Fiona O’Loughlin TD hosts Maynooth University’s Prof Mary Gilmartin at Leinster House as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme

Posted: 25 September, 2019

Professor of Geography at Maynooth University, Mary Gilmartin was hosted today at Leinster House by Kildare South TD, Fiona O’Loughlin as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas Shadowing Scheme.

The scheme sees some of Ireland’s most promising researchers ‘shadowing’ members of the Oireachtas for the day in Leinster House. The scheme was developed by the Irish Research Council to the bridge the divide between policy-making and research, and to ensure that elected representatives are supported to tap into publicly-funded research.

Professor Gilmartin is an expert in contemporary Irish migration and mobility while Deputy O’Loughlin is Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration and Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills.

Deputy O’Loughlin said: “It’s a privilege to draw on the expertise of Ireland’s research sector and Mary’s research in particular as she joins me for the day in Leinster House. I believe that quality research coupled with good public policy can addresses major societal challenges like equality and integration. The Irish Research Council funds excellent research across a whole variety of issues, which have significant impact on our work as legislators.”

Prof Gilmartin said: “I’m delighted to be paired with Fiona O’Loughlin for the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas shadowing scheme. As a Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration, my research has strong relevance to her work. I’m looking forward to briefing her not only on my own and other research work in this area, but also on the challenges and opportunities facing the wider research sector.”

Dr Eavan O’Brien, Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council, said the scheme is aimed at bridging the divide between politics, policy-making and research. “Every year, the Irish Research Council makes new awards to hundreds of talented researchers, working on topics ranging from climate change and housing to conflict resolution and health,” she said.  “The excellent research underway in Ireland can make an important contribution to public policy formation and the legislative process.

“Some TDs and senators may not be aware of the full breadth and potential of Ireland’s research sector.  At the same time, some researchers may not see an immediate link between their work and the impact that it has on the development of new policies and laws.  Our shadowing scheme aims to bridge that divide.”