Field Day's Annual Seamus Deane Lecture

The Right to Have Rights: Direct Provision with Dr Bryan McMahon

And Stephen Rea, Jessica Traynor & Blessings Siphathisiwe Moyo, with music by Paddy Glackin

Date & Time

Saturday 14 October 7pm



‘The Right to Have Rights’ for immigrants in Ireland is the theme of the 2017 Annual Seamus Deane Honorary Field Day Lectures, the first of which will be delivered in Galway by Dr Bryan McMahon, lead author of the McMahon Report on Direct Provision.

The actor Stephen Rea will introduce the event, which is presented in association with GIAF's First Thought Talks and NUI Galway, and each keynote lecture will be preceded by Mr Rea’s reflections on Hannah Arendt’s concept of “the right to have rights.” (Seamus Deane will not now be able to attend the event.) 

Paddy Glackin will perform new music by the celebrated composer Neil Martin and Jessica Traynor will read from her poetry, responding to the iniquities suffered by the vulnerable in Ireland.

The lecture will be complemented by a dialogue with local activist Blessing Siphathisiwe Moyo and close with a Q&A between the speakers and the floor.

​​Tickets, priced €10/€8, will be on sale at the door depending on availability, but patrons are advised to book now to avoid disappointment.

Dr Bryan McMahon
Lead author of the McMahon Report on Direct Provision

After taking law degrees at University College Dublin and at Harvard Law School, Dr McMahon joined the Department of Law in University College Cork, where he became Professor and Head of Department. He subsequently held a part-time Chair of Law at NUI Galway while practising as a senior partner with the Houlihan and McMahon law firm. A founding member of the Irish Association of Law Teachers, he has authored several legal textbooks and also been chair of the governing body of UCC. Having become a Judge of the Circuit Court in 1999, he was promoted to the High Court in 2007. In 2012 he was made an honorary Doctor of Laws by UCD.

Since retiring from the bench in 2011, Dr McMahon has extended his record of civic engagement, which includes service as chair of the Irish Universities Quality Board, of the National Archives Advisory Council and of the Abbey Theatre, as well as leading advisory groups on crime and the constitutional referendum on judges' pay. Most recently, he led a government-appointed working group to produce the McMahon Report (2015) on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers. Since that report was submitted, Dr McMahon has remained actively involved in the public discussion of progress and shortfalls in the state’s response to that report’s recommendations.