I am much obliged to the Chairman and the committee for extending their invitation to us to address them. The focus of my opening statement is on the questions that have arisen in regard to the constitutional future of our shared island in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
I am the secretary of Ireland's Future. Our organisation was established to advocate for and promote debate and discussion about Ireland's future, including the possibility and viability of new constitutional arrangements on the island. We are guided by the values of the Good Friday Agreement and are dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and equality and fostering mutual respect between all views and traditions that share our island. Ireland's Future considers that any move to new constitutional arrangements requires serious thought, consideration and planning. We believe the requisite planning for these potential changes must be broad, inclusive, detailed and comprehensive. Constitutional change must be, or can only be, on the basis of consent of citizens of the island of Ireland, as informed by the Good Friday Agreement, and I have forwarded a copy of our mission statement, outlining our values and objectives, for members' consideration.
I would like to give an overview of some events and activity which we have been engaged in with Ireland's Future. Prior to the event of the pandemic, we had organised a series of conferences and town hall meetings, all of which were exceptionally well attended to give expression to the ongoing societal conversation in relation to constitutional change. Our Beyond Brexit - the Future of Ireland conference was organised in consultation with the then Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was addressed by the leaders of Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Green Party in the North, the deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Dara Calleary, and the then Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Joe McHugh. The event was attended by more than 2,000 people. There was a very stressful couple of weeks in the run up to it. We did not know how well attended that might be but were overawed by those in attendance and the mutual sense that swept through that hall that day. That was followed in 2019 by well-attended events in Newry and also in Croke Park which were addressed by, among others, High Court, Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys and Professor Seamus McGuinness of the Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI. I have included copies of the event literature for the committee's collective attention.
Our events were complimented by public letters to the Taoiseach appealing to the Irish Government in the first instance to consider the position of Irish citizens in the North in the context of what was then an emerging rights vacuum, then latterly with regard to the then deepening Brexit crisis. Ours has been an evolutionary experience, I should add, addressing concerns at they occurred at that moment in time. Our most recent letter, in November 2019, urged the Government to convene an all-island citizen's assembly as a forum to enable discussion on future constitutional change.
That letter of November 2019 was signed by 1,000 prominent Irish citizens two thirds of whom were resident in the South and also by many citizens of the Irish diaspora. Prominent signatories included actors Adrian Dunbar and Stephen Rea, film director Jim Sheridan, the mayor of Boston and now US Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, writer Eoin Colfer, poets Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan, musicians Christy Moore, Aoife Scott and Sharon Shannon, economist David McWilliams and commentators Fintan O’Toole and Martina Devlin as well as our own Frances Black, whom we are proud to have as chairperson of our organisation. I should say "our" in the greater collective because Senator Black is obviously a member of this committee. All of our public correspondence are included in the event literature, for the Waterfront, our event in Newry and Croke Park and they can be reviewed at the members' convenience.
With the event of the pandemic, our activism was required to go online as Zoom became our new normal. Indeed, this has permitted us to increase our reach and to deepen the meaningful conversations that are ongoing. The calibre of contributors that we have been able to attract, aligned with the breadth of viewer participation, has been remarkable.
The standing, range and influence of people involved with Ireland's Future and the vast reach that we benefit from is evident from our most recent series of podcasts, which I have included in my submission. They have attracted exceptional viewerships for both live and post views of these webcasts and addressed, among other issues, in May 2020, the implications of the pandemic for health provision across the island and the consideration of an all-island health service, which was Dr. Ilona Duffy, Professor Gabriel Scally and Professor Jim Dornan, who, regrettably, has since passed away. I would like to take this public moment to express our sympathy with the late Professor Dornan's family.
Later, in May 2020, we held a webcast on the economic recovery beyond Covid and considered an all-island economy. That webcast was addressed by the economist David McWilliams as well as economist, author and adviser to the SDLP at Stormont, Paul Gosling, and Patricia McKeown, a trade unionist from Unison. In June 2020, we held a webcast on Brexit and the Irish Protocol which was addressed by our own Brian Feeney, Tony Connelly, the renowned expert from RTÉ, and Owen Reidy.
In October 2020, we held A Vision for Ireland - the next generation of Irish voices, which was an exceptionally vibrant and future-thinking webcast whereby all of the participants were under 30, and included Senator Eileen Flynn, Laura Harmon who, I think, was having technical difficulties and I hope has been able to join us, Conal Ó Corra, a language activist, Neil McManus, a county hurler for Antrim and Denise Chaila, the rapper and performance artist from Limerick. In December 2020, our own Martina Devlin held an online interview with Congressman Richie Neal, chair of the influential US House Committee on Ways and Means.
Most recently, in February 2021, we held A New Ireland – Warm House for All. That was, I am proud to say, was our most successful webcast. It has attracted more than 40,000 viewers across all platforms. It was unique in so far as all of the participants were from a traditionally unionist background. Belfast born, award winning television and radio broadcaster Andrea Catherwood chaired the conversations with Mark Langhammer, a trade unionist-----