Jan O’Sullivan TD hosts University of Limerick’s Branagh O’Shaughnessy at Leinster House as part of the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas ‘shadowing’ scheme



Posted: 23 October, 2019

PhD student at University of Limerick, Branagh O’Shaughnessy, was hosted today at Leinster House by Limerick City TD, Jan O’Sullivan, 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 bridge the divide between policy-making and research and to ensure that elected representatives are supported to tap into publicly-funded research.

Branagh O’Shaughnessy’s research focuses on the empowerment of homeless services users as a means to reduce institutionalization, increase community integration, and foster successful exits from homelessness. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan is the Labour Party Spokesperson on Housing and Local Government and a former Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

Deputy O’Sullivan said: “Branagh O’Shaughnessy is conducting valuable research into the area of homelessness, which is particularly relevant to societal challenges at present. Her work underscores the vital link between strong evidence-based research and the policy-making process which takes place in Leinster House.

Branagh O’Shaughnessy said: “I’m delighted to be paired with Jan O’Sullivan TD for the Irish Research Council’s Oireachtas shadowing scheme. My research has strong relevance to her work as a Spokesperson on Housing and a former Minister of State for Housing. I’m looking forward to briefing her not only on my own and other research 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.

“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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