independent

Sunday 22 September 2019

World renowned speakers to visit town for festival

Brian Kennedy.
Brian Kennedy.

David Looby

The line-up for this year's Kennedy Summer School includes world renowned speakers and political experts, along with household name sporting giants and musicians.

A limited number of tickets are available to Thursday evening's events, the Kennedy Tea Party and the Kennedy Summer School dinner on Saturday evening as well as the free events, which are set to take place at New Ross Library.

The summer school begins with the annual commemorative Tea Party at the Kennedy Homestead. Hosted by Chief Executive of the JFK Trust Sean Connick, Michael Lester and Senator Frances Black will talk about their very different career paths. Members of the Wexford ICA Federation will create a mouth-watering range of exquisitely presented homemade cakes and pastries for this special event.

The dedication accession of the Larkin Collection to the Kennedy Book and Research Archive at New Ross Library follows. To mark the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth in 2017, an archive of Kennedy related material will be available to be viewed at New Ross Library. A short ceremony hosted by Eileen Morrissey, Wexford County Librarian, will take place to mark the formal hand-over of the collection.

The following are some of the other events taking place during the three days: On Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. a talk called Being Protestant and Irish takes place at St Michael's Theatre which is the venue for the vast majority of the remaining talks and events over the weekend.

The former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Seamus Mallon will officially open the sixth annual Kennedy Summer School on Thursday at 8 p.m.

He will participate in a public interview with Eileen Dunne discussing his fascinating career and his recently published memoir, 'A Shared Home Place' and his perspective on current developments, or lack of them, in Northern Ireland. Archbishop Eamon Martin will also be a keynote speaker at the summer school on the opening evening. He will deliver the Edward M. Kennedy lecture on the role of faith in politics. Later in the evening legendary singer and songwriter Brian Kennedy will host an hour-long concert.

A very special free event aimed at secondary school students will be hosted on Friday at 10 a.m. Called 'Inspiring Ambition over Adversity' will see some very inspiring speakers including writer Stefanie Preissner and communications expert Gina London who will take to the stage at St Mary's Secondary School as they discuss the challenges they have faced and overcome in life. At the same time a schools talk by Wexford-born illustrator Lauren O'Neill takes place at New Ross Library.

Meanwhile at the same time a tourism forum hosted by Jenny De Saulles, Head of Ireland's Ancient East, takes place at the theatre. Other speakers and panellists will include Denise O'Leary, Assistant Head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism in Technological University Dublin, Paul Kelly, CEO Fáilte Ireland and Wexford County Council CEO Tom Enright.

A speakers lunch addressed by Michael Martin takes place at the marquee in the JFK Arboretum between 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. The Fianna Fáil leader's address will be followed by a short public interview with Dr Robert M. Mauro, Director of the Irish Institute and Global Leadership at Boston College.

Sports fans can look forward to the Profiles in Sporting Courage talk at 6 p.m. Speakers at the panel discussion include Irish sports personalities Sarah O'Shea, Gearoid Devitt, Ursula Jacob and Lee Chin (pictured left).

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will take the stage at 7.15 p.m. to deliver a short address followed by a public interview. This is the first time a sitting Taoiseach will have addressed the summer school. From 8.30 p.m. The Supreme Courts of America and Ireland is the topic for a discussion chaired by Noeline Blackwell, followed by The Kennedy Summer School interview with Bruce Morrison who is a graduate of MIT and Yale law schools, where his classmates included Bill and Hillary Clinton. A former Congressman, Morrison's public interview will be with Six One News presenter Caitríona Perry.

On Saturday a History Symposium runs from 10 a.m. to 11.40 a.m. featuring a wide ranging discussion on Sean LeMass, Charles Haughey, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 years on from when it came down. 'The Walls Fall Down' will be hosted by Former Czech Ambassador to the United States, Michael Zantovsky at 11.10 a.m. From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., columnist Maureen O'Dowd will lead a discussion on US media, politics and more and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the Irish politics Panel will see Newstalk presenter Dr Ciara Kelly chair a panel discussion between TDs Mick Wallace, Regina Doherty, Jim O'Callaghan and Joan Burton. Brexit will be front and centre during a discussion at 4 p.m. called 'Our Two Islands, Our Complex Relationships' between Jeffrey Donaldson MP with the Democratic Unionist Party and former Tanáiste and Justice minister Michael McDowell SC.

AUS Politics Panel about the 2020 election, with Donald Trump's Presidency to be debated by speakers, including columnist Cal Thomas follows.

The weekend will conclude with the Kennedy Summer school dinner.

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