Galway to ask: How much of a Republic is Ireland?

NUIG to host public interviews with Bernadette McAliskey, Thomas Kilroy, Fr Peter McVerry, and Robert Ballagh

Bernadette McAliskey in 1969.

Bernadette McAliskey in 1969.

The 1916 Rising saw Ireland proclaimed a Republic from the steps of the GPO, it was declared a Republic again in 1919 at the start of the War of Independence, but was only recognised by Russia, before finally, in 1949, the Republic of Ireland came into being.

Ireland is constituted a Republic, but how close does the State come to upholding republican ideals of government by and for the people? How close, or otherwise, is the State to realising the values of the 1916 Proclamation of "civil and religious liberty" and "cherishing all the children of the nation equally"? What is the role of religion, art, literature, and politics in creating an Irish civic society of the kind envisaged in that proclamation?

These are among the questions that will be asked and explored at a series of interviews, led by Vincent Woods, presenter of Arts Tonight on RTÉ Radio, with public figures, and exploring the contemporary relevance of the ideas and ideals that led to the formation of the Irish state.

The first interview will take place on Wednesday, 6 April with socialist and republican activist and community worker Bernadette McAliskey, the youngest woman ever in the British House of Commons on her election in 1969. The other interviews in the series will be with the writer Thomas Kilroy (April 13 ), homlessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry (April 20 ), and the artist Robert Ballagh (April 27 ).

The interviews take place in the Ó hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway from 6.30pm to 8pm All are open to the public and admission is free.

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