Sunday, March 20th 2022
1pm Ireland
British Embassy Dublin and St. Patrick’s Festival presents

Ambassador Paul Johnston in conversation with Hugh Linehan

In partnership with The British Council
Appointed British Ambassador to Ireland in September 2020, Paul Johnston placed an early emphasis on exploring, building and broadening the cultural connections between the UK and Ireland.
Having served in Paris and New York, and beginning his appointment to Ireland at a unique time in the UK-Irish relationship, Ambassador Johnston began to foster new connections with cultural partners around the country. That work is now encouraging future collaborations between pilot partners in Galway, Cork, Leeds, Bradford and Coventry, and dovetailing with the Embassy’s ‘Joining the Dots’ initiative focused on promoting economic links and opportunities between regions of Ireland and the UK.

St. Patrick’s Festival, with its theme of Connections and its cultural focus, is delighted to invite Ambassador Johnston to a conversation with Hugh Linehan from the Ambassador’s Residence at Glencairn House. Beginning in the context of this formal work with and within the cultural community, their conversation will explore the Ambassador’s own cultural interests, his vision & ambitions in terms of engaging with Irish art & artists across the disciplines while in the role, and his thoughts on the importance of contemporary cultural engagement within the always-connected, ever-evolving relationship between the U.K. and Ireland.

Ambassador Paul Johnston

Paul Johnston joined the UK Civil Service in 1990, working for the Ministry of Defence initially. He has served in Paris and New York and has also had a wide range of political and security roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Paul joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993 as Desk Officer for Bosnia. As part of this role he was also Private Secretary to EU negotiator Lord Owen and his representative on Bosnia Contact Group.
His first foreign posting was to Paris in 1995-99 as Second Secretary Political. He was Private Secretary to the Ambassador and latterly part of the UK delegation to the Kosovo Rambouillet negotiations. Then he returned to London as Head of the Kosovo Policy Team, leading work on post-conflict policy in the EU, NATO, UN and G8.
Before his second overseas posting to New York in 2005, Paul held a variety of other EU policy and security appointments in London, such as Head of European Defence Section between 2000-01 and Head of Security Policy Department between 2002-04. As Head of the Political Section in UKMIS New York, he advised on major policy issues for the UK on the Security Council and the UN World Summit, including the UK EU Presidency in 2005.
Paul returned to London in 2008 as Director, International Security for the FCO. He was responsible for policy on UN, NATO, European Security, arms control and disarmament, human rights and good governance.
Paul was British Ambassador to Sweden from August 2011 to August 2015 and then was Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO. He was UK Ambassador to the EU for Political and Security affairs from 2017 to January 2020 and became Ambassador to Ireland in September 2020.

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan is Arts and Culture Editor at The Irish Times. He also presents the Irish Times Inside Politics podcast and writes a weekly column on culture issues. He has previously been Features Editor, Online Editor and Digital Development Editor, where he initiated and developed blogs, liveblogs, video and podcasts on

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