Imagining Ireland as a Flourishing Society

Dr. Nat O’Connor (Director of TASC)

Geography Lecture Theatre, Geography Building, UCC 16:00 :: 14th November 2012

Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century
Civil Society Research Cluster Speaker Series

Discussants: Noreen Byrne (Centre for Cooperative Studies) and Fred Powell (School of Applied Social Studies)
Chair: Michael Ward (Centre for Cooperative Studies)

Ireland will sooner be entered a period of centenaries. One hundred years since the 1913 lock-out of workers. One hundred years since the violence of 1916. And one hundred years since modern democracy began in Ireland, with near-universal voting rights in the 1918 election. But Ireland today is going through a period of severe crisis, in the public finances, in banking and with a high level of unemployment. Beneath that there is a risk that a deeper malaise in Irish society has not been addressed, with the lack of a hopeful vision for Ireland today, never mind in another hundred years.

President Michael D Higgins has discussed renewing the republic and various authors have suggested a ‘Second Republic’ is needed. But what are the fundamental values and hopes that people in this country share with one another? Can we agree on a set of basic principles that will guide our recovery and frame the construction of a more just and equal society? In short, can we imagine Ireland as a flourishing society, and what do we need to do to make that vision a reality amidst the challenges of the 21st Century?

This talk by Nat O’Connor of TASC will develop some themes about Ireland as a flourishing society, including how more open decision-making could transform government, the need for stronger and independently-financed local government, what progress the current government has made on its reform agenda and the need for a changed direction in economic, budgetary and social policy.

Dr. Nat O’Connor is Director of TASC, an independent think-tank dedicated to addressing Ireland’s high level of economic inequality and ensuring that public policy has equality at its core.

The ISS21 Civil Society Research Cluster promotes research and knowledge exchange with civil society organisations that seek innovative and sustainable approaches to social justice and inclusion.

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