Democracy in Crisis?

Democracy in Crisis?

Friday, 3rd May - Sunday, 5th May 2019

It’s true –  Burren Law School 2019 will be the final Law School - and we intend to go out with a bang ! Join  us on May Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate  26 years of camaraderie , discussion, controversy, debate  and friendship. In 2019, the School’s programme will address the future of democracy, current challenges for democracies internationally and what this might mean for politics and human rights at home and abroad. Topics will include the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and Ireland’s changing relationship with the EU and the US.

Confirmed speakers include Chief Justice Frank Clarke; Barra McGrory QC (former DPP for Northern Ireland); US-based journalist Marion McKeone; Conor Gearty (professor of Human Rights Law, LSE); Eamon Ryan TD; Catriona Crowe, author and broadcaster; Martina Devlin, award-winning author and journalist; Gerard Hogan (Advocate-general to the European Court of Justice) and dr Brendan Dunford, environmental consultant. Bill McKibben writer, activist and founder of the leading climate change NGO will contribute via video link (TBC). Speakers will be joined by others from the literary world, to encourage us to reflect creatively upon the theme.
Each May Bank Holiday weekend for the last 25 years, the Burren Law School has aimed to recreate the tradition of legal learning associated with the Brehon Law Schools, allowing the past to illuminate the present in what has always been a stimulating and entertaining event. The school has proven to be of interest to the public at large, as much as to members of the legal professions, politicians, historians, journalists, academics and others. Over the years, we have brought the most renowned national and international legal speakers to this idyllic location in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, for in-depth debate and discussion. The interaction between attendees and speakers is among the highlights of the weekend, as well as the opportunity to continue the discussions late into the evening.
Over the years, our judicial speakers have included the late Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, former Chief Justice John Murray, Mr Justice Ronan Keane, Mr Justice Niall Fennelly, Mr Justice Paul Carney, Mr Justice Bryan MacMahon, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy and Mr Justice Gerard Hogan. Other great speakers have included Garrett FitzGerald, Emily O'Reilly, Colm Toibin, John Hume, Brian Lenihan, Maurice Hayes, Mary Banotti, Alan Dukes, Catriona Crowe and Emily Logan.
As supporters and valued past attendees of the School, we hope you can join us for the last year of the Burren Law School in what promises to be a weekend packed with debate and discussion, all against the setting of the stunning Burren landscape.


Conference Programme

Friday 3rd May 2019

18:45 Registration and reception

A plate of food for the traveller

20:00 Official launch of the 2019 school

Introduction to the weekend

A brief Brehon Welcome in Newtown Castle

20:15 Opening session

Saturday 4th May 2019

7:30 Michael Greene Morning Walk
9:30 The Ó Corráin Memorial Lecture - the Brehon perspective

10:15 The Binchy Memorial lecture

“Preparing for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Supreme Court in June 2024: A review of the recent literature concerning the achievements of that Court the last 95 years of its existence”

11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Session 1 - Human rights and Brexit

13:00 Lunch

Food of the Arts Cafe

14:00 Session 2 - Northern Ireland

15:30 Fieldtrip by coach
20:00 Conference dinner

Sunday 5th May 2019

11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Session 3 - Democracy: future political challenges

13:00 Concluding remarks and celebratory Burren finale


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Burren Law School, Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland.
+353 65 7077200

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