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22 June 2024  

The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture 2024


Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture 2024

The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture 2024
'Potential and Poverty: How can we ensure everybody thrives'

National University of Ireland was pleased to continue its lecture and seminar series with the 2024 Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture at 5pm on Thursday 23 May 2024 at National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. This lecture, named in honour of the former NUI Chancellor and Taoiseach, centred around how we can foster fairness and equality in the sector, while highlighting the work that is already being undertaken in this area.

Dr Katriona O'Sullivan delivered the lecture ‘Potential and Poverty: How can we ensure everybody thrives’ with a response from Dr Niamh O’Mahoney.

Dr O’Sullivan is a senior lecturer in Digital Skills at Maynooth University, also co-ordinating its Think about Teaching programme. She got her undergraduate and PhD in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and also wrote a bestselling memoir, Poor, about her experience growing up in poverty. Poor won Biography of the Year and the Listener’s Choice Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards in 2023.

Dr O’Mahoney is a postdoctoral researcher at University College Cork. She received the NUI Dr Garret FitzGerald Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Higher Education Studies in 2022, for her research project “One Size Does Not Fit All” which looks at creating a more inclusive and accessible educational landscape for neurodiverse students through teaching and learning techniques. She has also received an NUI Travelling Doctoral Studentship and the NUI Denis Phelan Scholarship.

“In the early 2000’s I was a young lone parent living in Dublin 1. I was totally
dependent on social welfare, working part-time as a cleaner in Connolly train
station to keep my family going. Back then I had no idea that I was clever; that
I was capable of anything more than the life prescribed to me by my social class.
In 2008 I received a first-class honours degree from TCD and in 2012 I graduated
with a PhD in Psychology; I am now an award-winning lecturer in Maynooth University.
My journey to here was only made possible by the great policies, practices and
people who work in education access in Ireland, and I feel honoured to be able to
share my journey as part of the Garret Fitzgerald memorial lecture. Without meeting
people who saw my full potential, who believed in equal access for all, I would
not be the successful academic I am today.”

Dr Katriona O’Sullivan
Maynooth University


“Among our objectives in our 2023-27 Strategic Plan: “Deep roots,
new horizons” were to support students to reach their potential at all levels and
to develop our supports for students from underrepresented communities and
groups inhigher education. The 2024 Dr Garret Fitzgerald Memorial Lecture is
an opportunity for NUI to honour our fourth Chancellor by furthering its advocacy of
widening participation and access within higher education.”

Dr Patrick O’Leary
NUI Registrar


Images from the Lecture

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(L-R) Dr Niamh O’Mahoney and Dr Katriona O’Sullivan



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