Former president Mary McAleese will be the keynote speaker at an inter-university law summit in Cork this weekend.
She will deliver her speech Friday night at the Rochestown Park Hotel at the event hosted by seven universities across the country. Dr. McAleese will receive the Orientum Solen Award for his work in breaking down barriers and for being an inspiration to law students.
She became Queen’s University Belfast’s first female Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1994.
On Sunday, former master of Rotunda Maternity Hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony, and Amnesty Ireland Executive Director, Colm O’Gorman, will take part in a panel discussion on the summit’s theme of Breaking Down Barriers.
Dr. Mahony and Mr. O’Gorman will receive awards for their work in creating a united community through inclusive discussion, according to summit organizer Anna O’Doherty.
Also on the panel will be Senator David Norris, who organizers describe as “the person who changed societal perceptions and Ireland’s rigid laws regarding LGBT+ rights in the landmark Norris v Ireland case.”
Another member of the panel will be Emily O’Reilly, current EU Ombudsman, who is also a former journalist. The fifth contributor will be author and activist Gina Martin, author and activist.
Ms O’Doherty said the event was sold out. The event is aimed at students interested in a career in law.
Ms O’Doherty said: “There will be 500 people attending the event, and another 100 will be at the gala ball.” She said 13 law firms from across the country will also attend the summit, along with six retired or serving judges from the Supreme Court and High Court.
On Friday, the national finals of the “Moot and Mock Trial” competitions will take place, involving the country’s seven law schools.
They will be chaired by Ms. Justice Mary C Irvine; Mr Justice David Keane; Madam Justice Marie Baker; Mr. Justice Gérard Hogan; Mr. Justice John MacMenamin; Judge Helen Boyle and Judge Olann Kelleher. Mr. Liam McKechnie, elder of the Supreme Court, will also preside over the mock trials.
The event is the first of its kind in Ireland and it is hoped that it will continue in the future.
During the summit, funds will be raised for the Aislinn Center which was founded in Tipperary and now operates in five locations across the country providing residential drug treatment services.