MacGill Summer School gets underway in Donegal

Additional female speakers were added to the programme amid controversy

MacGill Summer School gets underway in Donegal

File photo of a panel from the MacGill Summer School | Image:

The MacGill Summer School gets underway in Co Donegal later.

Earlier this year, the event became embroiled in controversy over the number of women speakers invited to participate.

It was revealed 45 men were to speak or moderate at the event, and just 15 women.

The co-leaders of the Social Democrats had said they would withdraw from their panels due to the gender-balance on them.

Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall are no longer listed as speakers on the event's website.

Following controversy, the director of the school Joe Mulholland apologised for the lack of gender balance.

He said: "We have fallen short of the very high standards for which MacGill has become known and which has led to audience growth year on year.

Joe Mulholland | Image: Sasko Lazarov/

"Without question, women are under-represented numerically on our panels notwithstanding the strengths and high calibre of those women who accepted our invitation to contribute."

"We are determined, in the short period remaining before MacGill 2018 commences, to do all that we can to redress this imbalance."

Extra sessions and additional female speakers were added to the programme.

They will discuss the referendum on the Eighth Amendment and also how to achieve gender balancing.

However, Europe and Brexit is the main theme of the gathering this week.

The role of the Church in Ireland and the economy will also be subject to debate.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will deliver the Annual John Hume lecture on Sunday, while EU Commissioner Phil Hogan will participate on Monday.

The event will wrap up on Friday with a discussion on why some events in Ireland are trapped in a world of gender stereotypes.