Gallery | Prestigious speakers address Sean MacDiarmada Summer School

News Reporter

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News Reporter

The annual Sean Mac Diarmada Summer School took place at Kiltyclogher on June 7 and 8 where large audiences heard a variety of speakers discussing a broad agenda of topics.

Included for discussion was the role of women in the Irish Revolution, education, the unifying power of sport in society, the challenges of climate change and the need for the promotion of social decency in modern Ireland to ensure that the dreams of Mac Diarmada and his comrades of 1916, are realised.

The weekend commenced on Friday evening with the opening of the Summer School by actor, commentator and current Leitrim Person of the Year, Seamus O’Rourke.

Former Senator Paschal Mooney gave the opening presentation on the role of women in Irish politics over the past 100 years, commenting on their role in past politics and describing the landscape of Irish politics with greater female participation in the democratic process. Paschal then chaired a panel discussion with Ocean FM’s, Daniel Browne, Dr Frances Lucy from IT Sligo, and business consultants, Alan Hill and Oonagh Monahan.

This discussion examined a wide range of topics including rural depopulation, business start -ups and climate change.

On Saturday, the memory of the late Orla Parkinson from Leitrim’s Library Service was honoured in a memorial lecture delivered by Mary McAuliffe, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at University College Dublin.

In her lecture, Dr McAuliffe outlined the role of women in the Irish Revolution from 1913 to 1923, and how much of the important contribution of Irish women was not recognised until recent years.

Ava Murray, a transition year student delivered her recent, and very successful, Ted Talk lecture on education from the perspective of a young person in Ireland.

Mohill’s Dr Padraig McGarty from the IT Tralee finished the morning’s proceedings with a lecture examining if Sean Mac Diarmada’s dreams were realised in modern Ireland. Calling on the need for the development of social decency and accountability, Dr McGarty’s lecture outlined the threat to modern Ireland from sectional interests in both the private and public sector who fail to take account of the greater needs of wider society.

Saturday afternoon’s programme commenced with former Government Minister, Mary O’Rourke discussing the role and development of education policy, and her experiences in government with former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey.

The programme concluded with a lecture by Senator John O’Mahoney. Well known for who managing both Leitrim to Connaught glory in 1994, and Galway to All-Ireland success in 1998 and 2001, Senator O'Mahoney outlined the important role of sport in civil society.

Stressing the need for sport in a changing Ireland with its associated social problems, Senator O’Mahoney spoke of sport as a model for uniting communities and providing enjoyment to both young and old alike. Throughout the entire weekend, the question and answer sessions following each lecture provided lively debate among the audience.

The Sean Mac Diarmada Summer School, while honouring its historical roots, endeavours to offer a platform for a wide and diverse, social and political debate.

Each year, a wide range of social, economic, environmental and political topics and issues are examined and opened to the audience for debate and analysis.

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