MacGill School 2021

The 41st MacGill Summer School will take place virtually from October 27-29, 2021

The MacGill Summer School is Ireland's international forum for thought leaders to discuss the critical issues facing the country, Europe, and our world.

The MacGill Summer School was founded forty years ago in the small town of Glenties in County Donegal and has grown from very modest beginnings to being one of the most important fora in Ireland for the analysis of topics of national and international interest.

It has consistently been a source of innovative and fresh thinking on a range of social, economic, and political ideas. Every July it brings together government ministers, parliamentarians, heads of industry, trade union leaders, economists, sociologists, church leaders and a broad range of public representatives from the North and South of Ireland, and beyond. 

In 2021, it will be in digital format and taking place at the end of October (27th-29th), allowing you to join from anywhere in the world.

Schedule 2021


Click on a day below to browse the timetable

A Threatened Planet:

Recovery From The Pandemic Must Be Built
On New Values And A New Vision

10.00 Opening of MacGill School 2021
  • Welcome by Director of MacGill School Dr. Joe Mulholland
10.05  The Pandemic: the Cost, the Lessons and the Road Ahead?
  • Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director World Health Organisation
  • Prof. Mary Horgan, President of The Royal College of Physicians
  • Prof. Kingston Mills, Prof. of Experimental Immunology TCD
  • In Conversation with Dr. Rhona Mahony, former Master of National
    Maternity Hospital & Exec. Dir. of the Women and Children’s Clinical Academic Directorate
11.00 Music from Donegal – Tara Connaghan Uilleann Pipe Maker
11.30 The Economic Ramifications of the Pandemic?
  • Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance, President of Eurogroup
  • Prof. Seamus Coffey, Dept of Economics, University College Cork
  • In Conversation with Dearbhail McDonald, Journalist, Author and Broadcaster
12.30 Music from Donegal – Barn Dance Fiddle
12.35 LUNCH
14.15  Providing Relief for Those Suffering from Conflict, Wars and Disasters
  • David Miliband, President & CEO of International Rescue Committee
  • In Conversation with Olivia O’Leary, Journalist & Broadcaster
15.15  Feeding the Hungry in Afghanistan
  • Mary Ellen McGroarty, World Food Programme Afghanistan Country Director
  • In Conversation with Dr Eucharia Meehan MRIA,  Registrar & CEO, Dublin
    Institute for Advanced Studies
16.00  Democracy Under Siege – Radical Political, Economic and Social Reform Needed?
  • Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight and Channel 4 News Former Economics editor
  • Joan Hoey, Economist Intelligence Unit Regional Director, Europe
  • Barry Andrews, MEP
  • In Conversation with Áine Kerr, Co-founder of Kinzen, Journalist & Broadcaster
17.00  Wild Beauty of Donegal
17.15   The Era of the Mind – Why Confidence is Crucial in our Political, Economic & Sustainable Future
  • Prof. Ian Robertson, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, TCD
  • In Conversation with Zhanna O’Clery, Head of Advancement at UWC Dilijan College, Armenia.
18.00 Close

10.00 Welcome to Day 2 of MacGill 2021
10.05 Can we Build a Strong European Union in the Interest of all people on the planet?
  • Prof. Brigid Laffan, Director & Prof. of Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
  • David O’Sullivan, Former Ambassador of the EU to the United States
  • Prof. Daniel Schade, Visiting Asst. Professor, Cornell University
  • Bobby McDonagh, former Irish Permanent Rep. to the EU
  • In Conversation with Shona Murray, EuroNews
  • In Cooperation with European Commission Representation in Ireland
11.30 Craft of Donegal – Hand weaving
11.45 Politics Then and Now and Into the Future?
  • Mary Coughlan, Former Tánaiste & Deputy Leader, Fianna Fail
  • Mary Harney, Former Tánaiste & University of Limerick Chancelor
  • In Conversation with David Davin-Power, former Northern Editor and Political
    Editor RTE
12.45 Music of Donegal – Waltz Fiddle
12.50 LUNCH
14.30 Climate Change: are we willing and able to Pay the Price? Will the Answers be Found in Glasgow?
  • Prof. John Fitzgerald, National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change Chair
  • Prof. Peter Thorne, ICARUS Climate Research Centre Director
  • Dr. Tara Shine, Environmental scientist, Policy Advisor & Science Communicator
  • In conversation with Dr Micheal O Cinneide, former director at the
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
15.40 Break
15.45 The Ocean – One of Mankind’s Most Precious Assets Is Being Destroyed.
  • Dr. Peter Heffernan, Founder of The Marine Institute
  • Dr. Kakani Katija, National Geographic Explorer
  • In Conversation with Ian Brunswick, Head of Communications at EPA
16.30 Break
16.45 Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World
  • Prof. Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation & Development, University of
    Oxford. 
  • In Conversation with Vincent Mc Carthy, Assistant Director MacGill Summer School.
17.30 Science: The Future of the Fight Against Disease, Epidemics & the Pandemic
  • Prof. Luke O’Neill, Professor of Immunology at TCD
  • In conversation with Dr. Claire O’Connell, Scientist and Writer
11.00  Welcome to Day 3 of MacGill 2021
11.05  Post Pandemic, Our Republic Needs Robust and Visionary Governance as Never Before: are the Civil Service and Oireachtas Up To the Task?
  • Prof. Mark Mellett Vice Admiral (Rtd), Former Chief of Defence Ireland – Chair of The Azure Forum
  • Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Director General & Head of Mission of MEDRC
  • Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist, IIEA
  • Prof. Niamh Brennan, Professor of Management UCD
  • In Conversation with Pat Leahy, Political Editor The Irish Times
12.15  Music of Donegal – Mazurka on the Fiddle
12.30  Brexit: How No One Got What They Wanted 
  • Prof. Chris Grey, School of Business and Management Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway, Univ. of London.
  • In Conversation with Sarah Carey, Columnist and Broadcaster
13.30 LUNCH
14.00  21st Annual John Hume Lecture
  • H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations 
  • Dr. Don Thornhill (Moderator), Legal Services Regulatory Authority Chair  
14.45 Music of Donegal – Reel Fiddle
15.00  North-South, East-West Relations: Where To Now?
  • Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Leader DUP
  • Claire Hanna MP, SDLP
  • Julian Smith MP, Conservative Party
  • Hosted by Tommie Gorman, former RTE broadcaster.
16.30  Has COVID-19 Brought Us any Closer to making the World a Safer and Better Place?
  • Dr. Fergal Keane OBE, Foreign Correspondent BBC
  • In Conversation with Mark Little, CEO & Co-founder Kinzen.
17.30  Meeting the Challenges Ahead and Overcoming Them.
  • Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence
  • In Conversation with Sean O’Rourke, former Journalist and Editor, RTE
18.30  Close of MacGill
Wednesday, October 27th

A Threatened Planet:

Recovery From The Pandemic Must Be Built
On New Values And A New Vision

10.00 Opening of MacGill School 2021
  • Welcome by Director of MacGill School Dr. Joe Mulholland
10.05  The Pandemic: the Cost, the Lessons and the Road Ahead?
  • Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director World Health Organisation
  • Prof. Mary Horgan, President of The Royal College of Physicians
  • Prof. Kingston Mills, Prof. of Experimental Immunology TCD
  • In Conversation with Dr. Rhona Mahony, former Master of National
    Maternity Hospital & Exec. Dir. of the Women and Children’s Clinical Academic Directorate
11.00 Music from Donegal – Tara Connaghan Uilleann Pipe Maker
11.30 The Economic Ramifications of the Pandemic?
  • Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance, President of Eurogroup
  • Prof. Seamus Coffey, Dept of Economics, University College Cork
  • In Conversation with Dearbhail McDonald, Journalist, Author and Broadcaster
12.30 Music from Donegal – Barn Dance Fiddle
12.35 LUNCH
14.15  Providing Relief for Those Suffering from Conflict, Wars and Disasters
  • David Miliband, President & CEO of International Rescue Committee
  • In Conversation with Olivia O’Leary, Journalist & Broadcaster
15.15  Feeding the Hungry in Afghanistan
  • Mary Ellen McGroarty, World Food Programme Afghanistan Country Director
  • In Conversation with Dr Eucharia Meehan MRIA,  Registrar & CEO, Dublin
    Institute for Advanced Studies
16.00  Democracy Under Siege – Radical Political, Economic and Social Reform Needed?
  • Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight and Channel 4 News Former Economics editor
  • Joan Hoey, Economist Intelligence Unit Regional Director, Europe
  • Barry Andrews, MEP
  • In Conversation with Áine Kerr, Co-founder of Kinzen, Journalist & Broadcaster
17.00  Wild Beauty of Donegal
17.15   The Era of the Mind – Why Confidence is Crucial in our Political, Economic & Sustainable Future
  • Prof. Ian Robertson, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, TCD
  • In Conversation with Zhanna O’Clery, Head of Advancement at UWC Dilijan College, Armenia.
18.00 Close

Thursday, October 28th
10.00 Welcome to Day 2 of MacGill 2021
10.05 Can we Build a Strong European Union in the Interest of all people on the planet?
  • Prof. Brigid Laffan, Director & Prof. of Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
  • David O’Sullivan, Former Ambassador of the EU to the United States
  • Prof. Daniel Schade, Visiting Asst. Professor, Cornell University
  • Bobby McDonagh, former Irish Permanent Rep. to the EU
  • In Conversation with Shona Murray, EuroNews
  • In Cooperation with European Commission Representation in Ireland
11.30 Craft of Donegal – Hand weaving
11.45 Politics Then and Now and Into the Future?
  • Mary Coughlan, Former Tánaiste & Deputy Leader, Fianna Fail
  • Mary Harney, Former Tánaiste & University of Limerick Chancelor
  • In Conversation with David Davin-Power, former Northern Editor and Political
    Editor RTE
12.45 Music of Donegal – Waltz Fiddle
12.50 LUNCH
14.30 Climate Change: are we willing and able to Pay the Price? Will the Answers be Found in Glasgow?
  • Prof. John Fitzgerald, National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change Chair
  • Prof. Peter Thorne, ICARUS Climate Research Centre Director
  • Dr. Tara Shine, Environmental scientist, Policy Advisor & Science Communicator
  • In conversation with Dr Micheal O Cinneide, former director at the
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
15.40 Break
15.45 The Ocean – One of Mankind’s Most Precious Assets Is Being Destroyed.
  • Dr. Peter Heffernan, Founder of The Marine Institute
  • Dr. Kakani Katija, National Geographic Explorer
  • In Conversation with Ian Brunswick, Head of Communications at EPA
16.30 Break
16.45 Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World
  • Prof. Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation & Development, University of
    Oxford. 
  • In Conversation with Vincent Mc Carthy, Assistant Director MacGill Summer School.
17.30 Science: The Future of the Fight Against Disease, Epidemics & the Pandemic
  • Prof. Luke O’Neill, Professor of Immunology at TCD
  • In conversation with Dr. Claire O’Connell, Scientist and Writer
Friday, October 29th
11.00  Welcome to Day 3 of MacGill 2021
11.05  Post Pandemic, Our Republic Needs Robust and Visionary Governance as Never Before: are the Civil Service and Oireachtas Up To the Task?
  • Prof. Mark Mellett Vice Admiral (Rtd), Former Chief of Defence Ireland – Chair of The Azure Forum
  • Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Director General & Head of Mission of MEDRC
  • Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist, IIEA
  • Prof. Niamh Brennan, Professor of Management UCD
  • In Conversation with Pat Leahy, Political Editor The Irish Times
12.15  Music of Donegal – Mazurka on the Fiddle
12.30  Brexit: How No One Got What They Wanted 
  • Prof. Chris Grey, School of Business and Management Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway, Univ. of London.
  • In Conversation with Sarah Carey, Columnist and Broadcaster
13.30 LUNCH
14.00  21st Annual John Hume Lecture
  • H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations 
  • Dr. Don Thornhill (Moderator), Legal Services Regulatory Authority Chair  
14.45 Music of Donegal – Reel Fiddle
15.00  North-South, East-West Relations: Where To Now?
  • Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Leader DUP
  • Claire Hanna MP, SDLP
  • Julian Smith MP, Conservative Party
  • Hosted by Tommie Gorman, former RTE broadcaster.
16.30  Has COVID-19 Brought Us any Closer to making the World a Safer and Better Place?
  • Dr. Fergal Keane OBE, Foreign Correspondent BBC
  • In Conversation with Mark Little, CEO & Co-founder Kinzen.
17.30  Meeting the Challenges Ahead and Overcoming Them.
  • Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence
  • In Conversation with Sean O’Rourke, former Journalist and Editor, RTE
18.30  Close of MacGill

Registration is now open for the 2021 MacGill School which will taking place online from October 27th – 29th

The MacGill Summer School in 2021 is kindly supported by

Book Tickets 2021
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