Sinn Féin’s Commission on the Future of Ireland to host ‘Rights in a New Ireland’ Conference

Sinn Féin’s Commission on the Future of Ireland will host a conference on Rights in a New Ireland in St Comgall’s – Ionad Eileen Howell, Belfast, on Friday 3rd May 11am – 1pm 

Chairperson of the Commission on the Future of Ireland, Declan Kearney MLA said, “I am delighted to present this important conference entitled ‘Rights in a New Ireland’.

“It will be chaired by veteran social justice campaigner Ailbhe Smyth and the other panel members are Professor Colin Harvey, Daniel Holder and Dr Shannonbrooke Murphy.

“Each of the participants, along with the event attendees, will bring their own expertise and experiences of human rights, economic rights and working to build a socially just future.

“I am extending an invitation to policy makers, activists, researchers, experts, scholars, academics, public commentators and all those interested to attend this event which will take place in St Comgall’s on 3rd May.

“With this significant event the Commission seeks to discuss the subject of people’s rights and how they could best be guaranteed in the new united Ireland.

“We want people to have their say so everyone is welcome to attend and those interested can register on Eventbrite at the following link

“The united Ireland Sinn Féin seeks to build must be underpinned by rights guarantees and the development of a more equitable, fairer society for all.” 

Biographies of Chairperson and Panellists for Rights in a New Ireland, 3rd May 2024, St Comgall’s Ionad Eileen Howell

Dr Shannonbrooke Murphy

Dr Shannonbrooke Murphy is Endowed Chair and Associate Professor in Human Rights at St Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada. She was appointed to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission in 2023, and as Director of the Atlantic Human Rights Centre in 2024. Prior to this, she was a Member of the Sinn Féin delegation to the Bill of Rights Forum and a member of its Legal and Technical Working Group and acted as Director of the party delegation to the first Constitutional Convention. She was Sinn Féin’s National Director of Policy from 2005-2014, and in various capacities has advised its elected members in Leinster House, Stormont and the European Parliament on matters of justice, equality, human rights, international affairs and defence, and on implementation of various human rights provisions in the Good Friday Agreement. She holds an LLM from University of Galway in International Human Rights Law and a PhD in Law from Middlesex University. Her academic writing has been cited in proceedings before the South African Constitutional Court and in the Oxford Commentary on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Her first book will be published by Cambridge University Press in Fall 2024.

Professor Colin Harvey

Colin Harvey is Professor of Human Rights Law in the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, a Fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies. He is a member of the Management Board of Ireland’s Future. Colin is also a Commissioner on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and a member of the Scientific Committee of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.b

Ailbhe Smyth

Ailbhe Smyth was the founding head of Women’s and Gender Studies at University College Dublin where she lectured for many years and is a long-time feminist, LGBTIQ+  and socialist activist. She played a leading role in the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015 and was co-director of the abortion referendum campaign in 2018. Currently, she is Chair of Women’s Aid and also of Ballyfermot STAR Addiction services. She is a director of Age Action  and of the Women’s Global Health Network Ireland, and Patron of the Women’s Collective Ireland (WCI). Among other campaigning activities, she is a founding member of Le Cheile: Diversity not Division, a cross-sectoral alliance challenging far right extremism. She was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2019. Recently, she was conferred with an honorary doctorate in laws by Galway University, and received the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

Daniel Holder

From April 2023 Daniel Holder has been the Director of the Belfast-based human rights NGO the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), having been the organisations Deputy Director since 2011. He is also the Co-Convener of the Equality Coalition – a network of equality NGOs and trade unions jointly convened by CAJ and UNISON. Prior to this he worked in the NI Human Rights Commission in Belfast, ran a migrant worker equality project in county Tyrone and worked as a linguist in Havana, Cuba. He has a primary degree in Spanish and Sociology and an LLM in Human Rights Law, both from Queens University.