NUI Galway Host British Labour Party and 20th Century Ireland Conference

Feb 26 2013 Posted: 09:44 GMT

Public invited to a keynote lecture by Dr Kevin McNamara, former Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a two-day international conference on 8-9 March on the theme of ‘The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century Ireland’. The conference will take place in the Moore Institute at the University, with the keynote address scheduled for the Harbour Hotel, Galway, on Friday, 8 March at 6.30pm.

Keynote speaker for the event is Dr Kevin McNamara, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1987-1994. He will deliver an address entitled, ‘The Cause of Labour is the Cause of Ireland, the Cause of Ireland is the Cause of Labour’. Dr McNamara, who was succeeded by Dr Mo Mowlam as Labour spokesperson on Northern Ireland under Tony Blair’s first government, is a seasoned commentator on Anglo-Irish affairs. He has researched and written on the MacBride Principles and is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University.

The aim of the conference is to explore the relationship between the British Labour Party and Ireland over the course of the last century. At its foundation in 1900, the Labour Party was broadly supportive of Irish nationalist demands for self-determination in the form of ‘home rule’. Yet Labour’s responses to the Irish question would become more complicated over successive decades, particularly after the first Labour government came to power in Britain in 1924.

Dr Laurence Marley, conference convenor and historian at NUI Galway, said: “The theme of the event provides an opportunity to examine a largely neglected aspect of Anglo-Irish relations in the twentieth century. By drawing on the expertise of a broad range of scholars from Ireland and Britain, the conference will bring a fresh perspective to the historical and commemorative focus on relations in ‘these islands’ and at a cross-border and regional level.”

The conference is free and open to the public, and the keynote event, chaired by Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor at NUI Galway, will feature a questions and answers session.

‘The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century Ireland’ is supported by the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway, and by the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund.


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