Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, will give a public interview on her life and work with journalist Fintan O’Toole at NUI Galway on Monday, 14 January. The event will begin at 7.15pm and will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall on campus. While the event is free and open to the public, registration is essential and bookings should be made through www.conference.ie
Following the interview a panel discussion will take place with representatives of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights including the Centre’s newly appointed director, Professor Michael O’Flaherty FRSA and Professor Bill Schabas as well as Dr Nata Duvvury and Dr Niamh Reilly from the University’s Global Women’s Studies Programme.
Mary Robinson visited NUI Galway last November to mark the beginning of a new partnership with the University. Plans unveiled in 2012 to establish a Mary Robinson Centre in the former President’s home town of Ballina, Co. Mayo. The Centre, supported by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council will be established at Mary Robinson’s birthplace and will include both a Visitor Centre and an academic research centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership.
Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, and as academic partner to the project, NUI Galway will bring researchers and students from all over the world to Ballina to engage with the archive. NUI Galway is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of Human Rights and Gender research, and offers undergraduate degrees and postgraduate programmes in the area. The University will also advise on the cataloguing and making available of the extensive archive which is valued at over €2.5 million.
The proposed Visitor Centre, which is set to open to the public by the end of 2014, will provide a unique cultural tourism resource for Mayo as visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, including her early roots in Ballina. The project will involve the refurbishment of Victoria House, a protected 19th century Georgian house, together with the construction of an Annex to the house. Parts of the house will be recreated to its original condition at the time of Mary Robinson’s birth in 1944.
The property at Victoria House, which has been in the Bourke Family for generations, is being made available to the Centre by the owner, Mary’s brother Adrian Bourke, and will be leased in perpetuity.
Mary Robinson’s archive is a vast collection illuminating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most distinguished public figures. The archive includes a library of books, and periodicals, Mary Robinson’s personal diaries, working files and detailed records of her career as a champion of human rights and women’s equality. Also included are numerous recordings and manuscripts from her time as President of Ireland.
Shortlisted for the Political Book Awards 2013 Political Book of the Year Everybody Matters A Memoir by Mary Robinson was published in 2012.