Fifth McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School

Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford, Co. Louth.
Saturday 25th August 2012


The Fifth McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School will take place in Carlingford Heritage Centre, in Carlingford Co. Louth, on Saturday 25 Aug 2012.  The McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School is held each year to honour the work, vision and courage of Dr. Con McCluskey and his wife, the late Councillor Mrs Patricia McCluskey of Dungannon, the husband and wife team who — in the early Sixties– founded the  Homeless Citizens’ League and later the Campaign for Social Justice,  the forerunners of the Civil Rights Movement.

The theme of the Summer School this year will be:
“The Right to Remember — commemoration, understanding and reconciliation, or celebration and recrimination?”

Over the next decade we will see the centennial of a series of key events which shaped the subsequent history of this island — the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the Easter Rising, the outbreak of the War of Independence, the foundation of Northern Ireland, the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the foundation of the Irish Free State.  These anniversaries have the potential to further increase divisions and antagonisms between the peoples of this island.  On the other hand they can be used as opportunities to improve and expand our understanding of these events in their full context, so as to generate reconciliation rather than continued recrimination.

The morning session will be devoted to the question: — “Can we achieve an agreed approach to the search for the truth of our past?  The discussion will be led by: — 

(1) Professor Arthur Aughey, Professor of Politics in the University of Ulster, author of “Northern Ireland Politics: Beyond the Belfast Agreement;

(2) Dr Eamon Phoenix, Head of Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College, author of  “A History of Northern Nationalism”; and

(3) Professor Brian Walker, Emeritus Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Queen’s University, Belfast, author of “Dancing to History’s Tune: History, Myth and Politics in Ireland.”

The first session in the afternoon will be devoted to the question: — “How do we bend remembrance into reconciliation rather than recrimination?”  The discussion will be led by (among others): —

(1) Denis Bradley, former Catholic priest in Derry City, freelance journalist, former Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and co-chair (along with Archbishop Dr Robin Eames) of the “Consultative Group on the Past” established by the Northern Ireland Administration, and

(2) Susan McKay, award-winning journalist, formerly Northern Editor of the Sunday Tribune; author “ Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People” and “Bear in Mind These Dead”.  Resigned earlier this year, as CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, in protest over government funding cuts.

The third session will consider the question: — “Can we achieve a North/South consensus on how to commemorate our past?”  The discussion will be led by (among others): —
(1) Alistair McDonnell MP MLA, the leader of the SDLP;
(2) Caitriona Ruane MLA, former NI Minister of Education (representing Gerry Adams TD,  Leader of Sinn Fein.)

The Summer School will, therefore, explore all possible ways and means of achieving consensus within Northern Ireland, and between North and South, on an agreed approach to remembrance, so that the right to remember

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