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Centre for Humanitarian Action

Lárionad um Ghníomh Daonnúil

Ronan Mc Dermott

Thesis title:  An investigation of the role of risk perception in determining compliance with legal frameworks in disaster management

Doctoral Studies Panel: Dr Pat Gibbons (UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action, School of Agriculture and Food Science); Dr Heike Spieker (UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action, School of Agriculture and Food Science/German Red Cross); Prof. Sinisa Malesevic (UCD School of Sociology)

My study explores how perceptions of the risk posed by natural and human-made disasters held by state officials influences compliance by states with legal frameworks of relevance to disaster management.  On the basis of a comparative case-study approach I conducted fieldwork in both Indonesia and Ireland using both social and legal research methods.  In Indonesia I investigated compliance by government with various provisions of international human rights law of relevance to the disaster management efforts undertaken in the wake of the Mount Merapi volcanic eruptions in 2010.   My Irish fieldwork involved collaboration with the Irish Red Cross Society and a range of government stakeholders in determining the compatibility of Ireland’s legal and policy framework with European Union and international guidelines concerning the facilitation and regulation of incoming cross-border disaster relief.

The study reflects an abiding interest in how law, polity and society interact in safeguarding and promoting human dignity.  Before joining the Centre in 2011 I obtained a BA (International) in legal science, sociology and political science from National University of Ireland, Galway and an MSc in European Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Subsequently I undertook various educational outreach roles that involved working with young Irish language learners, early school leavers, and mature social studies students.  At the Centre I teach undergraduate and postgraduate classes on the legal regime of humanitarian action, international humanitarian law, the emerging field of international disaster response law, and applied research design.  My teaching to date has combined the lecture format with small group discussions, role plays and debates.  I also co-supervise MSc students’ minor theses.


Publications, Conferences and Invited Lectures

Implementation of the EU Host Nation Support Guidelines: A Study for Strengthening the Legal and Policy Framework for International Disaster Response in Ireland,’ Report prepared for the Irish Red Cross Society, forthcoming

Measuring Human Rights Compliance during Natural Disasters: The Case of Mount Merapi, Indonesia,’ Lecture delivered at Development Research Week, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 2013

Compliance with Normative Frameworks in Disaster Management: A Comparative Study of Indonesia and Ireland’, World Conference on Humanitarian Studies, Istanbul, Turkey, 2013

Monitoring Human Rights Compliance in Government Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives’, Indonesian Humanitarian Action Forum, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, 2012

The Role of Law in Disaster Management’, Lecture delivered as part of the 2nd Indonesian-Japanese Disaster Management Field Research Project, Institute of International Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, 2012 (adapted version also delivered at Universitas Gadjah Mada’s Law School, 2012)

Monitoring Human Rights Compliance in Government Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives: 
The Case of Mt Merapi Resettlement Policy’, Training Workshopprovided to Build Change staff, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2012


Doctoral Scholarship, Centre for Humanitarian Action, School of Agriculture and Food Science, UCD, 2011-2014

Erasmus Mundus II Fellowship for visiting scholars: Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, 2012 Scholarship

National Irish Bank Study Travel Fund Recipient, 2009

University Scholarship, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2006 and 2007

Ronan Mc Dermott