From Boston with Beckett: Director of Ceremonies of Departure Prof Bob Scanlan with Poet’s Theatre actresses Amanda Gann, Sarah Newhouse and Carmel O’Reilly. Their powerhouse production in The Belfast MAC — which played to a receptive audience on my visit on Friday — represents the first major arts collaboration under the Belfast-Boston Sister Cities initiative. Ceremonies finishes its run tonight.
Later this week, I will meet again with a Boston businessman who has been mulling a tech investment in Belfast.
On our last encounter, he voiced concern over the fallout from Brexit. Though, interestingly, his concern wasn’t over the damaging trade implications of Brexit with its threat to the movement of goods, services and capital.
His focus was on the fourth freedom: the freedom of movement of people. “How will you keep and attract the best talent from across Europe if you erect barriers to those who want to work in my business in Belfast?” he legitimately asks.
And in truth, no one in the local pro-Brexit brain trust has an answer to that question – despite signals that our universities and global businesses are already getting the cold shoulder from potential hires.
Of course, all of those issues could be resolved if the British would accept the request of the European 27 that they put the Irish peace process before the Brexit bulldogs by accepting that the North of Ireland must remain in the Customs Union and Single Market.
Nary a sign of that happening though as the embattled British Cabinet has simply echoed the blinkered view of its DUP colleagues — to whom they are joined by golden handcuffs — and said Never, Never, Never.
While in Boston, I will also address the Golden Bridges Conference in the city’s Seaport Hotel on Friday 17 November about ambitious plans to bring the Quinnipiac University Museum of Ireland’s Great Hunger exhibition to the North of Ireland in 2019.
At a time when global hunger is rarely far from our headlines, there can hardly be a more apposite time to bring home the greatest collection of artworks in the world relating to An Gorta Mór.
The annual Golden Bridges Conference builds bridges between northwest Ireland and Boston. Could there be a more appropriate place for this evocative collection to go on show than Derry-Donegal?