Countdown is on to the 2016 Kennedy Summer School


An Tánaiste, U.S. Presidential campaign strategists, News correspondents and leading global academics to descend on New Ross


Experts in politics, Editors and journalists, Ministers, An Tánaiste and leading global academics are set to descend on the town of New Ross the proud homestead of President John F. Kennedy to discuss Irish politics, the U.S. election, Brexit and debate key issues from this Thursday, September 8th to Saturday, September 10th.


Summer school attendees are anticipating hearing the insider knowledge on the current U.S. election from Columnist with the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen who will discuss the current election from a journalists’s perspective. Colin Crowell, Vice President Global Public Policy & Philanthropy at Twitter who will discuss how the campaign is playing out on the glorbal platform. Larry Donnelly, Political Commentator and Law Lecturer at NUI Galway will look at how Trump could win. Stacy Hillard, Chair of American Voices International will offer views from a republican perspective and Chief Strategist with the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential Campaign Tad Devine who will talk about the Bernie Sanders story.


Photograph Mary Browne

Tad was a senior adviser on Al Gore’s 2000 campaign and John Kerry’s 2004 campaign, and helped Fianna Fail at elections over the past 20 years. He says would have worked with the party in this year’s general election had he not been advising Sanders. Offering some thoughts on the current U.S. campaign ahead of his arrival for the Kennedy Summer School, he says, “Trump is losing right now because Clinton has made this election about Trump. But he could have a real shot at winning, if he can “wrap himself around the mantle of change” and establish Clinton as a “status-quo” candidate.”


The 2016 Kennedy Summer School will officially open with an address from the United States Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley followed by a reflection of the US Playwright Eugene O’Neill followed by a key note lecture by Professor Robert Downing a leading US academic authority on Eugene O Neill’s work and Paddy Cullivan will also host a discussion on the strangest stories of 1916.


The 2016 summer school theme is a ‘Festival of Irish and American, History, Politics and Culture’ and more than 30 guest speakers will participate discussing a wide range of topics. Noel Whelan, Director of the Summer School says, “This year’s summer school comes at a very dramatic time in both Irish and American politics and indeed at a crucial time in Irish/American relations. The line up we have gathered in New Ross for the weekend will no doubt have many compelling and interesting things to say.”


Other highlights include the school’s keynote address by the former Governor of Maryland and Democratic Presidential Contender, Martin O’Malley. An Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald TD will also offer a keynote and Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan will participate in a public interview discussing a ‘A Personal and Policing Journey’ at 6.30pm at St. Michael’s Theatre on Friday, September 9th.


On Saturday afternoon a panel discussion on Irish politics looking at the ‘Budget, Brexit and Better Politics’ will be chaired by Katie Hannon, Political Correspondent for RTE’s Current Affairs Department Katie will be joined by Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, Sinn Féin TD Eoin O’Broin, Fianna Fáil TD and Chair of the Dàil Finance Committee John McGuinness and Independent Senator Lynn Ruane.


Celebrity Chef Edward Hayden and Baker Catherine Leyden and will host a Tea Party in Dunganstown at the Kennedy Homestead with a coffee masterclass by Ray Cullen. Taking the Summer School to a close will be a special screening of the Oscar’s 2016 Best Picture ‘SPOTLIGHT’ which tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic dioceses, and the decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Colm O Gorman Executive Director at Amnesty International Ireland, Alison O’Connor Columnist with The Irish Examiner, Tom Mooney Editor of The Wexford Echo and Kevin Cullen Columnist with the Boston Globe.


The school will also hear discussions and addresses from Dr. Robert M. Mauro Director of the Irish Institute, Boston College, Eugene Meyer Chair, Bard College, Peter Cassells, Alison Meagher, Ronan King, David Woolner, Dr. Richard Hayes, Sorcha O’Neill, Anne Doyle, Charlie Bird, and Dr. Tony Bates.


For further details and tickets for the 2016 events see or call St. Michael’s Theatre on 051 421255