies, Dawn has contributed to publications such as The Honest Ulsterman, amongst others. During discussions, Dawn described how she felt it was important to pay homage to the original publication, ‘The Female Line’ while exploring how life had changed for women of Northern Ireland post-ceasefires and after the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.
Celia de Fréine writes across many mediums, working in both English and Irish. Ceannródaí, her biography of Louise Gavan Duffy, will be published in autumn 2018. Celia explained that, having spent much of her life moving back and forth across the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, her work is shaped by her feelings of belonging and disconnection.
Dr Margaret Ward is currently an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Queen’s University Belfast, and she is the author of a number of historical works, including ‘Unmanageable Revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism’. Margaret told the audience how the study of women in Irish history has developed since ‘The Female Line’ was first published.
Poet, memoirist and short-story writer, Dr Heather Richardson, was born in Northern Ireland in 1964. She is currently working on a hybrid text and textile project ‘A dress for Kathleen’, which has received funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Heather explained how emerging from the binary nature of conflict makes life less straightforward, and how that context is perfect for writers.
Rosemary Jenkins is a playwright and short story writer from Belfast whose works have been performed in Belfast, Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Washington DC, and New York. Rosemary spoke about the difficulties and opportunities of being a women writing about the complex society of Northern Ireland.
Belgian journalist Annelies Beck moderated the event with expert pacing and a skill developed from her years as a TV and Radio journalist in Belgium. Her probing questions stimulated lively discussions between the writers and audience members, and provoked thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a female writer in Northern Ireland today.
On Wednesday 23rd May, Alan Whysall visited the Brussels office to present ‘A Reflection of the Good Friday Agreement’, providing a personal account of his experience of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement. The event was designed to give a Brussels audience a background to the Good Friday Agreement in light of the interest in the subject stemming from the UK withdrawal negotiations.
Alan is a former Senior Northern Ireland Office Civil Servant, with over 20 years’ experience in the Northern Ireland peace process and is now an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Constitution Unit at University College London.
Alan’s account covered his involvement in the negotiations that led to the Agreement as well as its implementation during his time as a civil servant at the Northern Ireland Office. He also addressed the areas where he considered the Agreement could have achieved more, and outlined the benefits it has brought to Northern Ireland. Alan, concluded his speech by discussing the future of the Agreement in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The breadth of the material covered by Alan gave the audience an insight into the environment in which the agreement was negotiated. The talk provoked a lively discussion and the audience, which included several officials working in posts relating to the UK withdrawal negotiations, reported that they found the event informative, with some taking to twitter to share a positive review.
We’ve got that FRY-day feeling! On 16th March, the famous Ulster Fry made its highly anticipated return to Brussels as the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, and Invest NI, jointly hosted the fourth annual Ulster Fry in celebration of St Patrick’s Day. This annual event provides an opportunity to promote Northern Ireland in Europe and to showcase the region’s top produce.
We were delighted to welcome over 100 guests, including European Ambassadors, EU Officials from the European Institutions, members of the Northern Ireland diaspora living and working in Brussels, and other key stakeholders, through the office doors to enjoy a traditional Ulster Fry breakfast. The fry was freshly prepared using Northern Ireland’s finest award-winning ingredients, supplied by Northern Ireland producers Yellow Door Deli and Carnbrooke Meats. Guests also had the chance to sample a range of Belfast-based Suki teas and refreshing AJ apple juice from the Armagh Cider Company.
This year our Ulster Fry Breakfast also featured music from Celticanto – a Brussels-based, three piece a cappella group, specialising in Irish music in the operatic bel canto style. Established by County Down born, Páidí Ó Dubháin, the trio includes bass-baritone Jean Delobel from France and Mark Trigg from the United States of America. In their interpretations of traditional Irish music, the three classically trained baritones impressed our guests with a cappella performances of classical songs such as ‘Star of the County Down’ and ‘Ballynure Ballad’.
The breakfast was a great success enjoyed by all who attended and received particular praise on social media. Information on the Northern Ireland produce showcased at the breakfast can be found on the producers websites linked below, or for further information on Northern Ireland produce in general you can visit FoodNI.
On 19 February a group of 26 Civil Servant representing all NICS Departments travelled to Brussels for a two day study visit. The annual visit is designed to provide participants with an understanding of how the EU works and to increase Northern Ireland’s engagement within the EU. Since last year the study visit has focused on the UK withdrawal from the EU, and this year it coincided with the start of phase two of the negotiations.
The Brussels Office organised an intensive programme for the participants to deepen their understanding of the EU Institutions and its legislative processes, and to develop their insight into the exit negotiations happening in Brussels. The participants heard from representatives of the Article 50 teams from the UK and Irish Permanent Representation to the EU about their respective roles in the negotiations. The participants also heard from the Head of the Welsh office in Brussels about how they engage with the UK Permanent Representation, the EU and others as a Devolved Administration in Brussels. A representative of the Swiss Mission to the EU explained to the group about engagement as a third country, which reflects ongoing work in the Brussels Office to develop understanding of how third country missions engage with the EU.
The programme included a visit to the European Parliament, where the group received a very informative overview of the EU, with a focus on the UK withdrawal. They then met with Northern Ireland’s three MEPs, Jim Nicholson, Diane Dodds, and Martina Anderson, who explained the role of the Parliament in the UK exit negotiations as well as setting out their own views on the current political developments in the EU. Wednesday afternoon was given over to individual meetings where participants met with their counterparts in the European Commission, the UK Permanent Representation or from another Member States to discuss specific policy issues.
On Monday 14th May students from Queen’s University in Belfast made their annual trip to Brussels for a jammed-packed week of engagements with the EU Institutions, regional offices, public affairs organisations and international businesses. The study tour, organised by the QUB Careers Department, allows the students to gain an insight into how to use their personal branding to secure a graduate programme, internship or permanent position in Brussels.
During the visit Queen’s University Belfast held an alumni reception in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive which gave the students an opportunity to meet with members of the NI diaspora working across a range of sectors in Brussels.
The students returned to the office on Thursday 17th May to hear from the UK and Irish Permanent Representations to the EU about how the EU operates, how regional diplomacy works and how to begin a career pathway in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Foreign Affairs. Our Senior Liaison Officer Nuala McNamee spoke to the students about role of the office and how it engages in Brussels. The office Policy and Events Assistants, Bethany Meban and Chyanne Holmes, added to discussion with their own personal experiences of finding work and adopting to life in Brussels. The students also got to meet with speakers from AB InBev, IBEC, Baker McKenzie and Hume Brophy to hear about working in Brussels outside the EU Institutions and more generally, the about living in Brussels.
The study tour was a great opportunity for the students to get first-hand advise on starting and building a future career in Brussels, and more widely in Europe.
“The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.”
2018 European Week of Regions and Cities will take place from 8 to 11 October.
Northern Ireland, working with partners from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (France), Podlaskie (Poland), and Umbria (Italy), hopes to present a workshop on ‘Personalised Medicine: boosting health research at regional level.’
From 16 to 27 April the European Week of Regions and Cities team are holding an online consultation on the design of the four-day event, allowing the public to indicate what workshops and seminars interest them most here.
You can indicate your preference for the Northern Ireland workshop by first selecting the ‘Research and Innovation’ thematic cluster, and then scrolling down to select our event ‘Personalised Medicine: boosting health research at regional level.’
(L-R) Andrew Elliott, Danielle Neyts, David Twomey
On Thursday 8 February the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels was delighted to receive a print of the Game of Thrones tapestry from Tourism Ireland. Danielle Neyts and David Twomey, from Tourism Ireland, presented the print in recognition of the positive collaboration between Tourism Ireland and the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels to promote Northern Ireland as a premier tourist destination.
The tapestry is inspired by the Bayeaux Tapestry and made with linen from one of the last historic linen mills in Northern Ireland. It depicts scenes from the world-famous TV series Game of Thrones – much of which is filmed in Northern Ireland. Local volunteers, enlisted by National Museums Northern Ireland, spent more than 1,000 hours hand-finishing the tapestry. Their pain-staking work is evident in the astonishing detail depicted in vibrant colour. The full 77 metre long tapestry is on display to the public in the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and covers the events of the show from seasons 1 to 7, so beware of spoilers!
The print in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels depicts a classic scene between two main characters – Jon Snow and Ygritte. A fantastic addition to the office, the print has found a new home in our aptly-named room ‘Winterfell’.
The full tapestry, and more information about it, is also available online on the Tourism Ireland website. Spot our print at S03E10!