Department of Political Science


The Bellamy Discourse: President of Ireland Attends RIA Ethics Discourse at University of Limerick

29 May 2014

Published on the University of Limerick website here

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President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins opened a Discourse of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) on “International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics” at the University of Limerick on Friday June 6th.  The Discourse was given by Professor Richard Bellamy and attended by a capacity audience of over 190 invited guests and members of the public.

The Bellamy Discourse, which was developed under the auspices of ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative’, examined the complex area of human rights and how best to defend them from the perspective of Governments and the Judiciary.

Speaking about his ethics initiative President Higgins said: “The aim of ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative’ is to place the citizen at the centre of the debate about the future of our society by recovering a strong sense of the public world, and by using that public discourse to raise questions that go to the heart of the choices facing our society and institutions.  Since I launched this initiative in February, I have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of our citizens for engaging with these profound questions and for formulating an alternative set of principles by which Irish people can represent and project their lives together. The response from all levels of our society has been remarkable.”

Professor Richard Bellamy is the director of the Max Weber Programme at the European University Institute. His main research interests are in the History of European Social and Political Theory post-1750; Contemporary Analytical Legal and Political Philosophy; Public Ethics; Constitutionalism, Rights and the Rule of Law; Citizenship, Representation and Democracy, and their application to issues of Global Governance, especially the European Union

Speaking from the event UL President, Professor Don Barry said “The President of Ireland has asked us to further the national discourse on ethics, to enhance awareness of ethical responsibility and to engage the community in a serious debate on ethical standards. Given the challenging times that we live in, it could be argued that there has never been a more pressing case for a renewal of our national focus on Ethics.  The topic of today’s discourse is ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’ and is held under the auspices of the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative in association with the 2014 Limerick City of Culture.”

Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy said: “'As President of the Royal Irish Academy, I am delighted to have the privilege of welcoming President Higgins and Professor Bellamy to speak at our discourse held here in the magnificent surroundings of the University of Limerick. Through his Presidential Ethics Initiative, which is being supported by the Royal Irish Academy, the President has played a singularly important role in exploring the ethical connection between economy and society.  Today's discourse by Professor Richard Bellamy, who is one of the foremost authors on the concepts of public ethics and citizenship, will make a powerful contribution to that debate, by exploring the interface between international human rights and democratic public ethics.”

The University of Limerick is hosting a number of public debates, academic conferences and key note speeches on ‘Ethics’ across a variety of sectors in response to  the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative. 

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