NUI Galway academic Edits Book for Amnesty International

Friday, 19 June 2009

Former Dean of Law at NUI Galway, Donncha O'Connell, has edited a book to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for Amnesty International. Donncha, who will be a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics for the next academic year, is the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advises the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna, and was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties from 1999-2002. The book will be launched in Dublin by broadcaster and Sunday Tribune columnist, Claire Byrne, on Tuesday 23 June. 60 Years, 30 Perspectives: Ireland and the UDHR, which is published by New Island Books, is a collection of essays by thirty influential social commentators examining the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to modern Irish society. It features, among others, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, Sportsman Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, NUI Chancellor and President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dr Maurice Manning, Fr Peter McVerry, homelessness activist, Poet, Theo Dorgan as well as NUI Galway academics Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh and Dr Vinodh Jaichand of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The book also contains a photo essay by renowned Irish photographer Derek Speirs, and can be purchased in bookshops or ordered online at: www.amnesty.ie/60years Announcing the publication of the book Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said: "In the middle of an economic recession, political upheaval and distrust in the institutions of the past, this book offers a fresh and timely critique of modern Ireland. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its touchstone, the book challenges readers to question whether we have a free press in Ireland, why human trafficking is tolerated if slavery is not and why children and people living in poverty are still voiceless in our society". In his foreword to the book Donncha O'Connell wrote: "Cost-benefit analyses applied to something like the UDHR are certainly speculative and probably futile. The pro-human rights consensus evident in this collection of essays is probably not indicative of a wider societal compact other than one informed by indifference or shallow acceptance. Many of the ideas promoted in these essays and many of their underlying assumptions would be hotly contested by those who engage seriously and not so seriously with human rights debates".
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