American Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship to Study at NUI Galway
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Robin Tipps, a Sociology-Criminology student from the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study Public Law at NUI Galway next September. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, funds one year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland to students who satisfy requirements for an Irish master's degree. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship honours the former U.S. senator's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and was established in 1999. This year 12 scholars representing a cross-section of American students have been awarded the scholarship on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. Among their achievements, they count breaking the cryptic code of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, tutoring underserved children and improving the performance of biofuels. Robin, a member of the Quapaw Tribe, was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma and will graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in sociology-criminology in 2013. He has been the Senior Vice-Chair of Investigations for his University’s Integrity Council and hopes to become a tribal attorney and the chairman of his tribe. His many service activities include work at the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital and as Collections Assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The son of a Quapaw mother and a Caucasian father, Robin has thought a great deal about Native American identity. He grew up 300 miles from tribal headquarters, and the annual ritual of Pow Wow took on great meaning for him, as it was the time when he could connect most easily with his Native American heritage. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public law at NUI Galway, express her delight that Robin had chosen the Public Law programme, the second winner of a prestigious Mitchell scholarship to do so in three years. “Robin will be a very welcome addition to the class and I hope he will find the many opportunities presented to students on the programme to attend conferences and engage with public bodies beneficial to his future career.”
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2011-12 News Round-up
Video Promoting the LL.M in Public Law
In 2012, Dr. Ciara Hackett secured funding through the Explore Initiative and Bright Ideas programme at NUI Galway. The purpose of this funding is to assist with the production of a promotional video for the LL.M in Public Law. This is a student led project and 2011-2012 LL.M. student Priscilla Fay will be recording and editing the footage. The project is aimed at attracting future students as well as highlighting to potential employers the benefit a graduate from the LL.M. would be to their organisation. The video is currently in production and a number of meetings have been held with participants in the project. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by the end of June 2012.
Course co-ordinator of the Criminal Jury module, Charles O’Mahony, was successful in procuring two internships for students of the LL.M. in Public Law programme at MDAC, the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre in Budapest. MDAC is an international human rights organisation which advances the rights of children and adults with intellectual disabilities and psycho-social disabilities. Current students Ciara Flately and Caoimhe Cusack will begin their internship in July, which will coincide with the prestigious summer school at MDAC. Report and pictures to follow.
Current students Thomas Mahon and Natalie Bourke have been successful in obtaining internships on different projects undertaken by the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA). They have had the opportunity to put the research skills garnered through the LL.M. programme to good use and have had the opportunity to network with practitioners and advocates in the area of Public Interest Litigation.
Graduate of the programme and module co-ordinator Charles O’Mahony secured the position of Legal Officer for Amnesty International Mental Health Campaign in Dublin in 2011. In this position Charles is able to combine his wealth of experience on issues of mental health, together with his interest in advocacy and activism, in order to assist in the campaign on mental health law reform in Ireland.
Legal Aid Board and Law Reform Commission
Donncha O’Connell, Former Dean of the School of Law and co-ordinator of two modules on the LL.M. in Public Law, was appointed in 2011 by the Minister of Justice as a member of the Legal Aid Board. The Legal Aid Board is responsible for the provision of legal aid and advice in civil matters (incl. the Refugee Legal Service) and will soon assume responsibility for criminal legal aid. It also oversees the Family Mediation Service and the Refugee Documentation Centre. In addition, Donncha is one of the new (2012) part-time Commissioners appointed by the Attorney General to the Law Reform Commission in Dublin.
Council of State
Professor Gerard Quinn, co-ordinator of the Judicial Activism module, and Judge Catherine McGuinness, Adjunct Professor on the Public Law programme, have been appointed (2012) to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins.
Recent Graduate Successes
It is heartening to see that, even in times of economic hardship, the graduates of the LL.M. in Public Law programme have secured, and continue to secure, employment in a range of different career pathways.
Gráinne Meehan, a 2010 graduate, who was recently featured in the Irish Times, is now a financial services consultant with Ernst & Young in London.
The Honourable Justice Mathilda Twomey (Court of Appeal Judge, Seychelles), 2011 graduate, obtained a Hardiman PhD scholarship to support her research in the area of comparative law. Her PhD research is jointly supervised by Marie McGonagle (NUIG) and Sean Donnellan (UL), a collaboration facilitated by the NUI Galway/University of Limerick Alliance.
Since graduating from the LL.M.in 2011, Sarah McDonald has had a number of exciting opportunities. Last summer she interned at the Office of the DPP and is now the Human Rights Executive in the Law Society of Ireland in Dublin.
Elaine Keane who also graduated from the LL.M. in 2011 has recently taken up a post at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) as a research assistant.
First Annual LL.M. in Public Law Conference
In September 2011, the LL.M. in Public Law hosted its first annual conference in the Burren College of Art. The main purpose of the conference was to introduce incoming students to the broad area of Public Law and to provide them with the opportunity to meet not only with staff but also graduates of the programme. Speakers included: Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness (“The Importance of Public law’); Larry Donnelly (“Public Interest Law in Ireland’); Padraic Kenna (“The Gordian Knot of Law and Policy”); Tom O’Malley (“Using Comparative Law and Social Science Findings”); and Donncha O’Connell (“Is it undemocratic to bypass politics by way of the courts?”). LL.M. in Public law graduates Charles O’Mahony (Amnesty International), Catriona Maloney (CDLP), John Magee (veterinary surgeon, Department of Agriculture) and Matti Twomey (Judge of the Court of Appeal, Seychelles) presented interesting and insightful assessments of their own experience of the LL.M. in Public Law programme and were available to advise the incoming students. The conference was introduced and jointly organized by programme director, Marie McGonagle, and Dr Ciara Hackett.