Dear Colleagues,


It is with great regret that I must tell you that, by agreement between the IFLAPARL Standing Committee and the Houses of Oireachtas Service, the IFLAPARL 2020 Conference has been cancelled.


The IFLAPARL 2020 conference was due to run 12-14 August 2020 in Dublin, Ireland. It would have been the 36th Library and Research Services for Parliaments IFLA Pre-Conference.


The main IFLA WLIC conference, including the IFLAPARL session within it, remains on.  


The COVID-19 pandemic requires great efforts now and in the coming months from all our services, and the Houses of the Oireachtas Service must be allowed to focus on that. This consideration applies also to speakers and to conference delegates. Further, there are many uncertainties regarding travel to Ireland and the feasibility of running such an event in Ireland in August.  We know that round the world there are prohibitions on making travel arrangements and colleagues have understandable concerns regarding both health and travel in August.


We do not believe that the many challenges and uncertainties will clear in sufficient time for this event to be viable, considering the logistics, content and level of attendance.


The Standing Committee will look in due course at options to run some kind of virtual conference in the last quarter of the year. As Chair, I will urge IFLA to postpone the Dublin main conference to 2021, saving some of the work done by the Irish organising committee, with the event in Rotterdam deferred to 2022, and that in New Zealand to 2023. We cannot guarantee that the IFLAPARL conference planned for 2020 can be offered in 2021 but it might at least be a possibility. Deferment would acknowledge the efforts made to date by our Irish colleagues from all Sections, as well as the National Committee.


I wish to thank the Houses of the Oireachtas Service for their cooperation to date – which was splendid – and I wish them all the very best in dealing with this crisis situation.


I thank all of you, and in particular those who made proposals to speak, for your interest and investment in IFLAPARL 2020 up to this point. I would ask for your understanding in regard to this very difficult decision.


Yours faithfully,

Iain Watt