Dr Sindy Joyce ‘shadows’ Minster David Stanton to bridge the divide between research and politics



Posted: 16 October, 2019

(left to right): Dr Eavan O'Brien, Dr Sindy Joyce, David Stanton TD. Photo credit: Marc O'Sullivan

Dr Sindy Joyce, a doctoral graduate of the Sociology Department at University of Limerick, a Member of the Council of State and the first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD, ‘shadowed’ Minister David Stanton over two days this week 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 and beyond. 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.

For her PhD, Dr Joyce interviewed a group of 40 young Travellers aged 14 – 21 about their experiences of integration with the settled community and how they navigate public and commercial spaces. Dr Joyce’s research has strong relevance to Minister Stanton’s work and his responsibilities for equality, immigration and integration.

Minister Stanton said: “It’s a privilege to draw on the expertise of Ireland’s research sector and Sindy’s research in particular as she joins me at work for two days this week. 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 can have significant impact on our work as legislators.”

The two days included the launch of the Kildare Traveller and Roma Strategy in Naas, briefings on the Migrant Integration Strategy, and a meeting of the Youth Justice Strategy Steering Group as well as the usual Dáil business.

Dr Joyce said: “I’m delighted to be paired with David for the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas shadowing scheme. For politicians and policy-makers to make the best decisions, they need access to excellent research. The vibrant research community in Ireland can provide that. I’m enjoying briefing him 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,” she said.  “The excellent research underway in Ireland can make an important contribution to public-policy formation and the legislative process.

“TDs and senators may sometimes be unaware of the full breadth and potential of Ireland’s research sector.  At the same time, researchers may not always 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.”

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