NUI Galway and Ballymun collaborate on Housing Law Course
Monday, 4 August 2008
Roisín Shortall, T.D., Labour Spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs recently presented a group of Ballymun-based students, who participated in an NUI Galway law course through an interactive video link, with Certificates of Attendance at the Ballymun Civic Centre, Dublin. The Housing Law & Policy course was developed and presented by Dr Padraic Kenna of the Faculty of Law, NUI Galway in conjunction with the Ballymun Community Law Centre (BCLC). The lectures were video linked in real time to community volunteers, welfare staff, local authority tenants and their representatives, and other interested parties living in Ballymun. Over 12 weeks, the Ballymun group gathered in the Council Chamber Civic Offices to link via video with some 60 Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law students at NUI Galway for the interactive weekly classes. Dr Padraic Kenna, law lecturer at NUI Galway is the author of the definitive work Housing Law and Policy in Ireland. According to Dr Kenna; "An innovative use of the latest technology has enabled law students at NUI Galway to interact in their learning with people who are at the heart of a Dublin community, where housing law and policies have had such an impact". The course covered the traditional housing and property law areas, private rented housing, social housing and modern approaches to social inclusion in housing. There was also a significant focus on preparing presentations with proposals for a Housing Bill. Part of the course involved a field trip to BCLC and Ballymun Regeneration Project where students could assess at first hand the relevance of the course. This innovative link-up was facilitated by the Mr Pat Monaghan and the University Audio-visual unit. It was supported by NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative, which promotes civic engagement among academics, students and the wider community. Since its inception, the Ballymun Community Law Centre has consistently sought to empower the residents and community workers of Ballymun. BCLC Solicitor Frank Murphy, a law graduate of NUI Galway, said at the presentation, "Dr. Kenna and the Law School at NUI Galway are to be congratulated on their continuing commitment to bringing law into the community. They have broken new ground by video linking their wonderful housing law and policy course direct from the groves of academe in the magnificent Galway campus into the heart of Ballymun. Through the years Ballymun has been deprived of access to justice, and indeed, access to law and legal education, but Padraic and NUI Galway are bringing legal education straight to the community. Once again the interactive participation of the students in Galway and in Ballymun was first class. Their joint contributions live on air to a new Housing Bill were breathtaking in their range, imagination and understanding. This was in no small part due to the inspirational delivery and content of Dr Kenna whom BCLC would wish to thank most sincerely."