RES Presents

What economics challenges face Ireland and how can economists help solve them? In this event, a range of distinguished speakers from both side of the border, and inside and outside of academia, discussed these challenges by giving a short presentation of their initial thoughts and then taking questions and taking part in the discussion that develops.

The 2021 event took place virtually on Tuesday 15 JuneThe recording can be viewed here. Chaired by Dr Graham Brownlow, Senior Lecturer, Queen's Management School, with a great line up of speakers:

Dr Martina Lawless

Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)

Dr Lawless is a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Before joining the ESRI, she received her doctorate from Trinity College Dublin and worked as a research economist at the Central Bank of Ireland. Her research has focused primarily on firm-level dynamics and decision making, covering a range of topics such as access to finance for small and medium firms, effects of taxation and participation in exporting.

More recently, she has investigated the potential effects of Brexit and COVID-19 on the Irish economy and trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Her work has been published in a number of leading international academic and policy journals. From 2017 to 2020, she was a member of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.

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Dr Esmond Birnie

Ulster University Business School

Dr Birnie is Senior Economist in the Ulster University Business School. Previously he was PwC’s Chief Economist for Northern Ireland and Scotland and, prior to that, a Special Advisor for the Northern Ireland Employment and Learning Minister and a Member of the NI Assembly. He was also a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Queen’s University Belfast.

He author/co-author of a number of journal articles/books particularly dealing with comparative productivity, long run growth and policy in Northern Ireland, Ireland, UK and Germany.

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Prof. Stephen Kinsella

University of Limerick

I am Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick, Ireland, Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Research Associate at the Rhodes Centre for International Finance at Brown University. My research uses national accounting data to make better models. I am also interested in the economics of small open economies like Ireland, and health systems research.

I am Chief Economics Writer for The, and was for 4 years a columnist with the Sunday Business Post. I have written for the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Irish Independent. I have twice won Economic Commentator of the Year for my columns.

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Stuart Anderson


Stuart Anderson is a Senior Policy Adviser to the Confederation of British Industry in Northern Ireland (CBI) which speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses across the UK. Stuart, a qualified lawyer, joined the CBI in the autumn of 2019 after 10 years with leading commercial law firms in Belfast and Dublin.

Since joining the CBI, Stuart leads on all matters related to the Northern Ireland Protocol and has represented NI firms in engagements with key policymakers on EU exit and future trade policy. Stuart currently sits on the Business Engagement Forum established in the summer of 2020, which is chaired by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis

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What is RES Presents?

RES Presents is the Royal Economic Society's series of talks on topical issues open to the public. It offers the opportunity to engage in an in-depth informative discussion and provides a platform to show how economics can provide insight into public policy. 

This event was supported by:



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