The Student Legal Convention will be held in the Garrett Fitzgerald Chamber in the New Student Centre on Wednesday, 2nd March. Organised by the Student Legal Service, this will be the Convention’s third year in existence, with RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan set to chair the proceedings. Cian Carton spoke to Lucy Ryan, Student Legal Convention Coordinator, about plans for the upcoming event.
Cian: What is the Student Legal Convention?
Lucy: The Student Legal Convention draws leading figures from the legal world and beyond to UCD for a day of stimulating debate, discussion and reflection. The Convention gives students the opportunity to engage in discussion with prominent figures on the pressing issues of the day in both the legal world and wider society. Each speaker will address the Convention on their expertise in their particular segment. Each segment has various figures from the public sphere and beyond to participate in a panel discussion hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan. This will then be followed by a floor discussion, where members of the audience can ask questions. The second Student Legal Convention was held in February 2015 and was an overwhelming success, bringing together delegates from all over Ireland. This success built upon the popularity of the inaugural Student Legal Convention in 2014, which was awarded the UCD Societies’ Event of the Year. Speakers who have addressed the Convention in the past include Kevin O’Malley, the US Ambassador to Ireland; The Hon. Mr. Justice Garrett Sheehan, Judge of the Court of Appeal; Joan Burton TD, Tánaiste and The Hon. Ms. Justice Elizabeth Dunne, Judge of the Supreme Court.
Cian: When did preparations for the Convention begin?
Lucy: Preparation for the Convention began back in the summer of 2015. We were required to begin then as to facilitate securing high-profile individuals to participate in the Convention. Equally the organisation of such an event necessitated such time for planning as it is one of the largest student run events in the country. The planning ensued last June, in an effort to surpass the achievement of the 2015 Convention.
Cian: Has it been difficult to organise and co-ordinate such an event, given the large number of speakers who will be there?
Lucy: Any large event requires organisation to ensure its success. The Convention is unique in a way that the majority of the coordination will occur on the day, as it is a panel discussion. This means a flexibility in the style of the Convention, giving both speaker and audience member the freedom to engage or debate. However this event has been made all the worthwhile given the generosity of speakers to come and address the Convention, facilitating a smoother organisation process. Finally without the efforts of our sponsor A&L Goodbody, the Convention would not be the event it’s going to be come March 2nd.
Cian: Which speaker are you most looking forward to seeing yourself?
Lucy: Personally I’m looking forward to seeing Fr. Peter McVerry and Colm O’Gorman for the segment ‘Ireland: Truly A Nation of Equals?’ Both individuals have played a crucial role in the strive towards equality in Ireland today. O’Gorman is the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland and his story is inspirational which I look forward to hearing on the day of the Convention. Equally Fr. Peter McVerry who is known for his tireless work with the poor and underprivileged of Dublin. To combat this McVerry founded the Peter McVerry Trust which endeavours to bridge the gap between prosperity and the poor in Ireland. It’ll be very interesting to witness such diverse viewpoints and perceptions in examining the inequality that pervades Irish society today.
Cian: Why should students attend the event?
Lucy: Students should be interested in attending the Convention given the scope of the crucial issues that will be addressed on the day. In other words, there’s something for everyone no matter where your interests or principles lie. Also given the assembly of prominent and high profile guests in attendance, it’s not a day to be missed. For anyone who still wishes to come along, tickets can be bought via our website www.studentlegalconvention.ie. Also keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on speakers and schedule!
- Cian Carton, News Editor