Speakers Details 2021

Professor Jim Kinsella

Jim Kinsella is the Professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development in the School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin (UCD). He began his career in Africa as a volunteer humanitarian worker in Ethiopia in 1985 and as a volunteer agricultural development worker in Tanzania. On returning to Ireland in the early ‘90s he completed his PhD study on Irish farm households’ decision-making processes and became a Lecturer at UCD in 1995. He has over the past 25 years lectured on: sustainable agriculture and rural development; communications; and agricultural extension. He has established and co-ordinated MSc programmes in: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development; and Agricultural Innovation Support. His research encompasses: rural livelihoods; agricultural extension and innovation; labour on farms; and social farming. He lives with his family on a small farm in south Kilkenny and remains actively involved in his local community.

Michael Griffin is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Limerick. He is the author of Enlightenment in Ruins: The Geographies of Oliver Goldsmith (2013). He edited an edition of the eighteenth-century Ballymore poet (and influence on Goldsmith) Laurence Whyte in 2016. The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith, which he co-edited with David O’Shaughnessy of Trinity College Dublin, will be published later this year by Cambridge University Press. He will be working for the next several years on a new edition of the collected works of Oliver Goldsmith, also for Cambridge University Press.

Dr Eamon Haughey is an Assistant Lecturer at GMIT, with a research focus on sustainable agriculture and climate change. Previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Trinity College Dublin where he investigated the interactions between climate change and land in Ireland. He also contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Prior to this Eamon was a scientist with the Cocoa Life sustainability program of Mondelēz International (owner of Cadburys). He holds a PhD in Applied Plant Ecology from UCD and Teagasc, in which he investigated the effects of drought on agricultural grasslands.

Michael Fitzmaurice was first elected as a TD in 2014 and he currently represents the Roscommon-Galway constituency. Hailing from the Glinsk/Creggs parish close to the Galway/Roscommon border, Michael grew up on a small farm. Married to his wife Maria with three children, Michael continues to farm as well as run an agricultural contracting and turf cutting business. He also holds the role of chair of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association.

John FitzGerald          

John FitzGerald is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics in Trinity College Dublin and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

He is a former Chairman of the Irish government’s Climate Change Advisory Council. He previously served as a member of the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland and a board member of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation.

Seamus O’Rourke is a writer, director and actor. As a writer, his plays include Ride On (Livin’ Dred 2011), dig, Down and The Trappe Family (The Corn Mill Theatre), The Halfway House Hotel and Stale Mate (Canal Studio-Backstage Theatre), For Club and County (Moth Productions), dig, Victor’s Dung (Big Guerilla Productions) and his four One-Man-Shows; The Sand Park, Padraig Potts’ Guide to Walking, INDIGESTION and My Aunt Bee (Big Guerilla Productions).

Seamus has also over two million hits on YouTube and Social Media with his short stories, recitations and sketches. He recently released A Lock of Poems, Recitations and Good Ones – a collection of his much-loved poems and recitations and in 2020 he released his memoir Standing in Gaps, both of which are available from his online shop.

Andrew McHugh is a dairy farmer from Brianstown, a few miles outside Longford Town. He completed a degree in Agriculture in Harper Adams college in England and more recently a diploma in Corporate Direction (Food Business) from UCC.  Andrew has represented farmers as a county chairman for Longford IFA. He is currently the vice-chair of Lakeland Dairies Co-op and a director of Western Forestry Co-op.

Andrew has a keen interest in sustainability in agriculture and was one of the initial participants in the ‘Smart Farming’ programme. This initiative has led to a reduction in carbon emissions, improvement in farm profitability and has informed the national roadmap for agriculture.

Dr Monica Gorman is a lecturer in agricultural extension and innovation in UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science. Monica grew up on a small farm in Co. Wicklow She has worked in Sudan and Tanzania on community development in agriculture and natural resource management. She completed a PhD on multifunctional agriculture and the prospects for expanding livelihood opportunities for Irish farm families. In her current role she is bringing her diverse experiences to bear in strengthening the attention to the social sciences in a school with a dominant natural science perspective and focus.

John Connell is a multi award winning author, investigative journalist and documentary producer. His debut memoir The Cow Book was a number 1 bestseller. His latest book is The Running book an exploration of memory and history in Longford and beyond. He is a weekly columnist with the Irish independent. He farms and writes in his native Longford.

Pádraig Wims is Associate Professor of Rural Development in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. He is Director of the Masters degree programme in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at UCD. His main research interests include researching the contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to rural development and agricultural education. His particular research interest is how these ICTs can benefit rural communities. Pádraig grew up on a mixed farm in Ballymote, County Sligo.

Niall Nally

Niall Nally, MVB, MRCVS
Age 73. Ed. C.O.M. secondary Ballymahon. Leaving Cert 1965.

Awarded degree in Veterinary medicine from ‘NUI in 1970.

Current status. Almost completely retired
having completed more than 50 years in mostly large
animal clinicaI practice while operating a small suckling
cow enterprise 20 – 25 cows variable.

Committed advocate of Glyphosate use reduction in Irish

Interests Sport GAA and RUGBY.

Hobbies. English literature and poetry, music – choral
singing and occasional-fair weather golf.