Speaker Biographies

 

Kingsley Aikins

President & CEO
Worldwide Ireland Funds

Kingsley Aikins was born and brought up in Dublin and educated at The High School, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, from which he graduated with an honors degree in economics and politics.  He also has a post-graduate Diploma in International Marketing and has studied and worked extensively in France and Spain.  For five years he was the Sydney, Australia based representative of the Irish Trade Board and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Ireland.  He then ran his own marketing consultancy company.  He was also a founding director of The Australian Ireland Fund and for two years served as Executive Director responsible for the growth of the Fund in Australia and setting up The Ireland Fund of New Zealand.

In January of 1993, he moved to Boston to take over as Executive Director of The American Ireland Fund.  The Fund was set up in 1976 and since then The Worldwide Ireland Funds have raised over $300 million for projects of Peace, Culture, Community Development and Education throughout the island of Ireland.  In June 1995 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Worldwide Ireland Funds now active in 11 countries including Ireland.  He is a member of the Institutes of Marketing, Export and Linguistics.  He was also responsible for the successful five-year Hope and History Campaign to raise $100 million. 

He represented Trinity College, the Irish Universities and Leinster at rugby. He lives in Dublin and is married to Claire McDonough – they have three children, Grattan, Darcy and Devin.

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Hugh Brady
President
University College Dublin

Hugh Brady was educated at University College Dublin, where he was awarded undergraduate degrees in Medicine (1982) and Science (1984).  He was subsequently awarded PhD and MD degrees for research in renal physiology and molecular medicine respectively.  He spent nine years at Harvard University, most recently as Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Renal Division of the Brockton/West Roxbury VA Medical Centre. He has also worked at the University of Toronto.

Since returning to UCD in 1996 as Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics, he has enhanced his international reputation in research as evidenced by grant support from national and international agencies, publications in leading journals, patents, membership of editorial boards, lecture invitations, visiting professorships and developing key research collaborations with leading groups in the USA.  He played a key role in the establishment of UCD's Conway Institute, a centre of excellence in biomedical research.  He was a co-founder of the Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre, a research partnership between UCD, Trinity College Dublin and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland.

Dr Hugh Brady became President of University College Dublin in January 2004.  Since coming into office he has spearheaded a major drive to enhance the university's international reputation as a leading research-intensive university.

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Loretta Brennan Glucksman
Chairman
The American Ireland Fund

A third generation Irish-American, Loretta Brennan Glucksman grew up in an Irish community in Pennsylvania. She is a noted philanthropist and, together with her late husband Lewis, they have raised millions for Ireland. She has served as Chairman of the Fund since 1995 and spearheaded the Fund's successful “Hope & History” $100 million campaign.

She is Co-Chair of Glucksman Ireland House, the center for Irish Studies at New York University, which she and Lewis established in 1993. Mr. & Mrs. Glucksman also established the Glucksman Chair of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. Last year, University College Cork saw the official opening of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, a wonderful new space for visual art in Ireland.

She was appointed by the thenTaoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to the Board of the Industrial Development Agency. She also serves on numerous other boards including The National Gallery of Ireland, Trinity College, University College Cork and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Earlier in her career, Mrs. Glucksman was a producer for news and public affairs with PBS-TV.  She also was a lecturer in English literature at several universities.

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Ian Hyland

Publisher
Business & Finance Magazine

Publisher - Ian Hyland acquired Business & Finance magazine in January 2002. Over the four years since the purchase of the well known title he has created a substantial business across the Business & Finance title and other media activities including the acquisition of Magill.

Cloughmore Media Group now publishes Business & Finance fortnightly, along with an annual B&F Top 1000 companies and Who's who in Irish Business. Business & Finance also publish 20 special interest business supplements in the areas of corporate finance, international market reports, IT and professional assistance products. The company also publishes Magill Magazine, acquired in 2004, 30 customer publications and runs five significant industry awards.

Ian Hyland began his career in Irish Press Newspapers where he worked in Dublin and London on Major Accounts. He joined Business & Finance in 1993 as Sales & Marketing Director. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of iCommerce, the Swiss/US marketplace portal in 2000, but returned to acquire Business & Finance in January 2002.

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Bruce Morrison
Former Congressman
Author, "Morrison Visas"

Bruce A. Morrison is Chairman of the Morrison Public Affairs Group (MPAG), which he founded in 2001 to conduct and supervise a broad practice involving strategic advice and representation for both domestic and international clients.  He is also an attorney and provides legal advice and assistance in immigration matters. His consulting work involves advocacy to Congress and the Executive branch, as well as building alliances within the private sector.  His areas of expertise include financial services, housing finance, privacy, immigration policy, and intellectual property.

From 1983 to 1991, Mr. Morrison represented the Third District of Connecticut (New Haven) in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the Judiciary Committee, where he specialized in immigration, as well as intellectual property issues, bankruptcy law, and consumer protection policy, including privacy.  As chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, he led the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, a comprehensive reform, which included expanded admission of skilled workers.  This legislation created the "Morrison visa" program under which almost 50,000 Irish men and women received green cards in the early 1990s.

While in Congress, Mr. Morrison was involved with human rights advocacy in many areas of the world, including Chile, Central America, South Africa, Haiti, Paraguay, and the Middle East.  Through his interest in human rights, he became involved in Northern Ireland, where he first visited in 1987.  In Congress, he also served on the Banking Committee, playing a leadership role in financial services oversight, housing and housing finance, economic development, and U.S. policy regarding the World Bank, the IMF, and LDC debt.

After leaving Congress to run for Governor of Connecticut in 1990, he established a law firm specializing in immigration representation of firms and individuals.  He also served from 1992 to 1997 on the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which conducted a comprehensive study of U.S. immigration law.

Since 1991, Mr. Morrison has traveled frequently to Northern Ireland and has been involved in many aspects of the Peace Process.  In 1992, he advised Bill Clinton, while a Presidential candidate, on issues related to Northern Ireland.  He continued to provide advice and information to the Clinton White House from 1993 to 2001, including assistance on negotiations leading to IRA cessations in 1994 and 1997.  In 1992 and 1996, he was Co-Chairman of Irish-Americans for Clinton-Gore.

Also during the Clinton Administration, he was appointed by the President as Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, an independent agency regulating the twelve Federal Home Loan Banks, a wholesale banking system with assets in excess of $600 billion.  In this role from 1995 to 2000, he developed and implemented a far-reaching strategy to modernize the business of the Banks. 

Mr. Morrison holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from MIT and a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois.  He is a graduate of the Yale Law School.

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JOHNNY GILMORE,
COO
Sling Media


A seasoned operations executive with over 15 years of senior management experience running operations for high tech consumer electronics and manufacturing companies, Johnny is responsible for all aspects of Sling Media's day-to-day global operations.
He started his career in 1986 in the strategic and operations consulting practices of Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting (later Accenture) – working in the Manchester (England), Melbourne (Australia) and San Francisco offices -  with a diverse range of Andersen's global high tech and manufacturing clients.  His client list included, among others, LAM Research, Sun Microsystems, Octel and Iomega.   At Andersen, Johnny assisted these industry-leading companies in developing their global operational strategies, as well as driving process re-engineering and cost reduction programs.
 In 1997, John left Andersen to join Iomega, manufacturer of the award winning Zip™ and Jaz™ drives, to head up the company's European distribution and support operations.  During his 3 years at Iomega based in Dublin, Ireland and later in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Johnny managed the launch of the new Zip™ and Clik™ product lines to Iomega's pan European customer base, and helped the European management team grow Iomega's European business to 35% of worldwide revenues.
He then spent almost 5 years at Handspring, the smartphone and PDA device manufacturer and inventor of the Treo™  smartphone, in a number of senior management roles, including leading their worldwide customer service and support operations.  Johnny played a lead role in the due diligence process during the successful acquisition of Handspring by Palm in late 2003, to form palmOne.
Johnny later went on to serve as Vice President Operations at Virgin Electronics, makers of digital MP3 players and portable speakers, and part of the global Virgin Group headed by Richard Branson, before joining the Sling Media team in early 2005.
Johnny holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Manchester (England) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

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Hugo Hamilton   

Hugo Hamilton is the best-selling author of   THE SPECKLED PEOPLE (4 th Estate), a German-Irish memoir of his unique experience growing up in Dublin with a fervent Irish nationalist father and German mother who came to Ireland in the aftermath of World War 2.    Hailed by Colm Toibin as a ‘masterpiece' and an ‘instant classic' by Roy Foster, his account of   a family locked in a ‘language war' in which his father prohibited the use of English in the home, addresses all the ‘great issues of the 20 th century'( Nuala O Faolain).    Joseph O Connor described ‘The Speckled People' as a ‘book for our times and perhaps for all time'.   It won the prestigious PRIX FEMINA etranger in France, as well as the BERTO PRIZE in Italy, and appeared on the New York Times notable books list.  

Hugo Hamilton has been described by Hermione Lee as ‘an Irish novelist of great delicacy, originality and thoughtfulness.' His equally ‘rich and compelling' second memoir THE SAILOR IN THE WARDROBE continues the story of this complex dual upbringing and has also been widely praised as an ‘enchanting piece of work' (Terry Eagleton).   He is the acclaimed author of five novels and one collection of short stories, all of which reflect on the increasingly compelling issues of cultural divisions and   belonging.    His latest novel DISGUISE (4 th Estate- June 2008) picks up this central theme of identity by exploring the life of a three year old Jewish boy who replaced a German child of the same age, lost in the bombing at the end of World War 2.    Hugo Hamilton lives in Dublin.

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Conor O'Clery

Born in Belfast and educated at Queen's University, Belfast, Conor O'Clery worked for the Irish Times for over 30 years, mainly as foreign correspondent based in London, Moscow, Washington, Beijing and New York. He was twice Journalist of the Year in Ireland, in 1987 for his reporting of the Soviet Union, and in 2002 for his first-hand accounts of the 9/11 attack on the world Trade Centre. He is the author of several books, most recently 'The Billionaire Who Wasn't', a biography of the philanthropist, Chuck Feeney, and 'May You Live in Interesting Times', an account of his experiences as a foreign correspondent. In 2007 he received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Belfast. Conor O'Clery lives in Dublin with his Russian-born wife Zhanna.

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Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, Co.Donegal, and now lives in Dublin and lectures in English at University College, Dublin. His plays include: The Factory Girls (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1982 and Arcola Theatre, London, January 2006), Baglady (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1985), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1985; Hampstead Theatre, London, 1986),             Innocence (Gate Theatre, Dublin, 1986), Carthaginians (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1988; Hampstead Theatre, London, 1989), Mary and Lizzie (RSC, 1989), The Bread Man (Gate Theatre, Dublin, 1991), Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Hampstead, West End and Broadway, 1992, West End 2005), The Bird Sanctuary (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1992), Mutabilitie (RNT, 1997), Dolly West's Kitchen (Abbey, 1999; Old Vic, 2000), Gates of Gold (The Gate Theatre, Dublin, 2002, Finborough Theatre, London, 2004) and Speaking Like Magpies (RSC, Stratford and London, 2005/6); There Came a Gypsy Riding (Almeida, London, 2007) . His widely performed versions include Ibsen's Rosmersholm (RNT, 1987), Lorca's Yerma (Abbey, 1987), Peer Gynt (Gate, 1988; RSC and international tour, 1994; RNT, 2000), Chekhov's Three Sisters (Gate and Royal Court, 1990), Brecht's The Threepenny Opera (Gate, 1991), Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, Broadway, 1994), Uncle Vanya (Field Day Production, 1995), A Doll's House (Playhouse Theatre, Broadway, 1997), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (RNT, 1997; RNT, 2007), Sophocles' Electra (Chichester, Donmar Warehouse, Broadway, 1998), Ovstrovsky's The Storm (Almeida Theatre, London, 1998), Strindberg's Miss Julie (West End, 2000), Euripides' Hecuba (Donmar Warehouse, 2004), an adaptation of Du Maurier's Rebecca (David Pugh Productions, national tour, 2005), Racine's Phaedra (Donmar Warehouse, 2006); Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts (Bristol Old Vic, 2007); Henrik Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea (Arcola Theatre, London, 2008) and Sophocles' Oedipus (RNT, 2008).            

AWARDS:

For Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme in 1985: London Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright, Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, Harvey's Best Play Award, Cheltenham Literary Prize, Plays and Players Award (1986), Ewart- Briggs Peace Prize (1987), London Fringe Award (1986)

For Henhouse , the Prix de l'Intervision and the Prix de l'Art Critique at the 1990 Prague International Television Awards.

For Someone Who'll Watch Over Me in 1992: New York Critics Circle Award, Writers Guild Award for Best Play

For A Doll's House in 1997: Best revival Tony Awards, Outer Critics Circle Award

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Lenny Abrahamson

Lenny Abrahamson was born in Dublin in 1966. He studied physics followed by philosophy in TCD winning a foundation scholarship and graduating with first class honours (gold medal). After college he directed the short film 3 Joes which won the Best European Short Film award at the 1991 Cork Film Festival and the Organiser's Award at the 1992 Oberhausen Short Film Festival.   

After a period of post-grad study at Stanford University, California Lenny returned home. He went on to direct numerous commercials for television in Ireland, the UK and worldwide.


His first feature film, Adam & Paul , written by Mark O'Halloran and produced by Jonny Speers, was released in August 2004 and quickly became a critical and box office hit in Ireland.  In the same year it won the Galway Film Fleadh as well as being nominated for eight Irish Film and Television Awards, winning the award for Best Director.  In 2005 it played in Official Selection at the Berlin Film Festival, Panorama section and won both the Grand Prix and the International Critics Prize at the Sofia International Film Festival.  It was nominated in the European Screenwriter category at the European Film Awards in the same year. Adam & Paul opened in the UK in June 2005 to the best reviews for an Irish film in over a decade. It went on to win the Best Screenplay prize at the 2006 London Evening Standard Film Awards.

His second feature, Garage , written by Mark O'Halloran, produced by Ed Guiney of Element Pictures and starring Pat Shortt, premiered in the Director's Fortnight selection, Cannes '07 where it won the Art Cinema prize. It went on to play in numerous international film festivals including Toronto, Stockholm, Pusan, London and Turin where it won the prize for Best Film. It recently played in cinemas across France and the UK getting great reviews in both territories. It is due to open in other countries in the near future. Garage recently won all the major film categories at the Irish Film and Television Awards; Best Film, Best Director, Best Script and Best Actor. Also in collaboration with Mark O'Halloran, Lenny made Prosperity, a series of four one-hour films for television, broadcast last September on RTE. Prosperity won Best Director (Television) and Best Script (Television) at the IFTAs .

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Robert Schmuhl

Robert Schmuhl is inaugural occupant of the Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Joyce Chair in American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also Director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Schmuhl is author or editor of ten books, including Statecraft and Stagecraft: American Political Life in the Age of Personality (1990 and 1992), Demanding Democracy (1994), Thomas Jefferson: America's Philosopher-King   (1996) and Wounded Titans: American Presidents and the Perils of Power (1996). His edited volume, The Responsibilities of Journalism, has been published in four foreign editions since appearing in 1984. Indecent Liberties came out in 2000 and was selected by the Chicago Tribune Books section as one of 40 noteworthy nonfiction titles for 2000. His collection of essays, In So Many Words: Arguments and Adventures , was published in September 2006 by Notre Dame Press.

His academic articles have been published in several books and in such journals as SOCIETY , Critical Studies in Mass Communication, The Review of Politics, Issues of Democracy, and Style. A frequent contributor to popular publications, Schmuhl's columns, features, and reviews have appeared in the The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Commonweal, American Journalism Review, The Quill , and many other newspapers and magazines.

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Eamonn J Walsh

Eamonn is PricewaterhouseCoopers Professor of Accounting at UCD. He has served as Dean of the Smurfit School of Business and Chairman of the Accounting Department.  His primary research, teaching and consulting interests are in the areas of financial analysis, equity valuation and US securities markets. A co-author of three books, his research has been published in Accounting Organisations and Society , the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting and the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance .  He was the founding editor of European Accounting and served as associate editor of the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance .

Prior to joining UCD, he held faculty positions at the London School of Economics and New York University.  A consultant to a number of leading European, US and Asian corporations, he has also completed assignments with governmental organisations, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.  He was the inaugural recipient of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Excellence in Education Award and has been a presenter at the World Economic Forum.

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Niall O'Dowd

Niall O'Dowd, author and journalist, is a leading member of the Irish-American community. He was extensively involved in the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement , and is a leading proponent of comprehensive immigration reform.
He founded Irish America Magazine , the first national Irish American magazine and The Irish Voice the, the first successful Irish newspaper in New York since 1928.
He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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Eugene Downes

Eugene Downes is Chief Executive of Culture Ireland, the national agency founded in 2005 to promote Irish arts and cultural relations worldwide. Previously he acted as a consultant advising Irish Government clients on international arts strategy and producing cultural events across Europe, Asia and South America for Presidential visits and trade missions. He has also worked in the Irish Foreign Service as Cultural Attaché in Russia, and as a music and opera broadcaster on RTE radio. Eugene has served on the Boards of leading cultural organisations including the Abbey Theatre, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris.

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Joan Burton, TD

Joan Burton is Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and TD for Dublin West.   The constituency hosts many of Ireland's multinational computer and pharmaceutical companies and is also home to a significant new multinational immigrant community.   Deputy Burton is a member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee and is the first woman TD to be appointed Finance Spokesperson of a major party.

She has served as Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Overseas Aid, initiating a dramatic expansion of Ireland's Aid Programme in Africa. As Minister of State in Social Welfare, she initiated a series of Welfare to Work and Education initiatives for lone parents and families on Social Welfare.

Joan is a Chartered Accountant who trained and worked with Price Waterhouse in Dublin prior to becoming a Senior Lecturer in the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Joan worked at the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for 3 years establishing a very successful Agreement in Commerce Education between Ireland and Tanzania.  She was Honorary Secretary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Ireland. She has travelled and worked extensively in Africa particularly Tanzania, South Africa and Rwanda.

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Ambassador Thomas C. Foley  

Ambassador Thomas C. Foley became United States Ambassador to Ireland on October 18, 2006.   Before entering government service, Mr. Foley was in business having worked in New York at McKinsey & Company and then Citicorp Venture Capital before founding NTC Group, a private equity investing business, in 1985.   He has over twenty-five years of senior management and private equity investing experience.    

From August, 2003 through March, 2004, Mr. Foley served in Iraq as the Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Mr. Foley's responsibilities included overseeing most of Iraq's 192 state-owned enterprises, stimulating private sector growth, developing foreign trade and investment, and overseeing three state Ministries.   Mr. Foley received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award in June, 2004 for his service in Iraq.

Mr. Foley is involved in numerous charitable activities focusing on the arts and educational opportunities for children.   Mr. Foley recently served as a Trustee of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and two Connecticut State Commissions involving education and children's rights.   Mr. Foley holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.   He has a 17-year-old son.

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Declan Kilberd 

Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature, UCD

Declan Kiberd is Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at UCD. He has also been Director of the Yeats International Summer School (1985-7), Patron of the Dublin Shaw Society (1995-2000), a columnist with the Irish Times (1985-7) and the Irish Press (1987-93), the presenter of the RTE Arts programme, Exhibit A (1984-6), and a regular essayist and reviewer in the Irish Times , TLS , London Review of Books and the New York Times .

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Hugo MacNeill

Investment Banking, Dublin

Hugo is the Investment Banking Services representative for Ireland. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1988 as an associate in Investment Banking. He became an executive director in Fixed Income and Equities before assuming his current role in 2001. He was named managing director in 2004. Prior to joining the firm, Hugo worked at the Boston Consulting Group in London.
Hugo is involved in several charitable and public service bodies. He is chairman of GOAL UK, the Ireland Funds, and a council member of the British Irish Association. He is a member of the European Alumni Advisory Board for the Boston Consulting Group. He is a director of various GSAM funds which are listed in Ireland.
Hugo earned a degree in Economics and a diploma in Anglo Irish Literature from Trinity College, Dublin, and studied
Economics at Oxford University. Hugo lives in Dublin.

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John Kelly

Apart from presenting The View, John Kelly also presents The JK Ensemble on RTE lyric FM (2.30-4.30pm) and the RTE television music series Other Voices .

After a degree in law at Queen's University Belfast, John joined the BBC and went on to win two EMA awards and a Sony Award for his various music/arts/documentary radio and television programmes with the BBC, UTV and Channel 4. After twelve long years of all that, he moved to Dublin in 1997 to present the groundbreaking Eclectic Ballroom on what was then called Radio Ireland. He was then lured across town to RTE to present Mystery Train where he won the PPI Award for Music Broadcaster of the Year and a serious cult following. With the train now in a siding, he now presents t he JK Ensemble on RTE lyric FM.

John has contributed to numerous publications including a 5 year stint with the Irish Times and over the years he has interviewed many leading figures in the music and arts world - Van Morrison, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Seamus Heaney, Nina Simone, Brian Eno , Peter O' Toole,   Steve Reich, Vanessa Redgrave, J ohn McGahern, Peter Brook, George Martin,   U2, Brian Wilson, BB King, John Berger, Philip Glass and many more. He has written several works of fiction including The Little Hammer and Sophisticated Boom Boom   both published by Jonathan Cape. He also co-wrote half a dozen songs on Paul Brady's latest CD Say What You Feel.

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James W. Flannery

James W. Flannery is a singer, producer, stage director, scholar and critic with an international reputation as a specialist in the dramatic work of William Butler Yeats. His book W.B. Yeats and the Idea of a Theatre: The Early Abbey Theatre in Theory and in Practice is considered a definitive study. As a director, his productions of fifteen Yeats plays at the Abbey Theatre's Yeats International Theatre Festival from 1989 to 1993 won critical acclaim even as they challenged critics and audiences to re-examine Yeats's reputation as a seminal Irish dramatist and man of the theatre. The lectures, symposiums, concerts and exhibitions produced as part of the Yeats Festival on themes of broad intellectual and cultural interest also gathered considerable attention.

Flannery has achieved distinction as a singer, particularly as one of the foremost interpreters of the amhrán mór , or “high song” tradition of Ireland. His book/recording, Dear Harp of My Country: The Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore , is considered a major work on this central figure in the history of Irish literature and music.

Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Emory University, Flannery is the director of the W.B. Yeats Foundation, which produces a regular series of public events in Atlanta concerned with Irish culture, including the highly popular Atlanta Celtic Christmas Concert now in its sixteenth season. Regularly named one of the “Top 100” Irish-Americans by Irish America Magazine , he is listed in Who's Who in America and is the recipient of a Georgia Governor's Award in the Humanities for his promotion of a wider understanding of the cultural traditions of Ireland and their contribution to the American South.

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Gara LaMarche

Gara LaMarche is President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies. Before joining Atlantic in 2007, LaMarche was Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI) from  1996 to 2007 and Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its  Free Expression Project from 1990 to 1996. He was Director of the Freedom-to-Write Program of the PEN American Center from 1988 to 1990, when PEN played a leading role in campaigns to lift Iran's fatwa against Salman Rushdie and challenged restrictions on arts funding in the United States. He was the Associate Director of the ACLU's New York branch from 1979 to 1984 and the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas from 1984 to 1988. LaMarche is the author of numerous articles on human rights and social justice issues and is the editor of Speech and Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose? He teaches at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and has been an adjunct professor at New School University and The John Jay College of Criminal Justice. LaMarche serves on the boards of PEN American Center, The White House Project and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and on the Leadership Council of Hispanics in Philanthropy.

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Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy is a graduate in Economics of University College Dublin and of the University of Essex. He has worked at the Economic and Social Research Institute, the Central Bank of Ireland, and with the economic consulting firm DKM. Since 2005, he has been lecturing in Economics at UCD.

He has served on the boards of Ireland's Electricity Supply Board and of the Irish Gas Board, has undertaken assignments for the EU Commission and for the World Bank, and has published numerous technical articles on issues in applied economics in Irish and international journals.

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Professor Karl Whelan

Karl Whelan is Professor of Economics at UCD. He obtained his PhD from MIT in 1997. He worked for over ten years in central banks, first at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington and then at the Central Bank of Ireland. His research is generally concentrated in applied macroeconomics and has been published in leading journals such as the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Monetary Economics, and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.

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Grant Lally

Grant Lally is a successful businessman and attorney.  He is partner in the New York based law firm of Lally & Lally. Lally is the founding Publisher of News Wire Publications, LLC.
Lally serves a national Co-Chair of the Irish American Republicans (www.IrishGOP.com) and on the national Board of the Republican National Lawyers Association.  He ran as a candidate for US Congress in 1994 and 96, signing the historic Contract With America.
Lally served for two years as President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (www.LegalizeTheIrish.org).
Lally earned his BA from the Johns Hopkins University; a JD from Boston University; and an LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University.

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Fergus Finlay
Chief Executive
Barnardos

Since June 2005 Fergus Finlay has been Chief Executive of Barnardos, Ireland's largest children's charity. For around twenty years prior to that he was employed as Senior Adviser to the Labour Party, serving in three Governments and working for the Party in opposition. He was one of the drafters of the Downing Street Declaration and was centrally   involved in the election of President Mary Robinson in 1990, together with other political events of the period. He also served for three years as a Director of Wilson Hartnell Public Relations.
Fergus Finlay is the author of three best-selling books. He has founded a number of organisations that campaign for the rights of people with disabilities, and has just completed a four-year term as Chairperson of Special Olympics Ireland. He is currently Chair of Volunteering Ireland. He broadcasts regularly on radio and television, and contributes a weekly column to the Irish Examiner.

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David McWilliams

David McWilliams is an economist , writer and broadcaster. He has worked with the Central Bank of Ireland, UBS bank, and the Banque Nationale de Paris. He is a popular broadcaster, author and commentator. He is the author of two bestselling books, The Pope's Children, and The Generation Game.