Joe Mulholland, director of the Patrick MacGill Summer School, addressing the school last week. Photo: Thomas Gallagher
The annual MacGill Summer School is about democracy, and about the manner in which this country is governed, according to the director of the annual summer event, Joe Mullholland.
The MacGill Summer School will run from Sunday, July 22 to Friday, July 27 in Glenties.
“MacGill is about planning for the future and looking to the future, not just the present,” Joe Mullholland said.
This year the conference will focus on Brexit and the implications that it will have for Ireland, north and south, taking into account the European Union.
“This year we will focus to a considerable extent on the European Union as well as on Ireland and the UK in the context of the Brexit negotiations and their socio/economic and political implications for both countries now and into the future,” the director said.
Mr Mullholland said the event was open to everyone to attend and it was an ‘open shop’ where everyone was invited to put their questions.
The conference is now live-streamed to those who want to watch the discussions. People are also being encouraged to send questions to the conference.
This year religion, cyber-safety, politics and the role of women in society will be up for discussion among many other issues that are affecting the country today.
“It is a very good and timely topic, women in public life, what is their role? And, what should be their role? And how should that be recognised and reflected in fora such as ours? And, of course, this year we are providing an example to every organisation throughout the country,” Mr. Mullholland said.
In recent weeks, the founder of the MacGill Summer School had come under fire on the issue of gender balance among the speakers at the conference.
However, the director addressed the issue and subsequently apologised for the lack of gender balance saying the school was “working progressively” to amend the programme before the planned event.
Yesterday, Mr Mullholland said the programme for the MacGill Summer School has emerged from the controversey ‘stronger and more varied’ than it had been before.
He said the only thing that he objected to at the time of the controversy was ‘the personal nature of some of the attacks on myself and people pointing out my age.’
The panel to discuss women in public life, alongside one on the Eighth Amendment, were added to the schedule following the backlash.
The annual John Hume Lecture will be given by the former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.
An exhibition of new paintings by Johnny Boyle and the Plein Air Painters of Donegal will take place on Tuesday at 2pm.
There will also be musical recital with Anne Jennings and Mairead Ní Bhlaoscaidh accompanied by Gerard Bradley on Sunday.
There will also be a book launch by the Pen2Paper writers at 2pm.
The full programme of events can be found at macgillsummerschool.com.