Sarah Burke28th November 20192min

Professor Séamus Ó Cinnéide who died on 13 November was an early supporter of the Institute project and a contributor to its initial programme of Studies in European Union. In 1993, he edited a major study of Social Europe, addressing the social implications for Ireland of its membership of the European Community and, a year later, coordinated an Institute response to the Commission Green Paper on European Social Policy.

President Michael D. Higgins paid tribute to Séamus Ó Cinnéide, saying that “with his passing, applied Irish social studies have lost a founding champion.” President Higgins also noted his work, including his book ‘A Law For The Poor’ and his campaigning, most notably through the Kilkenny Conference.

At that Kilkenny Conference, in November 1971, Séamus presented a paper on The Extent of Poverty in Ireland which concluded that some twenty per cent of the Irish population lived in poverty.  This revelation led to immediate responses in academic, social and political circles. Further, a Labour Party paper, to which Séamus provided technical advice, led directly to action at the level of the European Community which Ireland joined in 1973. His proposal of a programme of pilot schemes to combat poverty was accepted by Dr Patrick Hillery, the first Irish member of the European Commission, and became part of his Social Action Programme in 1974.

This led to the establishment of the first Combat Poverty Committee, chaired by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy. Seamus was a member of the Committee – thirteen of the sixteen individual members of which had attended the Kilkenny Conference. Sister Stan noted this statistical fact in her final Committee report, commenting “thus the bridge from idea and discussion to action was created.”

Séamus Ó Cinnéide had a long and distinguished career in Maynooth University, as Professor of Applied Social Studies. Under his leadership the Department of Applied Social Studies has earned a high reputation for teaching, research and development in these areas, including, for a number of years, the EU sponsored Masters in European Social Policy Analysis. He also made a notable input to Irish social policy debate and action, in particular in the area of Child Care.

Tony Brown, IIEA Senior Fellow and Founding Member


IIEA29th October 20192min

Noreen Kearney who died on 26 October made a significant contribution to the development of the Institute from the earliest days.  The Institute’s President, Brendan Halligan described her as “a great stalwart and wonderful supporter.”

Noreen Kearney had a long and influential career in TCD where she achieved the position of Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Studies.  Her notable skills in giving direction to a major faculty were matched by her academic contribution, for example in co-editing a 2005 IPA study “Social Work in Ireland.”

In 1974 she was recruited by Frank Cluskey to play a key role in the establishment of the National Committee on Pilot Schemes to Combat Poverty under the leadership of her friend Sister Stanislaus Kennedy.   She served on the Committee until its closure in 1980.  In 1986 she was named as the first Chair of the Combat Poverty Agency (1986-1989) and then as Vice-Chair (1989-1995).   In both of these positions she was closely involved in the evolution and implementation of European Social Policy led, in the Brussels Commission by Patrick Hillery, Jacques Delors and Padraig Flynn.

Her interest in European matters led Noreen Kearney to associate herself with the Institute of European Affairs, launched by Brendan Halligan in 1991.   She chaired one of the Institute’s early Working Groups, in the area of European Social policy, which produced a study of ‘EC Social Policy and Ireland’, edited by Seamus O Conneide in 1993.

Noreen Kearney was elected to the Institute’s Board of Directors in December 1993 when she was appointed to the group of Vice Chairpersons working with, and supporting, the IEA  Chairperson, Brendan Halligan.   She held that position until her retirement from the Board in 2013 when a carefully planned reorganisation of the Institute structures, to which she had made a major contribution in Board deliberations and decisions, was implemented. .

She took the chair at a number of the Institute Annual General Meetings, notably on the day of her election to the Board in 1993.   She was an ex-officio member of the Institute’s Executive Committee, which directed the organisation’s day-to-day affairs and supported the work of the succession of outstanding occupants of the position of Director General: Brian Farrell, Terry Stewart, Alan Dukes, Jill Donoghue, Joe Brosnan and Daithi O Ceallaigh.

She was actively involved from the outset in key aspects of the Institute’s activities, chairing the Social Europe Group and participating in the work of the Board’s important Finance and Administration and Research Programmes Committees.

On her retirement from the Board, Noreen Kearney was made an Honorary Life Member of the Institute, joining Adrian Burke, Patrick Keatinge, Derry O’Hegarty, Geraldine Byrne Nason, Con Power and Lord Williamson of Horton, all of whom had contributed to the Institute’s development over the years.   She now becomes the sixth Honarary Life Member to have died and who are remembered with respect and gratitude, with former President Patrick Hillery, former Taoisigh Jack Lynch and Garret FitzGerald, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jim Dooge and DrTomas O Cofaigh.

Tony Brown

IIEA22nd October 20192min

The Institute of International and European Affairs is delighted to announce Michael Collins as its new Director General effective Monday, 18 November 2019.

Michael’s appointment follows an open recruitment process which commenced in August 2019. Michael takes over from Donal de Buitléir who has been serving as Acting Director General since January 2019.

On his appointment, incoming IIEA Director General Michael Collins said: “I am delighted at this critical time to be taking up this position at the IIEA. The work of the Institute in providing thoughtful analysis and a forum for informed reflection on key European and international issues has never been more relevant. I look forward to leading the Institute and engaging with its membership and friends on its agenda of ever-increasing importance to Ireland and to the international community generally.”

IIEA Chairperson, Ruairi Quinn said: “We look forward to the wealth of knowledge and experience that Michael will bring to the role of Director General of the Institute. Over a distinguished diplomatic career, he served as ambassador to some of Ireland’s most important strategic partners, namely the United States and most recently, Germany. He also played an important role in the Good Friday Agreement working closely with then-Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. His deep understanding of international and European affairs, at this crucial and uncertain time for decision-makers, will be of great benefit to the IIEA over the coming years.

Ruairi continued: “The IIEA board would like to thank Donal de Buitléir, who has stood in as our Acting Director General since January 2019. He has served with distinction during that period.”

Michael Collins Biography

Michael served at the highest level in the Irish diplomatic service during a 45-year career. He most recently served as Irish Ambassador to Germany from 2013 to 2019 and prior to this, he served as Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2013. In 2001 he was appointed Second Secretary General in the Department of An Taoiseach with responsibility for the Northern Ireland peace process, Anglo-Irish issues and EU and international issues. On retirement, he became the longest-serving diplomat in the history of the Irish foreign service.

IIEA6th October 20175min

The death of former Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, at the age of 97, has led to many tributes from across politics and from academic commentators. Many warm comments have come from those who had the opportunity of working with him, especially in the National Coalition government of 1973-1977.