They join Brooklyn writer Colm Tóibín in Liverpool University roles

Prince Charles and the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, have become joint patrons of the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University.
The university said it was delighted the two leading figures had agreed their joint patronage of the institute which contributes to greater understanding between the two islands of the British Isles.

Professor Peter Shirlow, Institute of Irish Studies director,  said: “The joint patronage of The Prince of Wales and the president of Ireland, HE Michael D. Higgins, shows that the institute is a site of scholarship, conflict transformation and community outreach, having done much to build better relationships between these islands that will help us live together less as intimate strangers and more as friends.

“The Prince of Wales and the president of Ireland have each promoted a vision of constructive relationships between these islands that preserves our unique character and which embodies the richness of our interdependence.

“The joint patronage reminds us that there is strength in unity/ ní neart go cur le chéile.”

The institute’s foundations lie in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement to encourage greater understanding and mutually enriching contact between the two islands. The Institute of Irish Studies was consequently established in 1988, and it is unique in terms of scholarship and outreach.

Earlier this year the university announced award-winning Irish author and playwright Colm Tóibín as its next chancellor.

Tóibín is the author of eight novels including Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel of the Year in 2009 and was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 2015. Several of his works have been shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and his 2013 Broadway play The Testament of Mary was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

A graduate of University College Dublin, he was a headline speaker at the University of Liverpool’s inaugural Liverpool Literary Festival last October.

Over the course of a career spanning a quarter of a century, Tóibín has been a strong advocate for free expression and LGBT rights and was hailed as a “champion of minorities” as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award.

As chancellor, Tóibín is the ceremonial figurehead and plays an important ambassadorial role locally, nationally and internationally.