NUIG lecturer Donncha O’Connell to seek Seanad seat

NUI, Galway lecturer and former dean of the faculty of law, Donncha O’Connell has become the latest person from Galway to stand for election to Seanad Éireann.

Mr O’Connell is a member of the Labour Party but is running in the election for the NUI Constituency as an Independent candidate and will, if elected, sit as an Independent Senator.

He now joins Fine Gael’s Fidelma Healy Eames, the Greens’ Niall Ó Brolcháin, and Independent Ronan Mullen on the list of Galwegians and Galway based individuals seeking election to the upper house of the Oireachtas.

Mr O’Connell was born in Swinford, Co Mayo, in 1968 but has lived in Galway since 1985. In the 1990s in NUIG he lectured in constitutional law, labour law and European human rights, before becoming the first full-time director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties in 1999.

In 2002 he returned to NUIG and was appointed the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the European Commission. In 2005 Mr O’Connell was elected Dean of Law at NUI Galway and served a full term until 2008.

In 2007, he tendered successfully with an international consortium that formed FRALEX, the legal expert group that advises the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna and continued to work as the senior Irish expert until 2011.

Mr O’Connell has also played an active part on the board of directors of Druid Theatre Company and he regularly writes opinion pieces and analytical articles on law for newspapers.

His campaign will be re-appraising and amending the Constitution; recognition of socio-economic rights with a strengthened constitutional right to equality; a progressive approach to human rights and equality; and a “radical approach” to reforming how the law works in Ireland.

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