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Seána Glennon

Seána Glennon (Sutherland School of Law Doctoral Scholar)

Supervisors: Professor Eoin Carolan and Professor Gavin Barrett

Research Area: Constitutional Law and Deliberative Democracy

Thesis Title: The Role of Minipublics in the Deliberative System: The Impact of the Citizens’ Assembly on Constitutional and Legislative Reform in Ireland

Abstract: A significant development in Ireland’s public law system in recent years has been the introduction of deliberative minipublics into the constitutional reform process. Minipublics are designed to improve democratic machinery by enhancing citizen participation through facilitating deliberation among a representative sample of society, including those traditionally underrepresented or excluded from formal legal change processes. Much has been written about Ireland’s experience over the past decade of establishing minipublics, in the form of citizens’ assemblies, in advance of landmark constitutional referendums. The impact of these novel deliberative structures on formal public law processes, however, remains an understudied area. This research makes a new and timely contribution to the literature: an examination of how deliberative minipublics can be effectively integrated with more traditional public law processes, using the Irish citizens’ assembly on abortion as a case study.


Seána Glennon is a doctoral candidate at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, researching in the areas of constitutional law and deliberative democracy, and is Chief Outreach Officer at UCD’s Centre for Constitutional Studies. Seána is recipient of the 2019 Sutherland School of Law doctoral scholarship. She holds law degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Toronto, Canada as well as an Advanced Diploma in Corporate, White Collar and Regulatory Crime from the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Her thesis focuses on the role of citizen deliberation in constitutional reform processes, and examines the impact of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on the landmark reform of Ireland’s abortion law.

Seána is also a freelance opinion writer whose work regularly appears in national print media, including the Irish Times, the Business Post and the Journal. In addition to her research, Seána has co-lectured the Sutherland School’s Introduction to Law in Ireland module and tutored constitutional law.

Prior to embarking on an academic career, Seána practised as a lawyer for eight years in a large international law firm in Dublin, specialising in public and administrative law. She is qualified as a solicitor in Ireland, England and Wales.

Seána is currently an international visiting scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Presentations and/or Publications

  • UCD New and Emerging Voices in Constitutional Law symposium: organizer and panelist (March 2023)
  • Eoin Carolan, Silvia Gagliardi, Seána Glennon, Ailbhe O’Neill, ‘Ireland: Legal Response to Covid-19’, in Jeff King and Octávio LM Ferraz et al (eds), The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 (OUP)
  • International Association of Constitutional Law, 2022 Junior Scholars Forum: panelist (September 2022)
  • The Public Law Conference, University College Dublin: panelist (July 2022)
  • Association of Transnational Law Schools (ATLAS) Agora, Osgoode Hall Law School: presenter (May 2022)
  • Inter-American Academy of Human Rights, International Observatory on Judicial Decisions on Abortion from a Comparative Perspective: panelist (March 2022)
  • Seána Glennon, ‘More Power to the People? The Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality and The Future for Minipublic Deliberation in Ireland’, IACL-AIDC Blog (15 June 2021)
  • Seána Glennon, ‘The Anti-Mask Movement and the Rise of the Right in Ireland: What does it Mean for our Democracy?’ COVID-DEM (7 January 2021) and cross-published in the IACL-AIDC Blog (12 January 2021)

UCD Sutherland School of Law

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.