United States in focus at Kennedy Summer School

The Kennedy Summer School starts on Thursday in New Ross, Co Wexford, with an address from the US ambassador and continues with a schedule of events involving experts in politics, justice and the media.

The school runs to Saturday and topics will include Irish politics, the US election,and the Brexit result.

Garda commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will give her first public interview on Friday night when Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will also be speaking.

As the US presidential election heats up, a number of speakers will provide different angles on the race, such as NUI law lecturer Larry Donnelly who will examine how Donald Trump could win; Stacy Hillard of American Voices International offering a Republican perspective; and Tad Devine who was chief strategist with the Bernie Sanders campaign which gave Hillary Clinton a real fight before she emerged with the Democratic nomination.

Twitter’s vice-president for global public policy and philanthropy Colin Crowell will discuss how the campaign is playing out on the social network.

Thursday evening’s opening address by ambassador Kevin O’Malley will be followed by a reflection on the life and work of US playwright Eugene O’Neill, led by keynote lecturer Professor Robert Downing.

According to Kennedy Summer School director, barrister and former political adviser Noel Whelan, the three days will feature many “compelling and interesting” opinions.

“This year’s summer school comes at a very dramatic time in both Irish and American politics and indeed at a crucial time in Irish-American relations,” he said.

Other highlights include the school’s keynote address by the former governor of Maryland and Democratic presidential contender, Martin O’Malley.

On Saturday afternoon a panel discussion on Irish politics will look at ‘Budget, Brexit and Better Politics’. Chaired by RTÉ’s Katie Hannon, it will feature Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe; Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness and Independent senator Lynn Ruane.

Chef Edward Hayden and baker Catherine Leyden host a tea party in Dunganstown at the Kennedy Homestead with a coffee masterclass by Ray Cullen.

There will also be a special screening of Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight which tells the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into clerical sexual abuse.


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