Launch of SPIRe Seminar Series - Dr Sinead Walsh talk: Failure and Heroism. Western intervention and West Africa’s Ebola outbreak

We are delighted to announce that Dr Sinead Walsh, a distinguished alumni of UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe), current EU Ambassador to South Sudan, former Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Liberia, and (together with Oliver Johnson) bestselling author of Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline, will open this year’s SPIRe seminar series with a public talk on "Failure and Heroism. Western intervention and West Africa’s Ebola outbreak." on Friday, 14 September 1-2pm, UCD Global Lounge.

Copies of Dr Walsh's book will be available to buy at the event. 

-Review quotes (full list of reviews on

"The book, published on Monday, is a compelling read, full of compassion, grief, ingenuity and stories of courage and unstinting commitment of local nurses, cleaners and others who remain unsung heroes of Ebola. But it is also full of tales of denial, extraordinary lapses in leadership and awkward truths that will make uncomfortable reading for many, locally and internationally." The Guardian, 30/7/'18

"Their in-depth memoir enshrines distinct perspectives on the front line of a fraught epidemic, to offer a nuanced analysis: we see both the Herculean efforts on the ground, and the humanitarian response, warts and all. Among the lessons learnt, the need to respect local ‘citizen medics’ and collaborate with governments is pure gold." Nature, 31/7/'18


Dr Sinead Walsh is the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2009. She was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2016/17. Prior to this, she served as the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016.

Before joining the government, Sinead spent ten years in the NGO sector, predominantly with Concern Worldwide, working in India, Pakistan, Rwanda and South Sudan, as well as in a global advocacy role. She has a BA in English from Harvard University, an MSc in development studies from University College Dublin and a PhD in social policy from the London School of Economics.

Her co-authored book, Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline was published in July 2018 and is available in bookshops across Ireland and online. The book has been endorsed by Samantha Power, David Miliband and Paul Farmer among others and has been featured in media outlets including the BBC, NBC, RTE, Newstalk, The Guardian, and the Irish Independent and reviewed by Nature.

Full programme for SPIRe Seminar Series semester 1, 2018-19.