Symposium Speakers

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Dr Roisín Higgins

Roisín Higgins is a Senior Lecturer in History at Teesside University. She is the author of Transforming 1916: meaning, memory and the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising (Cork, 2012) which won the ACIS James Donnelly Sr Prize for History and Social Science. She is also the editor, with Regina Uí Chollatáin, of The Life and After-Life of P.H. Pearse (Dublin, 2009). Roisín has published extensively on commemoration of the Easter Rising and was invited to give talks in the United States, Australia, Europe and across Ireland during the centenary. She was historical advisor on the Commemoration zone of the GPO permanent exhibition and wrote the expert essay ‘Remembering the Rising’ for the Inspiring Ireland exhibition for the Digital Repository of Ireland.

Professor Patrick Geoghegan, Trinity College Dublin &  Host of Newstalk’s ‘Talking History’

Professor Patrick Geoghegan teaches history at Trinity College Dublin, and presents the award-winning weekly history programme, Talking History, on Newstalk radio. His work on the Irish Act of Union and its aftermath, the rebellion of Robert Emmet, and the political and legal career of Daniel O’Connell, culminating in five monographs, has been recognised both nationally and internationally, and has helped reshape perspectives on the changing relationship between constitutional nationalism and republicanism. His free online course ‘Ireland in Rebellion’ covers the period 1782 to 1923 and can be viewed on YouTube or iTunesU.

Dr Diane Urquhart, University of Liverpool

Diane Urquhart is a reader in modern Irish history at the Institute of Irish Studies of the University of Liverpool. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and a former postdoctoral fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s. She has published widely on women and political activism and legislative reform. She is the author of The Ladies of Londonderry: women and political patronage, 1800-1959 (I. B. Tauris, 2008) and Women in Ulster Politics, 1890-1940: A History Not Yet Told (Irish Academic Press, 2007). She is the editor of The papers of the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council and Executive Committee, 1911-40 (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2001) and co-editor of Irish Women at War: the twentieth century (Irish Academic Press, 2010); Irish Women’s History (Irish Academic Press, 2004); The Irish Women’s History Reader (Routledge, 2000) and Coming into the Light: The Work, Politics and Religion of Women in Ulster, 1840-1940 (Institute of Irish Studies, 1994). Diane is currently completing the first history of Irish divorce.

Francie Molloy, MP

Francie Molloy was born in County Armagh in the heart of the area that was to become known as the ‘Murder Triangle’. He has been active in politics since the start of the Civil Rights campaign, acting as a steward on many marches and protests. He has been involved in Republican politics from the age of 16 at the time of the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. He took part in the anniversary marches in Coalisland, Dungannon and Armagh. A leading figure within the H-Blocks/Armagh campaign, Francie was the Director of Elections during Bobby Sands’ election campaign in Fermanagh South Tyrone. He first stood for election in 1982 and was subsequently elected with three other Sinn Féin colleagues to the then Dungannon District Council in 1985. He was elected for the Mid Ulster constituency to the Forum elections and then to the Stormont Assembly following the Good Friday Agreement. In 2007 he was elected Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, and then principal Deputy Speaker from 2011 to 2013. In March 2013 he was elected to Westminster as MP for Mid Ulster replacing Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, MLA.

Lt. Col. Kingsley Donaldson, Secretary of the Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee

Kingsley Donaldson read Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast in the early 1990s, after which he joined the British Army, finally retiring in April 2015 after a career spanning more than 20 years Regular and Reserve service with extensive operational experience across the Middle East and Europe. He held a number of demanding command appointments on operations spanning from reconnaissance, counter-insurgency, chemical and biological warfare operations to training and mentoring of local forces. Donaldson held a number of high-profile staff appointments, both on operations and within the British Army and Ministry of Defence.

He was Chief of Plans in the British Headquarters in Iraq 2006-7 and also Military Assistant to the Deputy Commander of the Army. As a Strategy Advisor to the Head of the British Army he was regularly called upon to help frame new policies within Defence and conduct strategic analysis on complex subjects, preparing policy papers for delivery at Ministerial level and briefing at Cabinet level. He was also responsible for the British Army Journal, the Army’s annual publication on strategy and future trends. Since retiring he has been engaged as a senior advisor to a number of international non-governmental organisations and commercial companies where he is working on, strategy, conflict resolution, political dialogue and security reform processes. He is the Secretary of the Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.

Fergal Keane, OBE, BBC Special Correspondent

Fergal Keane is a special correspondent for BBC News. Prior to this he was based in London in the BBC’s World Affairs unit. Fergal joined the BBC in 1989 as Northern Ireland correspondent. In August 1990 he was appointed Southern African correspondent, having covered the region during the early 1980s. From 1990 to 1994 his reports covered the township unrest in South Africa and the first multi-racial elections following the end of apartheid and the genocide in Rwanda. In 1995 he was appointed Asia correspondent based in Hong Kong and two years later returned to be based in the BBC’s World Affairs Unit in London.

Fergal returned to Rwanda in 2004, for a special BBC Panorama programme which marked the 10th anniversary of the genocide. He was named as overall winner of the Amnesty International Press Awards in 1993 and won an Amnesty television prize in 1994 for his investigation of the Rwandan genocide, Journey Into Darkness. He began his career in journalism in 1979 as a reporter on the Limerick Leader and Chronicle before moving to the national daily newspaper, The Irish Press. In 1996 Fergal Keane was awarded an OBE for services to journalism.