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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019

The political version of the Electric Picnic is happening in a small Donegal village all this week

Glenties plays host to the 34th annual MacGill Summer School all week.

Frank Flannery, Fine Gael's former director of elections, with former minister Brian Hayes at MacGill in July 2011. Flannery returns to the Glenties this year.
Frank Flannery, Fine Gael's former director of elections, with former minister Brian Hayes at MacGill in July 2011. Flannery returns to the Glenties this year.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

POLITICIANS, ACADEMICS AND commentators from across Irish society are gathering in the Donegal village of Glenties for the annual MacGill Summer School this week.

The 34th annual event will play host to the Tánaiste Joan Burton later this morning with a number of other government ministers and familiar faces due to make an appearance in the coming days.

These include the controversial former Rehab chairman Frank Flannery, former tánaiste Michael McDowell, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and the acting garda commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan who are all slated to speak this week.

Many of the lectures and panel discussions will focus on the main question: ‘Without fundamental reform of our institutions can we meet the challenges ahead?’

Participants are also due to discuss the “loss and legacy” of the poet Seamus Heaney who died in August of last year.

The summer school was officially opened last night by the British ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott, with Dr Maurice Hayes, the former senator and Northern Ireland Ombudsman, delivering the 14th annual John Hume lecture.

This morning Burton is due to participate in a discussion on how to restore trust and credibility in our institutions. The talk will focus on the recent scandals in the Catholic church, mother-and-baby homes and the garda whistleblower controversy.

Flannery, who resigned from roles at Fine Gael and Rehab earlier this year over controversy about his lobbying work, is to participate in a discussion on the political landscape in Ireland later this afternoon.

Fitzgerald, who was appointed justice minister in the wake of Alan Shatter’s departure in May, will participate with McDowell, one of her predecessors, in a session on law and justice tonight.

The summer school is named after a writer from Glenties called Patrick MacGill who wrote about social conditions in Donegal and the plight of migrant workers in Britain in the early 20th century.

The full programme of events and speaking times can be found here.

  • will be bringing you rolling coverage from the Glenties all this week and you can follow @oconnellhugh for updates. 

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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