Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett

Former Ambassador to Ireland, Dublin

Part of UK in Poland

4th April 2012 Dublin, Ireland

Happy Easter: Time for a short break!

It has been a busy few weeks. A few highlights.

Working with some great British companies particularly during the visit of Susan Haird (Deputy CEO of UKTI). There are some big opportunities, not least in the energy field where there is great interest in exploiting the shale gas and civil nuclear opportunities and in infrastructure, where British expertise in the rail sector could help modernise the network. As a rail enthusiast, I can’t wait for the days when train travel is again the best way to get around Poland. During the early eighties, I spent many happy weekends travelling on steam trains in the south of the country. A real sign of economic progress here is the number of Polish companies showing interest in investing in the UK, as demonstrated at our recent first inward investment seminar and a recent event showing Tech City, Europe’s number one IT and innovation centre in East London.

Recalling the support Britain offered Poland in supporting the democratic process and economic transformation through the British Know How Fund between 1998 and 2003 and how Poland is now transferring know how to countries like Belarus, Burma and Tunisia at an event in the Sejm. It was good to see some old friends with whom I worked between 1998 and 2001 including former MP Andrew McKinlay. We both remember fondly the steel band which featured in the 1999 Łódz British Days.

Debating the future of Europe. Britain and Poland do not always agree on EU structures, or on EU money. But on substance, we share a common approach on an economically liberal, competitive EU. We are working together closely on the important EU growth agenda, on the need to reap the economic benefits of completing the Single Market, not least in its digital form and on the importance of the neighbouring countries to the east and south of Europe. Recent developments in Belarus show what happen when democracy and human rights are not respected.

Attending an Embassy seminar on the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 and listening to a veteran explaining the challenge of fighting at night for the first time and the difficulty of communicating with each other was a humbling experience. It should remind us all of how many brave British and Polish soldiers fought together for freedom and just how good Polish soldiers were!

Have a very happy Easter.

About Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated…

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and multi-lateral diplomacy.

Robin began his career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1980 as Desk Officer for Indonesia and the Philippines. In addition to Ireland, he has been posted to Vienna, New York and Bucharest, where he was Ambassador. He has also served as Director of UK Visas and Managing Director of the Business Group in UK Trade and Investment

Robin studied Law at Birmingham University. He has a son and a stepson and is a great admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson and a supporter of Manchester United.