Prof. Luke O’Neill, Mick Mulvaney, Congressman Brendan F. Boyle
, Tommie Gorman, Donie O’ Sullivan CNN, Minister Darragh O’Brien, Alliance Party MP Stephen Farry & more.

The 2021 Kennedy Summer School is set to take place in New Ross this September 2nd to 4th and the organisers have announced a stellar lineup of guest speakers for the annual festival of Irish and American history, culture and politics.

More than 30 guest speakers will participate in debates on a wide range of subjects, the main focus will be placed on topical issues in Irish and U.S. politics with leading expert speakers from both sides of the Atlantic plus key discussions on Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol will take place along with the impact of Covid-19.

Launching the 2021 programme, Chair of the Kennedy Summer School Willie Keilthy said, “It is with tremendous pride, gratitude and – to be perfectly frank – relief that we now announce the 2021 Kennedy Summer School programme. We are delighted to unveil a programme of such depth of topics and include speakers from the U.S., U.K, Northern Ireland and Ireland to discuss life in politics right now, the ongoing impact of covid-19 and of Brexit. It is set to be another fascinating summer school series of events.

Director of the Summer School Larry Donnelly said, “Inviting speakers to participate in the Kennedy Summer School this year under current conditions is a challenge, however, we have a brilliant array of experts to discuss the hot topics of the moment. Under current government restrictions the Kennedy Summer School will be taking place as an in-person event with some events streamed online and these events will be announced closer to the festival dates.”

The Summer School will be officially opened by Professor Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin at 6 pm on Friday, September 3rd. Following the official opening address, Prof O’Neill will participate in ‘The Noel Whelan Interview’ where he will be discussing the turbulence of life during Covid-19; he will be interviewed by Virgin Media’s Zara King.

Prior to this on Friday afternoon the Department of An Taoiseach will host a ‘Shared Island Experience’ discussion at 2 pm with Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; MP Stephen Farry Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; writer, lawyer and commentator Sarah Creighton and Dr Bob Mauro of Boston College. This event will be chaired by journalist Bryan Dobson.

At 7.30pm that evening, US Politics will be the point of focus. Joining the US political panel to discuss how polarised America is will be US Congressman Brendan Boyle and Mick Mulvaney the former White House Chief of Staff, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland and US Congressman with moderator Eileen Dunne of RTÉ.

At 9 pm the always fascinating The Edward M. Kennedy Interview
 will take place. On this occasion, RTÉ’s former Northern Ireland editor Tommie Gorman will be discussing life behind the lens of reporting on Northern Ireland during his distinguished career bearing witness to extraordinary happenings in the North for over 20 years. He will be interviewed by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Saturday, September 4th commences with a History Panel as eminent historians Dr Margaret O’ Callaghan of Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Cormac Moore Historian in Residence at Dublin City Council, Dr Bill Kissane of London School of Economics and Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin of Dublin City University discuss a range of seminal events in Irish and American history with moderator Dr Mary C. Murphy of UCC.

At 2 pm an Irish Politics Panel will be the focus of attention as an all-female lineup of representatives will discuss the impact of Covid-19, the current housing crisis and more. The panel includes Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats, Neasa Hourigan from the Green Party, Jennifer Carroll McNeill of Fine Gael and Mairead Farrell of Sinn Féin with RTÉ’s political reporter Mary Regan as moderator.

At 3.30 pm that afternoon, a panel of Ireland’s leading legal journalists will take to the stage to discuss ‘Covering the Courts
’ offering an insight into reporting on some of Ireland’s most fascinating legal cases that have gripped the nation in recent years. The panel will include Conor Gallagher crime correspondent for The Irish Times, Frank Greaney the Communicorp courts correspondent, Orla O’Donnell RTÉ’s legal affairs correspondent and Vivienne Traynor RTÉ’s court’s reporter with moderation from former Director-General of the Law Society of Ireland Ken Murphy.

The final event of the 2021 summer school will see Washington correspondent Suzanne Lynch of The Irish Times join RTE’s Washington correspondent Brian O’Donovan and Donie O’Sullivan of CNN as they discuss ‘Reporting on America in a Time of Tumult
’ offering an insight into their own first-hand experiences of covering the Trump and Biden administrations and the complex media landscape in the US with moderator Larry Donnelly.

The Kennedy Summer School and Festival is run in association with New Ross Municipal District, Wexford County Council and Boston College. The Kennedy Summer School Directors include Willie Keilthy, Larry Donnelly, Dr Brian Murphy, Sinead McSweeney, Eileen Dunne, Eamonn Hore and Dr Bob Mauro.

The event will be held in accordance with all public health guidelines therefore a limited number of tickets to the 2021 Summer School will be released for sale in early August online via – visitors to the website can currently sign up to an email notification and they will be informed via email with the date and time of the ticket release.