Powerful female voices tackle issues of the hour at Women in Media 2019 in Ballybunion

Sinead Kelleher

The hot topics of the day will be discussed at this year's Women in Media Conference next weekend as leading journalists and politicians gather at the annual event in Ballybunion.

The 2019 Women in Media (WIM) conference will host some of the country's most influential journalists, politicians, corporate leaders and broadcasters as it celebrates its seventh year in Ballybunion from April 26th to 28th.

Among the speakers at the biggest WIM conference to date will be: Máiread McGuinness MEP, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, RTE broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan, Sunday Times journalist Justine McCarthy and RTE's Prime Time Political Correspondent Katie Hannon.

The conference, sponsored by Vodafone Ireland, will look at the challenges faced by women working in the public life; the future of journalism; Ireland's housing crisis; the future of social media and how Ireland will cope post-Brexit.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is the special guest on Sunday to discuss Brexit.

The opening addresses will be delivered by conference founder Joan O'Connor, CEO of Vodafone Anne O'Leary and CEO of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell along with head of school of Business, Computing and Humanities at IT, Tralee Mary Rose Stafford and community activist Dee Keogh on Friday April 26th at 7.30pm in Kilcooly's Country House.

The first talk of the weekend event will be "Women in Literature: Telling our Stories" and will include authors, Sinead Moriarty, Felicty Hayes-McCoy and Claudia Carroll.

The "Political Symposium" on Saturday April 27 will focus on "What the Government needs to do to solve our housing Crisis". The will be chaired by University of Limerick Head of Journalism Mary Dundon.

The panellists will include; Sunday Times journalist Justine McCarthy; Fr Peter McVerry; Housing Minister Damien English and Labour Housing spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan TD.

The "Women in Media" panel which will debate "'Does journalism have a future?'"will be chaired by Prime Time's Katie Hannon from Duagh She will be joined by RTE's Six One anchor Keelin Shanley, Co-Founder and CEO of Kinzen Áine Kerr, The Time (Ireland) journalists Lise Hand and Ellen Coyne and Deputy Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Susan Mitchell. An exciting addition to this year's conference is a panel discussion on "Women in STEM".

A gala dinner on Saturday night is the highlight of the weekend where awards will be presented to leading female journalists.

Organiser Joan O' Connor said that the event is an opportunity to see hear the dedicated women of our media speak.

"It is vital that we have a strong media, one that is representative of our society in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation. And one that is committed to telling the truth and to holding authority to account. We are therefore privileged in Ireland to have such strong, influential and dedicated women representing the public interest through the many media platforms that exist today."

The full schedule of events is on the www.womeninmediaballybunion.com.