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Expert Group

The Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations was established by the Taoiseach in 2011 and meets regularly in the Department of the Taoiseach. Its role is to advise the Government on historical matters relating to the Decade of Centenaries, and to consult widely with academic, community and voluntary groups and members of the public to ensure that significant events are commemorated accurately, proportionately and appropriately in tone. The group is non-partisan and composed of independent members from around the country.


Dr Maurice Manning

Dr Maurice Manning is Chancellor of the National University of Ireland. He lectured in Politics at UCD for over 30 years, and is President of the Irish Human Rights Commission and Chair of the European Group of National Human Rights Institutions. A former T.D. and Senator, Dr Manning was born in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, and was educated at de la Salle Schools Bagenalstown, Rockwell College, University College Dublin and the University of Strathclyde.


Dr Martin Mansergh

Dr Martin Mansergh was a T.D. for Tipperary South from 2007 to 2011, and Minister of State for OPW and the Arts between 2008 and 2011. He was a member of the Council of State from 2004 to 2011. He was a Senator from 2002 to 2007, and previous to that NI Special Adviser to three Taoisigh, having been a diplomat. He was co-recipient of the 1994 Tipperary Peace Prize with Fr Alex Reid and Rev. Roy Magee; author of The Legacy of History for Making Peace in Ireland (2003); and Irish Times columnist 2003–6.

Professor Mary Daly

Professor Mary Daly is President of the Royal Irish Academy. She graduated from UCD with a double-first in History and Economics and a research masters in History, which secured an NUI Travelling Studentship. Her doctoral research was carried out at Nuffield College, Oxford. She has been a member of the UCD Faculty since 1973, and has also held visiting positions at Harvard and Boston College. Her teaching and research have concentrated on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland. She has written eight books, and edited/co-authored five books and numerous articles. Mary has also played an active role outside UCD, as a member of the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy 2000–2004, she was vice-chair of the Academy’s Working Group on Higher Education, whose report was published in July 2005.

Mr Francis Devine

Francis Devine, a retired tutor and author, is a former President of the Irish Labour History Society. He is the author of Organising History: A Centenary of SIPTU (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 2009) and a Trustee of the Working Class Movement Library, Manchester. Currently an Executive Member of the Musicians’ Union of Ireland, he is completing Cultivating a Trade Union Culture: A History of the Medical Laboratory Scientists’ Association, 1961–2011 and Communicating the Union: A History of the Communications Workers’ Union, 1904–2012.

Professor Diarmuid Ferriter

Diarmuid Ferriter is Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD. He was Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies at Boston College for the academic year 2008–2009. He has published extensively on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish history. His books include A Nation of Extremes: The Pioneers in Twentieth-Century Ireland (1999), Lovers of Liberty? Local Government in Twentieth-Century Ireland (2001), The Irish Famine (with Colm Tóibín) (2002), The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000 (2004), What If? Alternative Views of Twentieth-Century Ireland (2006) and Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon de Valera (2007), which won three Irish book awards in 2008. His most recent book is Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland (2009).

Dr Leeann Lane

Leeann Lane is a graduate of University College Cork and Boston College. She is currently Head of Irish Studies and Head of the School of Humanities at Mater Dei Institute of Education, a college of Dublin City University. She is the author of Rosamond Jacob. Third Person Singular (UCD Press, Dublin, 2010). She has also published on the children’s writer Patricia Lynch and on the co-operative writings of George Russell (AE). She is currently working on a study of single women in the early Free State period. In 2007 Dr Lane held the position of summer scholar in Irish Studies in Boston College. She is also a committee member of the Women’s History Association of Ireland.

Dr Sinéad McCoole

Sinéad McCoole is Director of the Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina, Co. Mayo. She has also curated exhibitions on Irish history and Irish art, including ‘Lady Lavery: Society and Politics’ (1996), ‘Passion and Politics’ (2010), the Robert Emmet Bicentenary Exhibition (2003) and ‘Guns and Chiffon’ (1997), which toured in the US in 1998. In the US she curated ‘Crossings’ (2011) and ‘Island—Drawing Conclusions: Mapping the Irish’ (2012) at the American Irish Historical Society, New York. Her books include Hazel: A Life of Lady Lavery (Dublin, 1996), Guns and Chiffon (Dublin, 1997), The Researcher’s Handbook (2000), No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists 1900–1923 (Dublin, 2003) and Passion and Politics (Dublin, 2010). She had recently published a study of the widows of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising: Easter Widows (Dublin, 2014).

Professor Eunan O’Halpin

Eunan O’Halpin is Bank of Ireland Professor of Contemporary Irish History and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College Dublin. He was previously Professor of Government at Dublin City University (1998–2000). Educated at UCD and Cambridge, he has written widely on aspects of twentieth-century Irish and British history and politics, including Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War (Oxford, 2008). He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Professor O’Halpin is Director of the M.Phil in Modern Irish History, and was (July 2005–December 2007) Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) in the School of Histories and Humanities. He is a member (2005–12) of the Board of Trinity College, and chairman (2006–)of the Library and Information Policy Committee of the Board. He is a member of the Department of Justice Archives Advisory Group, a member and former chairman of the Royal Irish Academy National Committee for the Study of International Affairs and its National Committee for History, and a member of its Irish Constitution project board. He is a joint editor of the Royal Irish Academy ‘Documents on Irish Foreign Policy’ series, and a member of the advisory board of the Historical Journal and of the International Board of 20th Century British History.

Dr Eamon Phoenix

Dr Éamon Phoenix is Principal Lecturer in History and Head of Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University Belfast. He is the author of a number of books on modern Irish history including Conflicts in the North of Ireland 1900-2000 and Northern Nationalism 1890-1940. He writes the daily ‘On This Day’ column for the Irish News and is a regular broadcaster. Dr Phoenix designed and chaired the recent lecture series organised by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council/Heritage Lottery, ‘Remembering the Future’. He is a member of the National Famine Committee and the Nomadic Project Board and a regular speaker at cross-community events on the Decade of Centenaries, 1912-22.

Gabriel Doherty is a lecturer in the Department of History, University College Cork. He received his BA in Modern History from Oxford University, having studied at Magdalen College between 1986 and 1989, and an MSc in History from University College Galway. He has edited a number of books of essays on twentieth century Irish history, most recently The Home Rule crisis, 1912-14 (Cork, 2014).

Dr Mary Harris

Mary Harris is originally from Cork and studied history, Irish and Spanish at University College Cork. She completed her MA in medieval Irish literature at UCC and her doctorate in history at the University of Cambridge. From 1992-1996 she taught Irish Studies at the University of North London. She joined the History Department at NUI Galway in 1996, where her teaching has focussed on nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland, in particular on church-state relations, political ideologies, and the Northern Ireland conflict. Her publications include The Catholic Church and the Foundation of the Northern Irish State (Cork, 1993).