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23 July 2024  

Honorary Conferring of the National University of Ireland


On the 9 November, the National University of Ireland conferred honorary degrees on Conor Brady; Mary Crilly; Claire McGettrick, born Lorraine Hughes and Orla Tinsley.

The conferring took place in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland on Kildare St, Dublin 2, at 3pm. Members of the NUI Senate as well as friends and family of the four degree recipients attended.

At the ceremony, the Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning awarded degrees to:

  1. Dr Conor Brady - DLitt - Former editor of the Irish Times and the Sunday Tribune

    Dr Conor Brady


    Dr Conor Brady has held a number of senior roles in Irish journalism over more than 30 years, including 16 years as editor of The Irish Times. He was previously editor of The Sunday Tribune. He was president of the World Editors' Forum (Paris) 1996-2001, and chairman of the British-Irish Association 2003-2008.

    He has served on a number of State boards and commissions, including the Remembrance Commission, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC). A graduate of UCD (BA and MA), he has been a visiting professor at City University of New York. He is honorary professor of journalism at the University of Galway.

  2. Dr Mary Crilly - LLD - Activist and founder of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork (SVCC)

    Dr Mary Crilly


    Dr Mary Crilly is founding member and CEO of Sexual Violence Centre Cork since 1983. A feminist activist, she has witnessed and been party to much of the change in Irish society and institutional responses to sexual violence. She is most noted for her campaigning for policy and legislative change in the fields of sexual violence, sex trafficking, domestic violence female genital mutilation and human rights.

    Active at local, regional, national and international levels, Mary holds an MA in Women’s Studies and a Diploma in the Psychology of Criminal Behaviour. In 2019, Mary received the Anthea Swan Equality award from University College Cork and in 2022, Mary was conferred with the Freedom of the City by Cork City Council.

  3. Dr Claire McGettrick, born Lorraine Hughes - LLD - Activist and co-founder of the Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) organisation

    Dr Claire McGettrick

    Dr Claire McGettrick, born Lorraine Hughes, is an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholar at the School of Sociology at University College Dublin. Claire is also an adopted person who grew up under Ireland’s closed, secret adoption system. This lived experience of inequality inspired Claire to become an activist and advocate, and working with a group of dedicated colleagues, she co-directs Justice for Magdalenes Research, Adoption Rights Alliance, and the multi-award winning Clann Project.

    She is also director of the Magdalene Names Project, which has recorded the details of over 1,900 women who lived and died in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. Claire’s personal experience, activism and advocacy led her to enter the world of academia, where her research interests focus on adoption, so-called historical abuses, and related injustices. Her doctoral research, which is due to be completed at the end of this year, is investigating the bodies of expert knowledge on adopted people. Claire advocates for a paradigm shift in adoption research and practices as they relate to adopted people.

  4. Dr Orla Tinsley - DLitt - Writer, journalist, and health advocate

    Dr Orla Tinsley

    Orla Tinsley (they/them) is a Kildare native who has been honoured many times for their work in cystic fibrosis campaigning and health advocacy, and they are considered to be largely responsible for Ireland's first dedicated cystic fibrosis unit. In 2011, Orla wrote a highly acclaimed memoir Salty Baby.

    Orla began writing for The Irish Times on the state of CF care in Ireland in 2005 when they were 18. Their work launched a decade long campaign to improve healthcare services and awareness of cystic fibrosis in Ireland. Orla co-produced a documentary about their transplant for RTÉ and in the following ten days over 9,000 people registered to be organ donors in Ireland. Orla has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University in the City of New York.

    Orla’s advocacy and campaigning has also focused on LGBT+ issues. In 2012 and 2013, Orla regularly spoke on the rights of transgender people to attain gender recognition in Ireland. Orla has been awarded Rehab Young Person of the Year in 2008 and Broadcaster/Journalist of the year by the Gay and Lesbian Association. In 2023, they were awarded an honorary doctorate by UCD.

“Honorary Degrees hold a unique standing in Irish society and are bestowed upon remarkable
individuals with exceptional achievements and a far-reaching impact and legacy. These four
individuals have, through their respective fields, made a positive and far-reaching impact on Irish
society. What unites them is their drive and determination to make a better, more just world for all.”

Since 1909, the National University of Ireland has given out more than 1,250 honorary degrees
to such figures as Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, Seamus Heaney and Hillary Clinton.”.

Dr Maurice Manning
NUI Chancellor

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Further information from:

Cora Lenihan
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2, D02 V583
Ph: 01 4392424
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq








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