Nenagh hosts major conference on lockout to bailout

Irish Time columnist and author Fintan O'Toole
Nenagh will host a major weekend conference this month aimed at engaging people in a conversation about what direction Ireland is heading.

Nenagh will host a major weekend conference this month aimed at engaging people in a conversation about what direction Ireland is heading.

The event, From Lockout to Bailout, A Weekend of Conversations, will be held in Nenagh Arts Centre from September 27 to 29, and is being organised by Nenagh Risings.

The three-day series of lectures and discussions arises out of the Public Conversations that were held in the same venue earlier this year and organised by Gerry Coffey and Kathleen O’Meara.

“The 1913 lockout was a seminal moment in Irish history,” according to Mr Coffey, “and is one of a number of centenaries that will be marked in the coming decade.”

The weekend takes place against a background of ongoing negotiations in relation to the bank bailout and banking collapse and at a time when there doesn’t seem to be genuine leadership and discussion about where Ireland is going, said Mr Coffey.

“This is also about getting people in the town involved” he said. “Why shouldn’t they be involved?”

One of the highlights of the programme will be the Tomas Mac Giolla Lecture on the final day, commemorating the former politician who hailed from Nenagh. It will be delivered by historian and author Brian Hanley.

Mr Mac Giolla was educated in Nenagh and St Flannan’s in Ennis. He was president of Sinn Fein from 1962 to 1970 and was leader of the Workers Party, which later merged with Labour, from 1972 until 1988. He served on Dublin City Council from 1979 until 1997 and was Lord Mayor in 1993/94. He was a TD from 1982 until 1992.

“This whole weekend is going to be held in the former town hall, a building that was designed by Tomas Mac Giolla’s father,” Mr Coffey pointed out.

The conference will be opened by Jack O’Connor, general president of Siptu.

Among the speakers are Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole; Dr Tom Collins, former president, NUI Mayonooth; Cloughjordan-born Dr Peader Kirby, former professor of International Politics and Society at UL, who will be joined by Dr Mary Murphy, lecturer in Politics and Society at Maynooth; Aine Lawlor, RTE, Canon Stephen Neill, Rector, Cloughjordan and Borrisokane parishes; Orla Tinsey, Irish Times columnist, health campaigner and author; and Cathleen O’Neill, Kilbarrack Community Development Project. There will also be apublic interview with author Donal Ryan, who has been long listed for the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel The Spinning Heart.

Bookings can be made through ww.nenagharts.com