2016 School – Confirmed Participants

The line up for the  2016 Sheehy Skeffington School reflects the high quality, spread of interest and fresh perspectives which have been part of the school since the inaugural event in 2012.

Máire Ní Áinle is a young musician from Co. Sligo. She plays many instruments but focuses mostly on the Uilleann pipes, concertina and traditional and classical piano. She has an All-Ireland title in the Duet and Céilí Band Competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and has competed numerous times in solo competitions on the Uilleann pipes, piano and the Comhrá Gaeilge competition. Máire is currently studying organ and church music with Killala Diocese and is undertaking exams on the organ.

Carol Coulter is a former journalist, having worked with The Irish Times for 28 years, the last ten as its Legal Affairs Editor. During her career she won a number of journalism awards, including Campaigning Journalist of the Year, Newspaper Legal Journalist of the Year and Overall Legal Journalist of the Year.
In 2012 she left journalism to direct the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which reports on and analyses child care proceedings in the Irish courts.

Colin Harvey is Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen’s University Belfast. He served as a Commissioner on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and is a former Head of the Law School at Queen’s. He has written and taught extensively on human rights.

David Joyce is Barrister at Law, (called to the Bar of Ireland 2005). He is a member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and was nominated by IHREC to the Management Board of FRA.  Previously David was Legal Officer with Threshold and prior to that was Interim Manager of LEAP (Legal Education for All Project). He also held positions as Co-ordinator of the Offaly Traveller Movement and as Legal Policy Officer with the Irish Traveller Movement.  David has served as a member of expert bodies such as the European Roma Rights Centre Budapest, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, the Bar Council of Ireland, the Executive of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the National Economic and Social Forum.He graduated from Kings Inns Dublin with a Barrister at Law degree and a Diploma in Legal Studies. He also holds a Diploma in Youth and Community Work from NUI Maynooth. David has contributed to a number of reports and publications on issues of concern to the Irish Traveller Community and broader issues of community work. Throughout his professional career he has had a particular interest in the rights of minorities and equality of access to education.

Lar Joye is Curator  of Transport, Flag and Military History collections at the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks.   He is the curator of the award winning Soldiers & Chiefs exhibition at Collins Barracks, the National Museum of Ireland’s largest exhibition which opened in 2006 at a cost €14 million. More recently as part of the Decade of Centenaries he has worked on the History of Ireland in 100 Objects, 1913 Lockout – Impact and aftermath  and Recovered Voices stories of the Irish at War  exhibitions. In 2015  he worked in partnership  with Anu productions on the acclaimed  Pals the Irish in Gallipoli theatre show which finished in  September 2015 after 405 shows. Their next project together starts on 20th April and runs till 7th May entitled Sunder. Details here
He is a graduate of UCD, Leicester University and the Getty Leadership Institute,  Chairman of the Irish National Committee of the Blue Shield and a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Museums Association and the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust.

Declan Kiberd has written and spoken extensively on the development of culture and society in Ireland, especially the late 19th and early 20th century period.
He is the author of a number of books on the Revival and a joint editor, with PJ Mathews, of the Handbook of the Irish Revival, a much acclaimed publication marking the centenary of the emergence of the modern Irish state. His studies have contributed greatly to a wider understanding of the cultural, political  and social influences on that period, including the quest for rights and liberties.
He is currently Keough Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, having taught Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama for  32 years at University College Dublin. He was former Visiting Professor at the University of Paris and Magdalene College Cambridge.

Donal O’Kelly is a writer and actor.His plays include his shows Catalpa, Jimmy Joyced! and Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son. Other
plays are The Cambria, The Adventures Of The Wet Señor, Vive La, Operation Easter, Asylum! Asylum!, The Dogs, Farawayan and The Hand. As an actor, he has appeared in Translations, Juno and the Paycock and The Tempest in the Abbey, played Lucky in the Gate Theatre’s Waiting For Godot, and on screen played leading roles in Kings, The Van and Spin The Bottle, as well as RTE’s Paths to Freedom and Fair City.

Fiona O’Reilly is currently a senior researcher for the Partnership for Health Equity and an Assistant Programme Director on the NDCGP Training Programme. As part of her role in GP Training she organises placements for the trainees to work within homeless services and other services for other marginalised groups. As nurse turned researcher, Fiona’s work life has focused on social and health inequality across the globe including war torn countries such as Sudan, Somalia & Afghanistan.
She recently led research on the health of homeless people in Dublin and Limerick Cities, culminating in Homelessness, an Unhealthy State.

Betty Purcell was a founder member of Irish Women United, and  a socialist activist, in the 1970s . She worked in RTE Radio and Television for over thirty years as a Producer, and wrote a book on her experiences there, called Inside RTE. She took the Irish Government to the European Court of Human Rights  in 1991, in protest at the censorship of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act.  She is currently a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington a recently retired Plant Ecology lecturer, won a case in November 2014 against her employer, NUI Galway, for gender discrimination in failing to promote her to Senior Lecturer.
She is Hanna and Francis Sheehy Skeffington’s granddaughter.
She is currently engaged in a campaign to redress the gender imbalance in senior posts in NUI Galway, specifically for five female staff deemed eligible like herself in 2009, but not promoted.

Pablo Vicente is a political activist from Gasteiz in the Basque Country. Now living in Ireland, he has been particularly active in the ongoing campaign by the Martxoak 3 (March 3rd) organisation to gain justice for five young men, who were shot dead by Spanish police in the Basque Country in 1976 (see Basque1976)


2016 Sheehy Skeffington School Performance of ‘Brothers – 7th May 1916’ by Jessamine O’Connor, (all text taken from original document by Richard Kent, brother of Eamonn Ceannt)