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We live in turbulent times. The future feels less certain, war has returned to the European continent and the face of democracy is changing. In these troubled times, the European Union is grappling with its place in the world, security and defence, climate ambition and competitiveness. Enlargement is back on the agenda. Can the EU grow beyond 27 member states, how and when? Will the same rules work for a larger EU & as we move towards elections to the European Parliament can the centre hold?

Our Speakers

Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness is the European Commissioner for financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union. Before joining the Commission in October 2020, Ms McGuinness was First Vice-President of the European Parliament. She served as an MEP from Ireland for 16 years, and was a Vice-President of the Parliament since 2014.

Olivia O’Leary

Olivia O’Leary MRIA is a journalist, broadcaster, public commentator and writer of international standing. Her work praised for its perceptiveness, literary skill and humour makes an exceptional contribution to Irish society. O’Brien Press have published two volumes of her radio columns for RTÉ Drivetime: Politicians and Other AnimalsParty Animals. She was elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2019.

Royal Irish Academy Discourse Series

Our discourses are the oldest and most renowned series of talks in Ireland. The first discourses were presented in 1786. Historically, Academy discourses were the occasion reserved for the most distinguished academics to first reveal and discuss their research in public. Continuing in this tradition, the Discourse Series brings international experts to the Academy to discuss important contemporary issues in front of a live audience.

Discourse Series

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How is Ulster Unionism defined and is it misunderstood in the Republic? This panel discussion explored the different meanings of Unionism and how they can be explained to societies outside Northern Ireland.

Our Panel

Linda Ervine MBE is a language rights activist from East Belfast. She is a speaker and supporter of the Irish language and is the founder and project leader of the Turas Irish language project, which aims to connect people from Protestant communities to their own history with the Irish language.

Philip Orr MRIA is an independent scholar, playwright and public intellectual who brings the fruits of research into the public sphere to advance peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. He was admitted as a Member of the Academy in 2018.

Glenn Patterson is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter living in Belfast. He is a founding patron of Fighting Words Northern Ireland, and is the Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.

Tommie Gorman was RTÉ News Northern Editor (2001-2021). His autobiography Never Better: My Life in Our Times was published in 2022.

 

Royal Irish Academy Discourse Series

Our discourses are the oldest and most renowned series of talks in Ireland. The first discourses were presented in 1786. Historically, Academy discourses were the occasion reserved for the most distinguished academics to first reveal and discuss their research in public. Continuing in this tradition, the Discourse Series brings international experts to the Academy to discuss important contemporary issues in front of a live audience.

Discourse Series

Abstract illustration of the letters D and S in white, intertwined on a purple background

In this Discourse, Professor Palmer argued that the three great theories of 20th Century physics are relativity theory, quantum theory and chaos theory. He focused on the fractal geometry of chaos and argues that its properties provide a geometric realisation of the great incompleteness/undecidability theorems of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing.

Our speakers

Tim Palmer

Tim Palmer, Hon. MRIA is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford. His PhD was in general relativity theory, but he has spend much of his career researching the nonlinear dynamics of our climate system. Amongst other things he discovered the world’s largest breaking waves (in the stratosphere) and pioneered the development of probabilistic ensemble prediction techniques for weather and climate forecasting. In the last few years he has become active in the field of quantum foundations.

As well as a fellow of the Royal Society and Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Tim is an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Amongst other awards he has won the Dirac Gold Medal of the Institute of Physics, and a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society. As Lead Author, he was officially recognised as having contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s award of Nobel Peace Prize.

Luke Drury

Luke Drury MRIAis the Chair of the ALLEA Open Science Taskforce. The ALLEA Open Science Task Force draws on the expertise of ALLEA’s academy members in promoting science across all disciplines as a global public good that is as open as possible and as closed as necessary. He was President of the RIA from 2011 to 2014.

Royal Irish Academy Discourse Series

Our discourses are the oldest and most renowned series of talks in Ireland. The first discourses were presented in 1786. Historically, Academy discourses were the occasion reserved for the most distinguished academics to first reveal and discuss their research in public. Continuing in this tradition, the Discourse Series brings international experts to the Academy to discuss important contemporary issues in front of a live audience.

Discourse Series

Abstract illustration of the letters D and S in white, intertwined on a purple background

Our Speakers

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly MRIA is Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, Consultant Psychiatrist at Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, and UCD Visiting Full Clinical Professor at UCD School of Medicine, University College Dublin. In addition to his medical degree (MB BCh BAO), he holds masters degrees in epidemiology (MSc), healthcare management (MA), and Buddhist studies (MA), and an MA (jure officii) from Trinity College Dublin; doctorates in medicine (MD), history (PhD), governance (DGov), and law (PhD); and a higher doctorate in history (DLitt).

He has authored and co-authored over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, over 600 non-peer-reviewed publications, 21 book chapters and book contributions, and 17 books (11 as sole author). His recent books include Asylum: Inside Grangegorman (2023). He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin. In 2018, he became Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and in 2020 was elected as Dun’s Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He was elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2024.

Catriona Crowe

Catriona Crowe MRIA is former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She was Manager of the Census Online Project, which placed the Irish 1901 and 1911 censuses online free to access. She was editor of Dublin 1911, published by the Royal Irish Academy in late 2011. She presented the RTE documentaries, Ireland before the Rising, shown in February 2016, and Life After the Rising, shown in January 2019.

She is a former President of the Women’s History Association of Ireland, and an Honorary Vice-President of the Irish Labour History Society. She is curator of the First Thought Talks strand of the Galway International Arts Festival, and chairperson of the SAOL Project, an advocacy, education and rehabilitation centre for women with addiction issues in Dublin’s North Inner City. She was elected as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2011.

Royal Irish Academy Discourse Series

Our discourses are the oldest and most renowned series of talks in Ireland. The first discourses were presented in 1786. Historically, Academy discourses were the occasion reserved for the most distinguished academics to first reveal and discuss their research in public. Continuing in this tradition, the Discourse Series brings international experts to the Academy to discuss important contemporary issues in front of a live audience.

Discourse Series

Abstract illustration of the letters D and S in white, intertwined on a purple background