Irish-US focus at political summer school

The unique relationship between Ireland and the US will be to the forefront of this year’s Kennedy Summer School when it visits the ancestral home of JFK.

Keynote speakers at this year’s event, which runs from September 7-9 in New Ross, Wexford, include one of America’s most seasoned political campaigners, Bob Shrum. He will be joined by the man behind former President Barack Obama’s speeches, Cody Kennan, as well as Ian Paisley Jnr.

RTÉ’s Washington correspondent Caitriona Perry will also be on hand as part of a series of public interviews.

Ms Perry gained international attention last week after being singled out by President Donald Trump in the Oval Office who told her she had a “nice smile”, sparking a global row about sexism.

More than 35 guest speakers have been lined up to participate on a wide range of issues, with Irish-US relations and Brexit expected to feature prominently.

The summer school

will also bring together a panel of historians to assess the legacy of US president John F Kennedy, 100 years on from his birth.

NUI Galway law lecturer and US political pundit, Larry Donnelly is co-director of this year’s programme. He said this year’s event “moves to a whole new level”.

“Inevitably, we have a detailed session on the turbulent Trump presidency, and we are bringing over some of the top US political experts.

“We are also bringing Ireland’s top correspondent there, Caitriona Perry, to try to interpret what is going on and what it means for Ireland.”

The other 2017 co-director is historian and author Brian Murphy, who believes “Brexit and budget preparations will dominate Irish politics this autumn”.

“The Kennedy Summer School has gathered a collection of high-profile speakers from across the island who, along with voices from Brussels and from a cross-section of political parties, will give their perspectives to date,” he said.

‘Brexit And Borders’ will be a key topic up for discussion at an event with ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He will be joined by former leader of the SDLP, Mark Durkan, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, Verona Murphy, and RTÉ Europe editor Tony Connelly.

Regina Doherty, Mary Lou McDonald, Joan Burton and Lisa Chambers are among the politicians who will also offer their thoughts on ‘Budget, Brexit and Better Politics’.


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