'Responding to Change in Irish Society' - lecture series launched by Brian Lenihan TD

`Responding to Change in Irish Society' is the title of a lecture series which was launched in DIT Mountjoy Square this week by Minister Brian Lenihan TD. Commending the relevance of the topics and the range of speakers featured throughout the series, Minister Lenihan spoke about policy areas relevant to his own portfolio, including the area of fostering, high support units and the question of Garda vetting of people who work in children's institutions.

The topic for the first lecture was 'Housing and Social Inclusion' and the two speakers were Dr. Jerry Cowley, TD and Ms Alice Leahy, Director of Trust. Dr. Cowley spoke about the care of older people in Ireland, and in particular about his work in establishing St. Brendan's village in Mulranny, Co. Mayo in 1984. This innovative centre offers a continuum of care and enables older people to remain living within their community rather than in institutional care removed from their locality. Dr. Cowley went on to address the question of Ireland's obligations to older emigrants, and spoke about the `Safe Home' project which he set up in 2000 to help to repatriate Irish people who spent their working lives in England.


Ms Leahy, who founded Trust - an organisation based in Dublin serving homeless people in need - spoke about homeless people being a diverse group whose needs are more complex than purely the need for `bricks and mortar' accommodation. Stressing the importance of giving people a sense of belonging to a community, Ms Leahy was critical of what she described as 'the overly bureaucratic response' of the state to the issue of housing and homelessness.

The title of the next lecture in the series will be 'Education and Social Disadvantage', and the speakers will be:

  • Mr. Fergus Finlay, Special Adviser to the Leader of the Labour Party
  • Ms Maura Grant, Director of Programmes for Educational Disadvantage, Department of Education and Science
  • Ms Rita Lawlor, Special Olympics Ambassador

This lecture series is organised by the School of Social Sciences and Legal Studies, and everyone is welcome to attend - for further information, please contact Kevin.lalor@dit.ie

Date: 18 February 2004
Time: 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm
Venue: DIT Mountjoy Square (G6)

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