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On the Importance of Ethics A Report on the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative

Tábhacht na hEitice Tuarascáil ar Thionscnamh Eitice Uachtarán na hÉireann

THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND’S ETHICS INITIATIVE TIONSCNAMH EITICE UACHTARÁN NA hÉIREANN


Contents

Foreword by President Michael D. Higgins

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Section 1: The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative

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Section 2: The response of Higher Education Institutions

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Introduction

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Broader challenges for society

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Ethics, the media and the internet

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Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making

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Ethics in the financial and business spheres

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Equality, diversity and difference

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Ethics in the education sphere

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Ethics and commemoration

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Enriching understandings of ethics and human rights

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Community Voices for a Renewed Ireland (CVRI) - Making the link between campus and community

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Section 3: The Involvement of Civil Society

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Development

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Poverty

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Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making

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Ethics in the world of work

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Equality, diversity and difference

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Section 4: Drawing some lessons and conclusions

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Broader challenges for society

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Ethics, the media and the internet

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Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making

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Ethics in the financial and business spheres

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Equality, diversity and difference

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Ethics and education

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Ethics and commemoration

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Ethics and human rights

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Conclusion: Ethics, Morality and Society

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Appendix

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On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Foreword by President Michael D. Higgins Over 60 events have taken place nationwide since the launch of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative in November 2013. The Initiative drew a wide response from the third level, civil society and the community sectors. This report captures the findings from those projects that took place in each of those sectors under the auspices of the Initiative, including the final National Seminar which was hosted at Áras an Uachtaráin. The aspirations which I set out in my Inaugural Address relate to the type of society which we wish to build in Ireland. The purpose the Ethics Initiative was to stimulate a national discussion about values as a response to the great challenges and upheavals of recent years. It was also conceived in response to the first Initiative of my Presidency, Being Young and Irish, in which young people identified the objective of building a more ethical society as a key concern. In bringing forward this Ethics Initiative, I was of the view that the difficulties which have affected the people of Ireland, Europe and more widely over recent years run deeper than questions of policy or economic failure in the recent contemporary period, but rather that the roots of our difficulties lie in the discourse of our public and intellectual life, and in the ideas and modes of thinking which dominate and restrict our political and economic choices. More than anything, our discourses in the different spheres of life: ethics, politics, economics, culture, and the environment have become separated from each other. The purpose of the Ethics Initiative, then, was to stimulate a consideration and examination of these issues in order to realise and stimulate new ways of thinking and to provide a possible framework within which creative new ideas might be brought forward. The response to the Initiative has demonstrated a great wealth of such creativity – and recorded too the great interest that there is among the Irish people and institutions in Irish society for this project of examining and reconnecting our discourse as part of the task of building a more inclusive society. The following report is a summary of the activities that took place under the auspices of ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative’. I would particularly like to thank Ciarán Lynch (LIT), Dr Kieran Keohane (UCC) and Dr Chris McInerney (UL) for their work compiling this comprehensive report on the Initiative. I would also like to record my gratitude to the Higher Education Institutions, the Royal Irish Academy and the various NGOs that hosted events as part of this Initiative. Finally I would like to thank all those members of the public who gave so generously of their time to attend and take part in lively and insightful discussions on the creation of a more ethical society. This Initiative, I believe, marks the beginning of a wider process of building a True Republic in Ireland.


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Section 1 The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Background to the Initiative During his campaign for election as President in 2011 Michael D. Higgins set out his vision for Ireland as follows: “Ireland can, I believe, emerge from the present crisis with a more responsible society and economy and with engaged citizens who will ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Together, we can build something better out of the worst of times, something both visionary and practical”1 In his inaugural address on 11 November 2011 he committed to engaging with the Irish public through a series of seminars and initiatives: “During my Presidency, I also intend to hold a number of Presidency Seminars which may reflect and explore themes important to our shared life yet separate and wider than legislative demand, themes such as the restoration of trust in our institutions, the ethical connection between our economy and society, the future of a Europe built on peace, social solidarity and sustainability.”2 President Higgins’ first Presidency Seminar, Being Young and Irish, engaged with almost 2,000 young people nationwide, inviting them to “Take Charge of Change” and share with him their vision for Ireland’s future. Many of those who took part expressed the wish for a more socially conscious Ireland, a society with values of care and concern for the welfare of all our citizens at its very core. Following on from Being Young and Irish, and with Ireland emerging from a period of crisis, the President decided that the second in his seminar series should explore, throughout all aspects of society, the topic of ethics and the challenge and invitation of living ethically together. In a speech at Dublin City University in September 2013, the President outlined his invitation to the public to collectively pursue a reflection on ethics that might have the result of bringing about a change in public consciousness, and which might become a catalyst for positive change. Through a series of speeches over the past year and a half the President has set out his vision for an ethical Republic. He has addressed universal themes including human rights and participative citizenship, and, more specifically, themes such as equality, women’s rights, the right to health, as well as looking at the plight of refugees, the meaning of international development, and the connection between economy, ethics and society. The President has also asked what constitutes the good life and what has happened to Jacques Delors’ Europe of the Citizens. He looks at these questions from domestic, European and international standpoints and a common thread that the President has weaved through his remarks is the call for an “empowered citizenry ”.3 1 Michael D. Higgins Election Campaign Literature, 2011 2 Extract from inaugural address, Dublin Castle, 11 November 2011 3 Address by President Michael D. Higgins at the Institute of International and European Affairs, October 2014


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

An Ethical Republic President Higgins began his initiative by inviting representatives of third level institutes and the Royal Irish Academy to meet with him in Áras an Uachtaráin in November 2013. At this meeting the President outlined the objectives of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative. He made reference to his Presidency as a ‘Presidency of Ideas’ and asked third level institutes how they might contribute to answering the question of “how we might live together ethically?”. The President described how the question of what makes a ‘good life’ was central to the field of virtue ethics, from the classical writing of Aristotle up to the writings of present day philosophers. The questions of ‘what constitutes the good life?’ and ‘how we might live together ethically’ are fundamental to the aims of the Initiative. The tenet that current economic thinking should be grounded in ethics and should be guided by social objectives is also fundamental to President Higgins’ Ethics Initiative. Speaking at the Institute of International and European Affairs in October 2014, the President highlighted that there was “a time when Western political economy was grounded in philosophical and ethical thought, and economic policy conceptualised primarily in relation to the social objectives at which it aimed.” President Higgins frequently emphasises the need for the economy and markets to be guided by social objectives rather than the hegemony of neoclassical economics. At the Economy and Society Summer School in Cork in May 2015 President Higgins said; “Indeed the invitation to view the world as rational, calculating utility maximisers has inflicted deep injuries on our moral imaginations, on the way we conceive of our relations to others, to the future, and to our shared planet.” Speaking to young people at the Gaisce Awards in Dublin Castle in February 2014, President Higgins stated that ethics must now be at the centre of public life and said: “What a contribution it would be to our sense of identity, and to our reputation internationally, if Ireland became a name associated with an ethical Republic”4

4 Murray, E, ‘Society is still numb’, p2. The Irish Sun.


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Launching Phase 1 of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative, the engagement with Third Level Institutes, President Higgins explained the objectives of the initiative as follows: • To arrive at a change in consciousness that encourages an active, rather than a passive, form of citizenship and to foster ‘critical consciousness’ • To help repair the reputational damage caused to Ireland by the financial crisis by demonstrating to the rest of the world, and to ourselves, that Irish people have sought to move beyond anger and recrimination by setting out new, positive principles for their living together as a society • To articulate alternative visions of Ireland’s future so as to engage the Irish people in a journey of hope, “opening a new chapter” Extracted from Internal Report on meeting with Third Level Representatives, November 2013

An Opportunity for Change Against the backdrop of the reflections prompted by Ireland’s Decade of Commemorations, and, on the international stage, Ireland being appointed co-facilitator in the formulation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, President Higgins has highlighted that, while the current moment is challenging, it is also an opportunity for the examination of ethics and societal structures both domestically and globally. Speaking at the University of Limerick on ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’ the President spoke of the role of third level institutes in stimulating discussion on the challenges of living together ethically he stated: “Indeed, in the face of the crisis precipitated by the global financial meltdown of 2008 – a crisis that has not only economic but also political, social, intellectual and moral ramifications – and, more broadly, in the face of great challenges confronting our contemporary societies – be it in relation to developments in technology and science, the scale of migrations globally, or global climate change – universities are called to recover the moral purpose of original thought and pluralist, emancipatory scholarship.”5 The President has emphasised repeatedly the crucial role of third level scholarship in interrogating current assumptions and has stated his conviction that universities must and can play an important part in nurturing alternative ways of thinking. The President has also stated however that his initiative may be “quite an unorthodox, and maybe slightly hazardous, endeavour aimed at invigorating a wide public debate on ethics”.6

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Royal Irish Academy Discourse on “International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics”, University of Limerick, 6th June 2014

6 Ibid.


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Human Rights for all In this same address at the University of Limerick the President discussed some of the complexities inherent to the contemporary human rights discourse, highlighting Hannah Arendt’s evidence of the national appropriation of ‘human rights’ that has given rise to new categories of persons without rights, such as refugees, displaced and stateless persons and he asked: “How are we to conceive of the rights of these people, who number in the millions in the world today?”7 President Higgins’ series of remarks throughout The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative are imbued with the themes of human rights and citizen empowerment, themes that are also to the forefront of his ‘Presidency of Ideas’. Launching Phase 2, the Civic Society phase, of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative at a St. Vincent de Paul conference, President Higgins’ highlighted: “Our citizens are anxious for a vision of where we are heading as a society. Too many of them live in an atmosphere of unabated stress, dealing with financial circumstances that curtail their horizon and constrict them to a regime that is one of survival.”8 He continued: “Irish people are seeking space for a reflection – for an authentic new vision in an impoverished present”. At the Irish launch of the European Year of Development in January 2015 President Higgins emphasised how timely the current moment is for an ethical examination of global and domestic societal structures. “Our decision-makers are presented with a unique opportunity to address the most urgent and fundamental needs of millions of people around the world, people who have the right, and seek the means, the freedom, to live their lives in dignity.” He spoke of the importance of development models being built around basic human rights and the strong interlink between human rights, climate change and international development. “Beyond its obvious scientific aspects, we should also look at climate change in a holistic way, in terms of its consequences on the realisation of human rights. Indeed it is becoming increasingly obvious that the effects of extreme weather events threaten the effective enjoyment of a range of basic human rights, such as the right to safe water and food, and the right to health and adequate housing.”

7 Ibid. 8 Speech by President Michael D. Higgins at the Saint Vincent de Paul Ethics Launch Event, Davenport Hotel, Dublin, 22nd September, 2014


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Speaking at an NUI Galway conference on the Human Right to Health President Higgins stated specifically: “It is my conviction that the discourse of human rights has a great deal to offer as new models of economy and society are constructed, particularly as economics is pushed to rediscover its ethical grounding. This has particular relevance to the specific question of the right to health, which is so inextricably linked to considerations of human dignity and engages all dimensions of life and community as well as questions of equality and respect for diversity”9 Continuing on the theme of diversity and as one of the group of 10 Champion World Leaders for UN Women’s HeforShe campaign, President Higgins delivered a major address, ‘Women’s Rights: One of the Great Ethical Challenges of Our Time’, at an event marking the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and hosted by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the National Women’s Council of Ireland in Dublin Castle in February 2015. The President stated at this event: “The question of women’s rights is one that engages the fundamental structures and values of our society and it is for that reason that today’s conference is one of the most important events of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative...The agenda for today’s discussions run to the heart of the political, economic and cultural challenges of our contemporary world, none of which can be understood without recognising the gendered nature of inequality and injustice.” While highlighting the major strides that have been made over the past twenty years in terms of women’s equality the President also stressed: “There remains much in that overall story that speaks of profound and persistent global injustice for women, reminding us of the many immediate and longer term challenges which must be overcome if we are to achieve empowerment of women across the world.”

Empowering workers In his address on women’s rights the President raised the issue of what we define as work particularly in the context of women who are carers in the home, caring perhaps for an elderly member of the family or someone with a disability. The meaning of work and how it contributes to the ‘good life’ became a consistent theme of the Initiative with the President delivering the ILO Edward Phelan lecture on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’ and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions running an ‘Ethical Workplace’ initiative under the auspices of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative.

9 Speech by President Michael D. Higgins at a Conference on the Human Right to Health, NUI Galway, 6th February, 2015


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

In the Edward Phelan lecture the President stated: “Indeed it is essential that work, in all its facets and in its essence as a shared human activity, be given a central place in the discussion on the values by which, we, as a community, wish to live. The question of “good work” within the broader frame of “the good life” is one of the defining issues of our times.” In the same address the President asks if people, considered as labour, have come to be considered as a means to an end, “a resource amenable to consumption by “the Total Market”- and no longer as the ultimate beneficiaries of economic activity?” In this address he highlights what he feels is the issue at the heart of the European crisis of democracy and says “We cannot afford to let social cohesion unravel under the combined effects of the dual movement I have described, of commodification of labour and depoliticisation of economic policy.” In the Edward Phelan lecture and his address at ICTU’s Ethical Workplace Initiative the President called for the empowerment of workers and the so-called precariat saying: “We need to foster widespread economic literacy, supported by pluralist scholarship and accountable policy options in a deliberative democracy.”

Empowering citizens and ethical commemoration The President carried the theme of economic literacy through into his address to The Wheel’s Annual Conference at Croke Park in May 2015. This economic literacy underpins the development of empowered active and participative citizenry. “I believe that this conception of the participative citizen, who is active in a community of citizens and who is empowered to participate and flourish, is a powerful idea that can especially be resonant at this moment in our history” The President has spoken often of the need to “remember ethically” and has described how through imagination and creativity one can prevent a tragic memory from colonising the future. This is a theme that the President addressed at Queen’s University in October 2014: “For it is in imagining a future released from the burdens of distorted past memories, and seemingly insurmountable present difficulties, that the energy is found for constructing what might be an empowering ethics of memory.”10 The President has linked the present vision of a real and ethical Republic to the vision of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation.

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1916 and the Ethics of Memory’, The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, June 2015


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“At the very heart of republicanism lies the principle of participative citizenship, and the right of all citizens to be represented and to have their voice heard. It is a concept based on an understanding of the State as a shared responsibility, rather than an abstract entity. A true republic must be built on principles and policies which recognise the common welfare, and which place the ideas of community and public at the centre, rejecting the limitations of a narrow and individualistic concept of citizenship” 11 President Higgins has suggested that some of the enduring relevance of 1916 is in the idealism of the revolutionaries. “it is also surely helpful, as we in Ireland attempt a process of reconstruction and re-imagining of our State in the wake of severe economic and political failures, that we acknowledge that we have much to learn from the idealistic visionaries of that period. Lest we be moved to judge others retrospectively, we must ask ourselves if we have taken our opportunities to break away from old and failing paradigms of thought, or perhaps we should acknowledge that we have lacked the moral courage and intellectual commitment to bring the world we need, sustainable and equal, into being.” The President’s Ethics Initiative has at its core the aim of building a more ethical, real Republic with active, empowered citizenry and political and social structures that have at their very core the values of caring and offer the chance for all of us to live together ethically.

The National Seminar On Saturday 28th March 2015 President Michael D. Higgins held his second major Presidency Seminar at Áras an Uachtaráin on the theme of Ethics, this was attended by an audience of over 100. Members of the public, representatives of the third level and civil society sectors, senior civil servants and business leaders were among the invited audience who took part in lively discussion and debate on Ireland’s ethical future. This seminar reviewed the findings of over a year’s work on the opportunities and challenges facing Ireland in building a more ethical society.

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Ibid


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

The seminar examined the experience of these various initiatives and also provided a platform for discussion of key ethical issues facing Ireland, many of which came to the fore during the course of the initiative, including the role that individuals and institutions might have in constructing a more ethical Ireland. The seminar opened with a keynote address from the President followed by panel discussions, a group workshop and presentations from representatives of the third level and NGO sectors. Among the NGOs present were Dóchas, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and The Wheel who all responded to the President’s Initiative with their own separate projects addressing in their different ways the ethical dimensions of poverty, development, work, gender and community.


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Section 2 The Response of Higher Education Institutions Introduction In response to the invitation issued by President Higgins to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Ireland to enable ‘reflection on ethics that might have the result of bringing about a change in public consciousness, and become a catalyst for positive change’, a range of responses were forthcoming. In most cases these responses were developed and delivered within individual institutions but in a number of instances collaborations between institutions facilitated interesting and innovative processes. Through these different processes, a wide variety of ‘ethics’ themes were explored, some focusing on broader questions about how society is organised, while others addressed more specific albeit broadly defined themes such as: ethics and media; ethics within the domain of public policy and decision making; ethics in the business and professional spheres; and questions of diversity and tolerance, to name but a few. This section of the report briefly describes these initiatives and clusters them into a number of unifying themes. It sets out the main elements of the initiatives undertaken, shows how they were organised, who participated and some of the lessons and future directions emerging from them. A summary of these initiatives is included in Appendix 1.

Broader challenges for society Some of the big picture questions facing societies in the 21st Century were tackled by a number of HEIs, focusing both on Irish society as well as on broader international issues. In Trinity College Dublin, a number of events, under the collective title the ‘Trinity Long Room Consultations on Citizenship’ and held between February and June 2014, invited participants to come into the University to engage with big picture questions such as ‘Ethics, Competencies, and the Challenges of Change’, and ‘Citizenship, Governance and Accountability’. These sessions were not public events but confidential conversations amongst a small, invited audience of interested parties. The Trinity Long Room Hub Led by Professor Jurgen Barkhoff, the Trinity Long Room Hub is the Arts and Humanities Research Institute of Trinity College Dublin. It is one of five flagship research institutions of the University and is dedicated to promoting and facilitating innovative research across its nine Arts and Humanities member schools. One of the main aims of the Long Room Hub is to make the most of its location and serve as a focal point for debates on the challenges facing the world today and the contribution of the Arts and Humanities in addressing them. The Hub offers an extensive and diverse programme of academic events, public lectures, seminars and conferences, aimed at increasing the visibility and the impact of its research. For more information see: https://www.tcd.ie/trinitylongroomhub/


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

The first of these sessions debated looked at the big picture issue of whether the ‘Irish crisis’ represented a ‘failure of ethics or of competence’, and sought to explore what ethical values should drive change. A later event grappled with the role of citizens in ensuring successful governance and accountability in Ireland, focusing on the role of non-elected authorities. Other discussions within this series are described further below. Tackling a challenge that confronts most if not all societies, NUIG organised a lecture on the theme of Social Equality and Poverty, delivered by Professor Jonathan Wolff, University College London. Professor Wolff ’s contribution focussed on a report he has authored for the Rowntree Foundation, on poverty - how it is defined, measured and addressed. The challenge of addressing social equality and poverty in some countries is compounded by occasional or sometimes more regular instances of natural or manmade disasters. This provided the theme for an International Symposium on Disaster Ethics organised by DCU, which recognised the many ethical dilemmas that arise from disasters, both for those directly affected as well as for planners and responders. The symposium posited that policy makers, humanitarian agencies and individual responders experience a lack of ethical guidance and training materials that might help them to better address the challenging and distressful ethical dilemmas occurring in disasters. Addressing an area of increasing significance in many countries, the UCD Conscience Project concentrated on the theme of ‘Whistle-blowing, conscientious objection, civil disobedience. This initiative sought to present a clear picture of conscience-based objection in the contemporary context, with a view to establishing a basis for distinguishing between constructive and destructive forms of democratic dissent. Three events were organised as part of this initiative. In October, 2014 a public lecture entitled “Conscience, Professionalism and the Lawyer” was delivered by Professor Kimberley Brownlee from the University of Warwick, with a response by Mr. Ken Murphy, Director General, Law Society of Ireland. The lecture attracted about 150 people, mainly practising solicitors. The second event, an academic workshop, also took place in October 2014 on the topic of ‘Conscience, Conscientious Objection, and Whistle-blowing’, held at Newman House, St. Stephen’s Green. An international panel of speakers addressed an audience of about 20 participants. Finally, in November 2014, a public panel discussion was held in the Royal Irish Academy and co-organised with the RIA to explore the phenomenon of whistle-blowing and conscientious objection. The panel was chaired by The Hon. Mr Justice Colm Mac hEochaidh and featured Peter Dempsey, a solicitor who blew the whistle on his London law firm and is currently being sued; Dr Kate Kenny, Reader at Queen’s University Belfast Management School and a research fellow at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School; Senator Susan O’Keeffe from Seanad Éireann; and Dr Daniele Santoro, a political philosopher from Luiss University Rome. The event was attended by about 60 people. Also on the general theme of health, well-being and ethics, the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at UCC, in collaboration with partners in Denmark and Holland, organised a conference on “The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization”. The conference addressed the new ‘epidemics’ common in Ireland and throughout contemporary societies such as depression, self-harm, suicide, addictions, eating disorders, and similar issues. Rejecting reductive


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biomedical and psychologistic diagnosis, the central research hypothesis guiding the conference was that many contemporary problems of health and well-being need to be understood in terms of individual as well as collective experiences of radical changes in the moral foundations of our civilisation and the dissolution of core social institutions. Finally, the sometimes controversial role of Religion in Public Life was the subject discussed at a workshop at Queens University Belfast in May 2014. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the role religion could and ought to play within the public discourse of liberal representative democracies. The themes discussed included: religious conviction, conscientious objection, and democratic protest; religious belief and individual responsibility; religion and neo-republicanism; free speech and political liberalism; multiculturalism and secularism; and religious accommodation and self-respect. Over 30 academics, students and representatives of Northern Irish NGOs attended this workshop.

Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society The Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society is a collaboration between UCC and WIT. The Centre is based in the Department of Sociology at UCC and is led jointly by Dr. Kieran Keohane, Professor Colin Sumner and Professor Arpad Szakolczai . In brief, the Centre’s mission is to study the manner in which the development of the modern global economy, driven by unlimited technological growth and an unbridled profit motive, irreparably damages the very tissue of social life. The Centre further seeks to suggest ways to stop this process by re-ethicising the social and moral fabric that is necessary in order to live a healthy, meaningful and ethical life. It also organises courses, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, that promote an education oriented towards a responsible, meaningful, healthy and hopeful life. The Centre has three substantive themes of teaching, research and publication. These look at:

- Moral Censure, Legal Norms and Social Harm;

- Recovering the Anthropological Foundations of Social Life;

- Amnesia and Ethical Social Memory.

Amongst the activities undertaken by the Centre is an annual Summer School on Economy and Society, which takes up the problematic of re-ethicising economics and rethinking Irish culture. For further information see http://www.moraleconomy.eu/


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Ethics, the media and the internet The role of the media was raised across many of the different initiatives, but was addressed more directly by a number of institutions. In June 2014, at the University of Limerick, a panel discussion attracting over 200 people and featuring Joe Little of RTÉ, Colette Browne from the Irish Independent, Dr. Tom Clonan from the Irish Times and DIT, Dr. Amanda Haynes and Emer Connolly, both from UL, asked ‘Is an Ethical Journalism (ever) Possible? The panel assessed how journalism reports on the powerful in Irish society, how it explains crime, as well as how it reports on the lives of those who are regarded as poor and excluded. Ethics, Journalism and the Internet was the related theme under the spotlight in April 2014 at a DIT event which brought together a number of journalists (Karen Coleman, who moderated the event; Kevin O’Sullivan – Editor, The Irish Times; Padraic Reidy – Columnist, Index on Censorship; Susan Daly, Editor of The Journal.ie) a politician (Pat Rabbitte TD, then Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources) and Seamus Dooley, Secretary of the National Union of Journalists in Ireland. This group examined the particular ethical challenges for journalists and media practitioners in the age of digital technology, including the increased competition and speed of new reporting and how it may affect the quality of news reports. An oft-cited concern of the digital age and broader understandings of media is the way the internet impacts or potentially impacts on children. This was the subject of a talk by Mary Aiken, Director of the Cyber Psychology Research Centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and delivered in TCD as part of a public forum on Cyberethics – Cyberlaw, Cyberpsychology and Cyberbullying. This event was held in April 2014 and was attended by over 350 people. The talk, entitled ‘The CyberPsychology of Child Internet Interface and the Ethics of Algorithms’, argued that the internet provides opportunities for young people to learn, communicate, share and socialise but also poses substantial risks, some of which we are not aware of yet. As part of the same event, Dr Conor McGuckin, Assistant Professor in Education at Trinity, addressed the issue of ‘Cyberbullying: Ethical Issues for Children, Adults, and Educators’. In his contribution, Dr McGuckin focused on how to help children, adults, and educators ‘cope’ with both the positive and negative issues that new technology brings, and emphasised the necessity to embrace the tools of modernity but to ensure that these are harnessed for positive and ethical outcomes for everyone. Also in this Forum Dr. Eoin O’Dell of the TCD Law Department drew attention to the increasing power of the worldwide web to transform how we live and think about ourselves and our identities and how the law is struggling to catch up. His presentation - ‘Cyberethics and Cyberlaw - Sharing is Caring? - and subsequent discussion focused on three challenges relating to: widespread state gathering of data and surveillance; voluntary provision of enormous amounts of our personal data to large private companies; and finally, how we share user generated content on social media websites with others, often with little pause for thought as to the legal and social consequences of such sharing, either for ourselves or for others. In January 2015, a follow-on event was held in the Science Gallery ‘Online privacy – What does the Internet


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say about you’, with a data mining demonstration and a panel discussion including Sinead McSweeney Director of Public Policy at Twitter, Dr Eoin O’Dell of TCD Law Department, Jeanne Kelly, a Partner with Mason, Hayes & Curran Solicitors and Conor Flynn of ISAS Ltd. Finally, the role of public figures such as sports personalities as leaders in society was debated at a panel discussion at the University of Limerick in May 2014. Entitled Sporting Heroes - Being an Ethical Hero, this discussion, which featured Eddie O’Sullivan and Rosie Foley from the world of rugby and Rachel Clancy from the world of basketball, raised awareness around ethics and the potential mental health consequences of a sporting world without a strong ethical foundation.

Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making While many of the events held under the President’s Initiative addressed the role of ethics in the public sphere, a number specifically addressed themselves to the realm of public policy and decision making, in Ireland and beyond. At the international level, ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ was the title of a lecture by Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania and Moore Institute Fellow (NUIG), held in Galway in August 2014 as part of the University’s Ethics Initiative Lecture Series and which attracted over 800 participants. Meanwhile in June 2014, a specially convened public symposium organised by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS) at the University of Limerick and held in the offices of Limerick City Council, focused attention on the Ethics of Housing Policy in the Domains of Homelessness and Direct provision. Further exemplifying the inter-institutional dimension of at least some of the HEI initiatives, this symposium featured inputs from Dr. Eoin O’Sullivan of TCD; Dr Daithi Downey, Deputy Director and Head of Policy and Service Delivery at the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE); and Dr Liam Thornton, Director of clinical legal education in the School of Law, UCD. Ethics in the public sphere was also the focus of two events organised in DIT as part of its Public Debate Series moderated by journalist Carole Coleman in April and May 2014. The first of these addressed itself to the notion of Ethics and the Built Environment and brought together representatives of the Construction Industry Federation, the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland, media and legal specialists. The second event, held in May 2014, turned its attention to the issue of Ethics and Society: Food Quality and Safety. Featuring inputs from the HSE, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and IBEC, this public debate focused on the relationship between ethics, food safety and food quality, reflecting a multifaceted theme cutting across many aspects of Irish society from primary producers to consumers, and a topic which has received considerable media and public attention in recent years. The role of ethics within public institutions was also addressed in two events in TCD and UL respectively. Firstly, in March 2014, another of the Trinity Long Room Hub Ethics Consultations on Citizenship,


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

considered the question of ‘Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: Public Institutions and Representatives’. This event asked what public representatives and institutions need to do to regain respect and trust lost during the economic crisis and speculated whether primary concerns were about legality, competencies, or values? Crucially, and reflecting many of the themes of the Community Voices initiative reported earlier, the seminar asked who or what would determine the ethical principles to be followed, now that traditional voices such as the Church and the media seem to have lost much of their moral authority? The President’s Ethics Initiative was also the prompt for these themes to be incorporated in a series of student lectures on public policy, ethics and accountability delivered by the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the UL, as part of a module on the “Public policy process”. In Cork, the Philosophy Department at UCC held a workshop on the topic of ‘Social Justice and Social Injustice’ in April 2014. The aim of the workshop was to explore ways to restore trust in our institutions, especially in the institutions of social justice. The keynote speaker was Professor Mathias Risse, Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Professor Risse is a global leader on the idea of promoting the ‘institutional stance’ in global justice. Workshop participants heard three papers: Dr. Vittorio Bufacchi (Philosophy, UCC): “Social Injustice and the Problem of Exclusion”. Dr. Cara Nine (Philosophy, UCC): “The Right Against Displacement and Justice”. Prof. Mathias Risse (John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard): “Thinking about Justice”. Taking a more specific turn and addressing one of the most pressing policy issues in Irish society and internationally, a number of challenging discussions on themes of health and living were held in NUIG and TCD. To NUIG first, where the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Medicine organised a major conference in February 2014 on ‘The Human Right to Health’ and, more specifically, the challenge of delivering healthcare fairly, using a human rights framework. Speakers and panellists, including President Michael D. Higgins, were drawn from the fields of medicine, law, ethics, international development, health policy and activism backgrounds. The conference discussed the links between health and human rights and the applications of human rights concepts and methods in addressing health challenges in Ireland and globally. Addressing the fundamental theme of ‘Designing Life - The Ethics of Synthetic Biology (TCD)’, the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, in conjunction with the Long Room Hub, explored the ethics and future directions of synthetic biology - an emerging scientific field that could ultimately permit the design of living organisms. An audience of over 150 people heard from Professor Drew Endy from Stanford University in the US, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field, and Hugh Whittall from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a group changing the way ethical decisions on emerging biotechnologies are approached.


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Ethics in the financial and business spheres Just as impact of the crisis prompted efforts to discuss ethics in the public sphere, as might be expected, the nature of ethics in the financial world also came under scrutiny. In Queen’s University Belfast, the theme of Regulating Corporate Agents provided the title and focus for a preparatory one day symposium which in turn led the way for an on-going research project. The symposium, which was held in November 2014 and was funded by the Queen’s Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, was the first in a series designed to build up a network of crossinstitutional international researchers that will collaboratively compose a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding bid to explore the role of corporate governance in the recent financial crash. The broader research initiative draws on expertise in law, corporate governance, moral philosophy and political economy. It aims to understand how the failures leading to the recent economic collapse were made possible by shifting expectations within corporations, and to determine what lessons might be learned, from a social justice perspective, for the better internal and external regulation of corporate agents. In the same vein, the Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: the Business World, was the topic for discussion in TCD earlier in the year in March, 2014, another in the series of Trinity Long Room Hub Ethics Consultations on Citizenship. This particular conversation aimed to answer a number of questions: what were the ‘seeds’ of Ireland’s economic crisis; how can ethical practices help the business world regain the trust of consumers burned by the Celtic Tiger; and what is the right balance between corporate self-regulation and government-enforced responsibility? A related event in this TCD series was held in April 2014, and to an extent provided some bridge between the realms of the public and private. This discussion looked at the Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: the Professions, and posed a number of challenging questions: who articulates standards of integrity, ethics and conduct for the regulated professions?; has the distinction Regulating Corporate Agents is a research group within the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. The group operates on the basis that proposals for the realisation of any scheme of social justice cannot afford to overlook the impact of corporate agents on society and the environment. The group therefore aims to: - Develop a theoretically coherent, interdisciplinary, set of research questions on the theme of regulating corporate agency. - Expand its existing network of researchers interested in working on these questions. - Develop a large, interdisciplinary, research grant proposal involving researchers from other institutions in the UK and Europe. - Produce high quality publications in the form of single and co-authored articles and monographs, co-edited collections published as symposia and special issues with leading journals and publishers. For further information contact: cmcbride@qub.ac.uk


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

between a profession and a business been lost?; do the professions any longer have a sense of vocation; and can the regulatory changes required by the Troika improve ethical practices? The University of Limerick also hosted a number of events that focused on the financial and broader business sectors. The first of these was a conference in April 2014 about Ethics and Moral Agency in Finance and the Financial Sector, held in conjunction with the Centre for Ethics and Value enquiry (CEVI), at the University of Ghent in Belgium. Amongst the papers presented were offerings on taxation, ‘A Matter of Law or Morality’; on professional judgement and ethics during the financial crisis; and a reflection on the degree to which the ‘crisis’ was a systemic feature of the processes, logic and institutional rationale of the financial sector. The conference also organised a roundtable discussion looking at the relationship between the practices of the finance industry, its professional codes and claims for a moral agency, and at what critical social and philosophical perspectives have to offer in explaining the issues of moral agency and practices within business and finance? Participants at this round table included Brian Keegan, director of taxation with Chartered Accountants Ireland; Lorcan Roche Kelly from Agenda Research; John Walshe from the Examiner as well as Dr. Stephen Kinsella and Miriam Brosnan from the University of Limerick. In September 2014, a public lecture entitled ‘Ethical Money – The Fiduciary Issue, was also held in UL and was one in a series of annual lectures organised since 2010 on the economic, ecologic, and humanitarian, crises across the globe. The lecture, which was attended by a mix of academics as well as local and international students, located risks of debt in each of the three forms of bank money: real money as a store of wealth, fiduciary or nominal money as a medium of exchange, and ex nihilo money as unit of account. The lecture raised the question as to whether there might be, in the money economy itself, a clue to where it all went wrong and whether ethical money is ever possible. Confronting the Ethics of Business and Marketing was the challenge facing students undertaking the MA in Business Management in the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick in Spring 2014. Classes examined the differences between morals and ethics, discussed the value of an ethics statement for businesses, and explored how such statements could be developed, communicated, implemented and evaluated. Moving to UCC, a Masterclass Seminar on Morality and the Market was held in October 2014. The speakers included Professor Laurence Fontaine (Research director at the Maurice Halbwachs CNRS-ENS-EHESS Centre in Paris and formerly Professor of History and Civilisation at the European University Institute Florence), whose paper “On Morality and the Market” explored the deep historical and anthropological interrelationship between market relations and ethical relations. The masterclass also featured Professor Arpad Szakolczai (UCC) who spoke about “The Genealogy of Fairground Capitalism” and traced the ‘ungovernable’ and ‘out-of-control’ character of global banking and the financial markets to their sources in such institutions as the circus and the carnival. Finally, the Waterford Institute of Technology, directed by Tom Boland and Ray Griffin (in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at UCC) organised the Economy and Society Summer School in May 2015. This now annual summer school held at Blackwater


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Castle in Cork, brought together 50 scholars for an intensive and convivial residential course dealing with Economics, Ethics and Morality. The summer school addressed a number of questions about ‘economic ethics’, asking what our economic ethics are today and querying whether ideas about liberal individual freedoms are sufficient? It also encouraged students to consider how far should states intervene and whether a gulf has opened between economic practices and social norms? The 2015 School was launched by President Higgins.

Equality, Diversity and Difference Recognition of the crucial concepts of equality, diversity and difference within Irish society provided the raw material for five separate events. Firstly, in UL, a workshop was organised in February 2014 by the Hate and Hostility Research Group (HRRG) to consider the topic of Ethics in Friendship and Language: Challenging Hostility Towards Difference. This workshop, held on the UL Campus, was targeted at Transition Year students. The event was co-hosted by GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and BelongTo. This workshop was the first of a number of workshops to be held by the HHRG to broaden the reach of the group and the No Hate Speech movement. The HHRG believes that young people have a leading role to play in informing understanding of and challenging hostility towards difference in everyday life. This work is part of the broader remit of the HHRG which aims to conduct translational research on hostility towards difference in Ireland, and ways and means to support diversity and authenticity. Diversity and Difference – The Hate and Hostility Research Group (HRRG) The Hate and Hostility Research Group (HHRG) was set up by academics in the University of Limerick with an aim to initiate scholarship in the area of hate and hostility studies in Ireland from an interdisciplinary perspective. The group recognises the importance of working in cooperation with community, civic and government partners. Through cross-sectoral engagement, the group endeavours to progress dialogue between all stakeholders in the area. Its aims are fivefold: i. to contribute to a deeper understanding of the specificities of hate crime and hate incidents from a theoretical perspective; ii. to foster an appreciation of the relevance of intersectionality to hate crime and hate incidents with a view to developing critical mass among the stakeholders; iii. to generate a body of empirical research in an area which is under-researched in an Irish context; iv. to contribute to evidence-based policy and legislative developments in the area; v. to understand and develop civic and educational means to combat hate crime. For more information on the group see: http://www.ul.ie/emotions/hhrg


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Tackling the issue of how, over time, people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds and heritages can live together and communicate with each other while at the same time retaining important elements of their identity, including language, was the focus of a Dublin City University research project titled ‘Translation Ethics in the Multilingual City’. Using the concept of ‘a translation zone’ this project aims to offer a ‘third way - between on the one hand an idea of the city as the co-existence of linguistic solitudes and, on the other, the ‘melting pot’ paradigm of assimilation to dominant host languages’. The third initiative under the broader heading of diversity and difference brings us back again to the Trinity Long Room Hub Ethics Consultations on Citizenship where a session devoted to ‘The Challenges of Intercultural Ethics’ was convened in May, 2014. This session sought to build an understanding of the ethics of intercultural communication and questioned what different cultures can learn and gain from each other. Having asked whether we can learn to appreciate the particularity of cultures and reconcile conflicting cultural values and norms, the event debated whether there should be intervention when principles we consider to be universal are violated? Taking a more philosophical turn, NUI Maynooth organised an event in October 2014 under the ‘provocative’ title, In Praise of Intolerance. A Critique of the Myth of Pure Toleration. This event featured a lecture by Henryk M. Broder, a Polish-born German journalist of Jewish parents (concentration camp survivors), author and TV personality. Broder is known as one of the most outspoken personalities in German public discourse. He has written for Der Spiegel (2010) and currently writes for Der Welt. He has published monographs on the topics of tolerance and Europe. Located in the Royal Irish Academy and with a mainly student audience of 40-50, this lecture was followed by a round table discussion chaired by Liz O’Donnell and involving academics from Maynooth (Professor Mary Corcoran and Dr. Susan Gottlöber) and Senator Sean Barrett. Finally, a further event held at the University of Limerick on the broad theme of diversity and difference involved a seminar focusing on the theme of ‘Disability in the Courtroom: the centrality of the outsider status of victims with disabilities’. Against a background of greater recognition of victims in Irish law and policy, this seminar aimed to raised awareness of the various ways in which victims with disabilities do not fit more orthodox, ‘everyman’, conceptions of victimisation. It identified how the outsider status of victims of crime with disabilities continues to be maintained in criminal justice policy, in the adversarial process and in the language employed by the criminal law and service provision. The seminar further identified ways in which the failure to address the marginalisation of victims with disabilities represents a breach of international human rights obligations. The outcomes of this seminar formed the basis of a submission to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.


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Ethics in the education sphere Three initiatives addressed issues of ethics in the education sphere, two at the University of Limerick and one in UCC. In June 2014 a conference entitled ‘Critical Pedagogies in the Contemporary Irish University: Challenges, Methods and Horizons’ was organised by the UL Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies to stimulate an ethics-focussed discussion on a number of issues faced by educational practitioners in the contemporary Irish university system. In doing so it asked, amongst a range of questions, whether there was any distinctive commitment in the Irish university system to the development in its students of critical thinking as an ethical practice with respect to their world and its (formal and informal) institutions? It further questioned how critical engagement with a subject should be evaluated and recognised by university teachers and asked how universities can accommodate and facilitate academic freedom and intellectual risk taking among its students and its teachers? The second UL event, held in December 2014, addressed the theme of ‘Ethics in Higher Education: the increasing casualisation of teaching within a public discourse of quality and excellence’. Tackling an issue that has been the subject of media interest in recent times, the seminar, which was addressed by the General Secretary of the Unite Trade Union, Jimmy Kelly, aimed to start a national debate in relation to ethics and the increasing casualisation of teaching in higher education and the sustainability of a public discourse of quality and excellence in teaching into the future. It further aimed to raise consciousness and awareness in relation to this issue across Higher Educational Institutions in Ireland and to begin to ‘problematise’ it in a way that challenges the performativity agenda of the markets.


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Finally, in UCC, a whole new approach to considering problems of crime, deviance and penology was begun, within which criminology was re-invented on a critical and ethical basis. Closely linked to the humanities and liberal arts at UCC, with interdisciplinary programmes containing modules specifically oriented to Continued Professional Development for policy-makers and professionals in the Gardaí, prisons and related services, the study of criminology moves decisively beyond a conventional paradigm of ‘deviance, crime and punishment’, and has been re-formulated in terms of ‘moral censure, legal norms and social harm.’ This re-framing of Criminology within an ethical paradigm extends to a revised new interdisciplinary MA in Criminology and Ireland’s first undergraduate BA in Criminology.

Ethics and Commemoration The theme of commemoration, one that clearly resonates as we move towards the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising, has provided the focus for the efforts of a joint Waterford Institute of Technology and UCC collaboration. This collaboration kicked off in February 2014 with the introduction of the topic at the annual conference of the Anthropology Association of Ireland held at Sligo Institute of Technology. This was followed in October 2014 by a joint symposium held in UCC on the theme of ‘Commemoration: Contexts and Concepts’. The aim of the symposium was to bring a range of scholars working in the area of memory and commemoration together. As a result, researchers from QUB, UCC, WIT, Cambridge, UCD and NUIM and networks including the Irish Memory Studies Network and International Political Anthropology came together to deliver a range of papers on: conceptual discussions of memory and commemoration; Irish memory studies; commemoration in the politics of the USA; commemoration in Northern Ireland; public monuments in Ireland; amnesia in politics; ethical memory in business, and art as a form of commemoration. This theme was further developed at the Anthropological Association of Ireland conference on “Permanence and Transition” in March 2015; and a further major follow on conference on this theme was held in September 2015. Also taking up the commemoration theme, in NUIG, between September 2014 and March 2015, a number of lectures within the School of Humanities were opened up to facilitate access by a broader range of students. These lectures addressed a mix of topics and involved a range of speakers. For example, in a lecture organised by the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, the School of History and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, Don Mullan spoke about ‘The 1914 WWI Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field - Learning from humanity and society”. Similarly, a series of philosophy lectures looking at practical ethics, critical thinking and bio ethics were promoted while a further series of political theory lectures were opened up to all students.

Enriching understandings of ethics and human rights A number of events were organised to enrich broader conceptual understandings of ethics and human rights, aimed in some cases at a broader public audience, while others focused primarily on third level students.


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At the University of Limerick in June 2014, a Discourse of the Royal Irish Academy examined ideas about ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’. The event, which was opened by President Higgins, featured a key note address by Professor Richard Bellamy of the European University Institute and a welcome from Professor Mary Daly, President of the RIA. Over 160 people participated in the public event. Also in June 2014, with a more specific focus on the topic of liberty, Professor Phillip Petit, Laurence S. Rockfeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, delivered a lecture entitled ‘A Brief History of Liberty and its Lessons’ at NUIG. Professor Petit is considered to be one of the foremost contemporary philosophers and political theorists, renowned for his revival and development of republicanism within political philosophy and for his contribution to public debate on liberty, democracy, equality and social justice. This talk was attended by President Michael D. Higgins. Finally, in Trinity College, the Inaugural Edmund Burke Lecture delivered by leading moral philosopher Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve CH CBE FBA asked ‘What would Edmund Burke think of Human Rights?’. This annual lecture, held in April 2014, was instituted by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute to mark Trinity’s connection with the 18th-century philosopher, historian and politician Edmund Burke. One of Burke’s central and lifelong concerns was what moral codes should underpin the social order and inform our behaviour as responsible citizens, concerns which are as important today as they were in Burke’s time. This event, also attended by President Higgins, drew an audience of over 200 people.

Community Voices for a Renewed Ireland (CVRI) Making the link between Campus and Community Community Voices for a Renewed Ireland (CVRI) is a contribution towards the dialogue initiated by ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative: Shaping Ireland’s Shared Future’. The purpose of the project was to support a series of community based conversations on how a more ethical Ireland can be fostered. CVRI was specifically undertaken and designed in response to The President’s Ethics Initiative. The President’s invitation encouraged the people of Ireland to explore the topic of ethics and to address the challenge of living ethically throughout all aspects of our society. The President aimed to engage people across this Island in this discourse, to collectively pursue a reflection on ethics that might help bring about a change in public consciousness and become a catalyst for positive change and renewal. CVRI specifically aimed to enhance the connection between Higher Education Institutions and local communities. It has been facilitated by UCC, LIT and UL12, working in collaboration with a number different community based organisations and involved the creation of safe spaces to openly discuss issues of ethics and the type of society we want to create. It operated with virtually no budget and drew heavily on the support and interest of committed local partners. In total, almost 300 people participated over 12 More specifically, this initiative has been undertaken by: the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick (Dr. Chris McInerney); the Centre for the Study of Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at UCC and WIT (Dr. Kieran Keohane); The Development Office at the Limerick Institute of Technology (Ciaran Lynch) and the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick (Professor Tom Boylan).


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

a nine month period, exploring themes of home, neighbourhood, and community as key grounds of our ethical identity - social spaces within which we can live better, more hopeful and meaningful lives. CVRI conversations were held in seven locations between May 2014 and February 2015 including: Cork City in May 2014; Cloughjordan, in September 2014; Galway in October 2014; Limerick, Allihies and Waterford in November 2014 and Wexford in February 2015. In hosting the series of local events CVRI emphasised the creation of hospitable, enabling and positive environments for conversation, debate, disagreement and dialogue. The main priority was to facilitate participation by all those who made an effort to turn up to the events and ensure that all would have a chance to contribute their views and opinions. To do this a World Café approach to hosting conversations was adapted. World Café is described as a simple but innovative way to engage people in conversations about questions that matter. The CVRI approach did not seek to generate consensus about the issues being discussed. Instead it encouraged people to express opinions, debate them, disagree even, but ensured that all participants had the autonomy to have their views recorded and respected. One of the most challenging and time consuming aspects of hosting conversations is to decide on what questions to ask. CVRI’s approach to this was to agree a set of questions with those involved in organising the first event in Blackpool in Cork and to subsequently review the questions for clarity and adjust for later events if necessary. However, the themes of the questions remained constant in each location. From this process, four general questions were posed:

• Imagine a time when Ireland might be considered one of the best countries to be born, grow up, work, live and grow old in….What would it be like…. What would it look like…feel like?

• There has been a lot of despair and isolation and loneliness in Ireland in recent times. How can we address and change this?

• It’s said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” How can we ensure that we learn from past mistakes • What are the key things that we can do to create a society that is fair and just.

Across the different CVRI conversations, a number of common concerns emerged. These are summarised in the chart below. Some overarching themes stand out from this, not least a strong desire to revisit outlooks and attitudes; recurring articulation of the need to focus on building community level connection,


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communication and engagement; a desire for more inclusive and engaged democratic institutions and a need to focus debate more firmly on values and principles. A full outline of the CVRI initiative and details of local level conversations can be obtained at www.communityrenewed.ie In response to requests from participants, the institutions involved in the CVRI are currently planning the outline of a follow up project for discussion with community partners. This is intended to further enable and support informed local level dialogues about the nature of Irish and global society.

What People Talked About

Remembering & Learning Lessons, 88, 6.5%

References, Services, 87, 6.5% Rural Specific Issues, 13, 1%

Outlook and Attitudes, 309, 23%

Urban Specific Issues, 2, 0% References, Values & Principles, 128, 9% Connection, Communication & Engagement, 297, 22%

Our Democratic Institutions, 189, 14%

References, Culture, 17, 1% References, Gender, 3, 0%

Environmental & Spatial Issues, 54, 4%

References, Education, 51, 4%

References, Economy, 125, 9%


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Section 3: The Involvement of Civil Society This section of the report describes the contribution of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative. The activities undertaken included some which were already planned but which were orientated towards the issues which the Ethics Initiative sought to have addressed, and others which were organised specifically in response to the Initiative. The range of topics addressed by the CSOs was wide, ranging from sustainability, global responsibility and personal activation, the challenges of initiating change, the relationship between citizens and politicians, the need for public participation in decision-making, and broadening the national debate to include topics other than the economic and the importance of pursing gender equality. The mechanisms through which these issues were addressed included workshops, conferences, ‘Citizen Conversations’ and debates while the participants in these activities included many engaged citizens as well as community leaders of many types, senior politicians, major international figures and national leaders.

Development Some of the big issues facing global society were addressed by Dóchas in its ongoing contribution to the 2015 European Parliament designated European Year for Development. The overarching title of the Dóchas programme, which was launched by President Higgins is ‘Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future’ and is based on a core belief that the question of development is not about what we give but about how we live. Dóchas promotes the view that citizens of Ireland will have to consider global issues as well as local ones when evaluating their own behaviour, given the persistence of global poverty, the immediacy of climate change and the emergence of major health epidemics. As is clear from the Mediterranean refugee crisis, these issues are rapidly becoming the concern of all and not merely those affected. Speaking at the launch, President Higgins commented “Development, the possibility of ‘flourishing’ in one’s community and culture, and access to the means to do so, is not simply a gift to be meted out by a gracious benefactor; it is both a right and a moral obligation. Development should be driven by well-informed citizens that insist on their governments implementing sound policies grounded in normative imperatives of justice, equality and dignity.” Thus far in 2015 Dóchas has undertaken a number of activities. Firstly, as part of its effort to gather perspectives from across Irish society on what “sustainable development” means to people, Irish MEPs were asked for and provided their perspectives on what sustainable development meant to them. A copy of these statements was published by Dóchas in January 2015 (http://www.dochas.ie/sites/default/files/meps-visions-websize.pdf ) Following this, Dóchas organised a meeting for NGOs and young people with UN Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Post 2015 Development, Amina Mohammed, also in January 21015. Speaking after this event, Ms. Mohammed commented ‘I have been deeply touched by the energy, insights and passion of the Irish young people I met today and all their peers across the country who have been advocating for sustainable development.


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Their involvement and engagement not only as beneficiaries but agents of change is essential’. Other events undertaken by Dóchas and its member organisations include conferences by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Christian Aid, Social Justice Ireland, Africa Centre, The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and Wezesha as well as debates organised by Comhlámh, UCD Volunteers and the Kerry One World Centre. Dóchas… Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, an umbrella group of international development, humanitarian and global justice not-for-profit organisations who share a commitment to tackle poverty and inequality in the world. Through Dóchas, Irish NGOs come together to share and exchange their experiences, and to use those experiences to end all forms of poverty and injustice. The purpose of Dóchas is to enhance Ireland’s contribution to world development by: • leading the Development sector towards high standards of practice and • being an independent representative voice of Ireland’s Development sector, in order to influence public debate and decision-making in Ireland and the European Union To find out more about Dóchas see http://www.dochas.ie/

Poverty


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Also addressing some of the major challenges facing Irish Society, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul supported the Ethic’s Initiative by organising and supporting a number of events. These included the following. In late September 2014 SVP co-launched the NGO phase of the Ethics Initiative with President Higgins and his staff, through a public facing event involving members, partners and media. This event provided a platform to engage and reflect on ethics and values among SVP’s own membership, staff, other community and voluntary organisations and the wider public via the media. The Society also supported and contributed to a consultative day organised by its sister organisation, the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (SVP alongside the Daughters of Charity, Holy Faith Sisters and Vincentian Fathers), in November 2014. Participation in the initiative made it clear to SVP that its role as a leading community and voluntary sector organisation is key to building an ethical society. The Initiative has provided a breathing space for SVP to ask what vision the Irish have as a people and SVP as an organisation; and to ask what vision there should be for a fair and sustainable Irish society. Arising out of these projects SVP are in the midst of developing a national conversation on the kind of values that should underpin Irish society. As Ireland’s tentative economic recovery appears to gather pace; as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising, the development of national and global sustainable development goals and the next general election, conversations are being had about what shapes budgets should take, and the policies for an Ireland after the bust, after the bank bailouts, after the Troika. SVP’s interest is in formulating and advocating the right kind of recovery, making the case for social investment, and looking at the kind of economics to underpin this, in an environmentally sustainable way. In addressing these issues SVP intends to draw on the experiences of members and staff, lessons from other organisations, Catholic Social Teaching and a sound economic framework while recognising humanities role as ‘stewards’ of our living environment.

Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making The People’s Conversation – Rethinking Citizenship for 2016 is an initiative of The Wheel in partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust (www.peoplesconversation.ie). The project was formally launched at an event in the Mansion House, Dublin in October 2014 by European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, who gave an address on the topic “Citizenship or self-interest: which rules in Irish society?”. This was followed by a “public conversation” involving the audience in discussion with a panel of speakers, including Tom Clonan, Colm O’Gorman, Eleanor Tiernan and Jillian van Turnhout. The initiative intends to produce a vision document which will include concrete recommendations for change and will be accompanied by an advocacy and public engagement programme designed to put this subject matter on the public agenda in the run-up to the next general election and the centenary of the 1916 Rising.


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The project envisages a number of conversations between engaged people around some key ethical topics. Some of the themes which have emerged to date include the following –

• The perceived disconnect between the people and their elected representatives, and the need for the people to have a voice between elections.

• The need for reformed structures of government and administration that involve citizens in decision-making. • A call for an education system that develops active citizens who are informed about their rights.

• Frustration that political and media discourse is increasingly circumscribed by the language of the market economy.

• The need for a common understanding of the basic rights enjoyed by citizens and a basic level of accountability, transparency and fairness in their dealings with the state. • The value of activism, community organisation and collective effort. • The broader European and international context and how this influences our model of citizenship. • The opportunity for all people to be active citizens regardless of their status.

These conversations were arranged by partner organisations of the Wheel and include: The Africa Centre, Basic Income Ireland, The Carers Association, COPE Foundation, Gaisce – the President’s Award, Global Citizen Contact Point, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU), KARE, Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd, Second Republic, SpunOut and Start Strong. The themes which are emerging through this initiative are strongly reflective of those arising from other actions of the Ethics Initiative, including, in particular the Community Voices project. The Wheel The Wheel is a support and representative body connecting community and voluntary organisations and charities across Ireland. Established in 1999, The Wheel has evolved to become a resource centre and forum for the community and voluntary sector. The objectives of the Wheel are to: • Represent the shared interests of community and voluntary organisations • Supporting these organisations to do their work • Promoting the importance of active citizenship as vital in making Ireland a better place to live For further information on the Wheel see www.wheel.ie


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Ethics in the world of work Extending the discussion of ethics into the world of work, The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) coordinated a project entitled ‘Ethical Work Is …Workers voices on the role of work in ethical societies and the role of ethics in work in which workers were given an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of work and of what constitutes an ethical workplace (see http://www.ethicalworkplace.ie/) . The themes explored included the connection between building an ethical society and economy and having a voice at work; dignity, equality and respect in the workplace; fair wages and conditions of work; physical protection and well-being of people at work; the support that enterprises provide to employees to enhance skills and potential; to cope with life events and caring responsibilities. The objective was to allow workers’ voices to be heard and to share the workers vision with the President. In April 2015 President Higgins was invited to Liberty Hall to view a multimedia display with the results of ICTU’s consultation with workers. He also heard poetry on the theme of work from Vincent Woods and songs on the theme of work from Mary McPartland. Sharing this reflection of workers on ethics should assist in bringing about a change in public consciousness, and become a catalyst for positive change. ICTU is committed to furthering this work by developing an Ethical Workplace Charter that member unions and employers can sign up to.

Equality, Diversity and Difference Finally, and once again taking up the theme of equality, diversity and difference, The National Women’s Council of Ireland organised a joint conference with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in February 2015 to highlight women’s rights and equality in Ireland and globally. The conference discussions centred on the contribution of the values of feminism and women’s rights to the development of society and explored how feminist values could contribute to the development of Irish society and societies globally, and on the centrality of achieving women’s rights as a precursor to addressing inequality globally. The conference provided an opportunity to recognise improvements in women’s rights and equality, but also to set out the challenges that remain and propose ways to overcome them. In opening the conference President Higgins placed women’s rights, equality and commitment to feminism at the centre of change. ‘The question of women’s rights is one that engages the most fundamental structures and values of our society … it runs to the heart of the political, economic and cultural challenges of our contemporary world, none of which can be understood without recognising the gendered nature of inequality and injustice. There were over 300 participants from a wide range of backgrounds, sectors and locations at the conference. These included women working at grass roots level, human rights lawyers and activists, the community and


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voluntary sector (local and national), youth groups, development NGOs and solidarity groups, academics, politicians, trade unions and the business sector. Many of the speakers recognised the importance of acknowledging the progress that has been made in relation to women’s equality, with a number emphasising the importance of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as a catalyst for change. There were two plenary sessions on ‘Power and Decision Making’ and ‘Economic Independence and Poverty’ and 10 parallel sessions on a variety of related topics. A key recommendation from all of the sessions related to the slow pace of change for women’s equality and there was full support for the recommendation from UN Women that the pace of change needs to accelerate over the next 5 years and that a target needs to be set for the achievement of equality for women by 2030. Policy and legislative change and tools (e.g. quotas) required to meet that target were identified as were the importance of cultural shifts, cultural change and political will. The Final Conference Report and Recommendations will also set the context for NWCI’s work in the development of a new National Action Plan for Women in Ireland. This along with ongoing discussions including at the AMG and online will inform the work of the NWCI regarding the commemoration of 1916.


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Section 4: Drawing some Lessons and Conclusions Looking over the range and the variety of events, activities and dialogues that have been taking place under the auspices of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative it is clear that in Ireland we are already talking about ethics; we are still an ethical society. We see here a great variety of forms and forums where reflection on ethics is taking place, in the Universities, Institutes and Colleges; amongst NGOs and voluntary organisations; and amongst communities. We can hear a rich, lively and diverse conversation and reflection about ethics, ranging from general - even global - reflections on ethics in terms of social justice and human rights; through ethics in the realms of commerce and economics; the quality of citizens’ engagement with government and administration; ethics in public life and the media, including the new social media; ethics in the fields of health, housing, and the ways in which we live together as neighbours, friends, and communities; to very refined and applied ethics, at the frontiers of science, technology and medicine. The fact that several of the events and activities reported here had already been envisaged and in some cases were already underway, and were then encouraged, aligned and brought to fruition under the auspices of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative, underlines the flourishing moral culture and the lively interest in ethics that we are very fortunate to have in contemporary Ireland. The enthusiasm and the willingness with which many people and institutions have contributed to the Ethics Initiative shows our investment, our interest, and indeed our deep human need to lead meaningful and ethical lives; for when we consider the challenges of recovery from recent crises we realise that it is not just enterprise and innovation in economy and technology that is at issue, but more fundamentally a revitalisation of our political, cultural and moral institutions. Our individual and collective abilities to be innovative and creative, to adapt to change and to reinvent our society and our economy to face the challenges of recovery and the future, whether in the fields of science and technology, industry and economy, law and politics, culture and the arts will come primarily from a moral vision and the exercise of ethical judgment based on good authority, inspired and guided by the light of higher values and ideals.

Broader challenges for society The most general lesson to be learned from the activities undertaken under the auspices of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative is that there needs to be a renewed focus on the ‘common good’. Contemporary Irish society, like most modern societies, is highly individualised, plural and diverse, without a single moral authority and single set of values that are widely held. In this new context it cannot be assumed that a common morality or a common set of shared values exists. Instead, we are in a space where these must be the subject of negotiation and deliberation, within which respect for difference and diversity must be guiding principles. What Irish society needs is a debate on what ethical values and principles we want to uphold and strengthen; we need to have a conversation(s) on our understanding of what constitutes a ‘good life’, or a ‘flourishing life’, not just for individuals but also for communities. This was one of the recurring themes from the Community Voices initiative and from the citizen consultations in the Trinity Long Room Hub series. A clear lesson to be learned is that if we are to have a renewed focus on the question of the ‘common good’ then Irish society needs to build and to provide structured occasions and forums in which such discussions can be enabled and supported. Many of the events under the President’s Ethics Initiative have begun this process and at least some intend to continue to do so into the future.


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Ethics, the media and the internet Both the University and Civil Society activities described in earlier sections addressed the role of the media and the internet. Related to the need for a renewed focus on the common good, the role of the mass media, journalism, news and representation, and perhaps especially the role of the internet and new social media are of no small importance. Such media clearly play a vital role in communications, for and about an ethical society, but this by no means assures that the role of the media is always a positive one. As well as systematic bias and distorted representations of some communities, ethical issues arise with the gathering of data and surveillance by the state and large private companies and with the circulation and sharing of personal information. In addition there are questions of whether and how new social media can in some sense substitute for the structures of community and society conventionally understood as people, as members of neighbourhoods, associations and institutions as the moral fabric of society.

Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making A clear lesson to be learned, and a lesson not unrelated to the ambivalence surrounding new social media as substitute and panacea, is the continuing deep need for more deliberative democracy. Across all sectors and activities there is a clear call for open debate and self-examination on what makes for an ethical society and flourishing communities, and moreover that this conversation not be an academic exercise nor confined to civil society; rather, at the heart of the matter are questions of political participation, active citizenship and political reform, of the legislature, of power structures and decision making processes. Again, what is clearly articulated in a number of the University and Civil Society processes is the need to create opportunities for citizen discussion and deliberation on questions that really matter to people and communities.

Ethics in the financial and business spheres On this theme, a central lesson to emerge is the need to challenge the tendency towards a reduction in ethical responsibility, described by some as ‘ethical minimalism’ and a parallel overreliance on regulation. In contemporary society ‘ethics’ can tend to have a narrow focus and specific usages, referring to actions that are governed in particular practices, contexts and instances by professional and legal guidelines within particular domains of action, ‘medical ethics’ and ‘legal ethics’ for instance; ethical journalism, ethics in sports, and so on, leading to a situation wherein consideration of ethics tends to become compartmentalised and to be confined to particular ‘silos’. This is a minimalist ethics, relying too much on regulation, while the wider and deeper questions of the common good of society as a whole are passed over. Many very important issues and decisions, in fields of science, technology and medicine; the circulation of images and information on the internet and digitised social media; economic relations and market transactions in the globalised economy, for example (and these are just three general fields), are governed either by the Law (in cases of criminality and gross transgressions), but often, or perhaps mostly, by professional ethics and codes of conduct within those particular domains. Codes of conduct and


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

professional ethics, overseen by ethics committees, may ensure that individual professional practitioners are ‘following the rules’ ‘correctly’, but this gives rise also to situations wherein individuals are conducting themselves in accordance with the rules and following the correct procedures, while nevertheless acting immorally, often unknowingly but sometimes consciously and quite deliberately - perpetrating evil: the notorious Nuremburg defence offered by Nazis –‘I was only following orders’ is the classic historical instance of the problematic nexus of social morality, law, government and public policy, and individual ethics. More recently and much closer to home we hear of individuals in powerful positions, making executive decisions of enormous consequence to the lives of others, who are ‘acting within legal frameworks’, operating ‘standard ethical banking procedures’ ‘meeting fiscal obligations’ and ‘acting in accordance with official policies and directives’; people who are adhering scrupulously to the ethical letter of the law while violating the spirit, the social morality that inspires and underpins the law.

Equality, Diversity and Difference Contemporary Ireland is a highly individualised society; its culture is increasingly plural and its identities diverse; we have become a society without a single moral authority and single set of values that are widely held. But people continue to have deep need to live meaningful and ethical lives. For example, in contemporary Ireland, as throughout the world, we might identify a decline not so much of the importance of religion per se in people’s lives, but rather the decline of the importance of one particular Faith, and the emergence of many different faiths and expressions of spiritualities. Similarly we can see, in the outcome of the recent Marriage Referendum for example, recognition and respect for the multiplicity of many forms of families and the flourishing of new identities, ethnicities and sexualities within and alongside long established and still thriving Irish communities and identities. An ethics for contemporary Ireland will need to take very seriously cultural specifics and intercultural ethics. Ethics arise in relation to unequal experiences regarding specific and substantive issues: health, housing, employment and direct provision, for instance, experiences that are modulated and refracted through cultural diversity and difference such that it is difficult to find a unifying principle. But as the most generalised feature of inequality is that it is gendered inequality, feminist values should be at the heart of all of these discussions

Ethics and Education A clear lesson learned is that education, both formal and informal, is of central importance for inculcating values, ethical principles and an individual sense of responsibility in the next generation. The place for ethics in the educational system and indeed the ethics of the educational system is perhaps not so much an education in ethics per se, but rather an education in culture and thinking as an ethical practice. The teaching of languages, for instance, and the role of arts and imagination, of literature and translation are essential to education for a pluralist society; the teaching of civic rights, with the emphasis not so much on ‘my rights and entitlements’ but on others’ rights would be helpful. Clarifying how morality and ethics relate to law, government and public policy constitutes one of the most important educational challenges of our times. Cultivating and developing the language, the concepts and the clarity of mind to do so, not


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only amongst University philosophers and professional ethicists in Law, Medicine, Science and the higher professions, but amongst all bright and intelligent children of twenty-first Century Ireland might be achieved through the introduction of the planned Philosophy syllabus to the secondary school curriculum.

Ethics and Commemoration The decade of centenaries and especially the commemoration of 1916 provide an important learning opportunity for a reflection on the values, ethical principles and aspirations that Irish citizens are expected to embrace, uphold, defend and live in our time. Rituals and practices of commemoration are important as they are a source of ethics, they shape collective identity and foster solidarity, and they create traditions. They also give meaning through providing a sense of where we have come from and where we are going, they articulate the material interests of group members and facilitate collective action, they represent a way of processing traumatic events of the past, and are potentially a means of defusing conflict through dealing with shame and anger over past actions. Commemoration, and the commemoration of 1916 especially, can be an occasion for ethical remembrance / the ethics of memory / remembering ethics, “for it is through remembering consciously and ethically that we acquire the potential to gain release from past wrongs and acquire also the resolution to anticipate revivals of hate and exclusion” (President Michael D. Higgins, 2015). The commemoration of 1916 could enable a systematic reflection on ethics, a declaration of Irish citizens’ values, with a view towards a 2016 proclamation of an ethical code for a modern Ireland.

Ethics and Human Rights Human rights are of fundamental importance and constitute the central principles of ethics in contemporary society. But, as established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at the individual level, while we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others. Thus rights not only speak of entitlements but entail duties and responsibilities. Maintaining the balance between rights and duties, as well as embedding a wider consciousness of such a balance presents a particular challenge for contemporary Ireland. It has, however, been suggested that the global culture of consumerism and proximate satisfaction has tipped the balance of consciousness towards entitlement and away from obligation. This theme was addressed by the moral philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill, who suggested at her input in TCD ‘that we should look at rights not as our rights, but as someone else’s, which we have a duty to protect, guarantee and realise’. This challenge speaks to many of the themes highlighted in this report and would undoubtedly stimulate rich dialogue not only in the citizen forums mentioned earlier but in a reorientation of how civic and human rights might be taught at all levels of primary, secondary and third level education


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Conclusion: Ethics, Morality and Society The President’s Ethics Initiative itself demonstrates that the process of a reflection on ethics is part of the outcome of becoming a more ethical society; that a broader, deeper and more nuanced debate about ethics is one, and quite possibly the major way, to a more ethical society and a more deliberative democracy. The many and various reflections on ethics that have been taking places under the auspices of The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative have shown us how questions of ethics are not only individual, behavioural and psychological, they are also collective and social. Individual ethical behaviour depends on broad, deep, underlying moral foundations. For there to be ethical individuals there needs to be a social – that is to say a moral - ‘fabric’: a dense and lively network of integrating and mediating social structures. This will comprise of groups, voluntary associations, institutions, and communities into which individual people are socialised, educated and incorporated as citizens and members, that together through their dialogue and conversation sustain and reproduce morality and ethics. This relationship is expressed here in so many of the conversations that have been taking place under the auspices of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative, by the use of the words “ethical society.” Morals and ethics stand in the closest relation; in fact they are inextricably bound up with one another. If social structures and institutions, associations and communities become weakened, then the moral fabric that sustains and enables ethics become threadbare. Awareness of how the social / moral fabric that sustains and enables ethics is wearing thin is grasped and expressed in so many of the activities, events and discussions that are reported here, but where the growing danger is expressed, the necessary saving powers are also clearly articulated and audible in these same conversations. If there is a golden thread that can be identified as running throughout all of these events and activities reported here, it is our common concern with the decline and hollowing out of integrating social structures, institutions, associations and communities that as moral foundations sustain and enable us to be ethical people. This view of the ethical person relates to concerned, active and engaged citizens sharing equally rights and privileges and fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of our Republic; sharing and reproducing our histories, experiences, memories, amongst one another, within neighbourhoods, communities, and across generations. In so far as this is the common ground that the various conversations, discussions and events that have been taking place under the auspices of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative have brought to light, it suggests also a way forward. What is needed to support and to further enrich our “reflection on ethics that might have the result of bringing about a change in public consciousness, and become a catalyst for positive change” would be structured opportunities, occasions and situations that would support and enable conditions in which people can have meaningful conversations and discussions about those questions and decisions that really matter. These structured opportunities would provide the space for dialogue on the values that we share; the ideals that we aspire towards; the laws we would want to be beholden to; the rights that we would want to enjoy; the responsibilities and duties that we would want to uphold and refine in the common project of renewing our Republic.


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Appendix: President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative - University Events Theme Broader challenges for society

Event title

Date

Organised by

Resources

Ethics, Competencies, and the Challenges of Change Citizen Consultation

Feb-14

Community Voices for a Renew Ireland - Community Conversations

May 2014Feb 2015

UCC (Sociology): UL (Politics and Public Admin); LIT (Development Office)

Lecture on Social Equality and Poverty Professor Jonathan Wolff, University College London

Oct-14

School of Philosophy, NUI, Galway

International symposium on Disaster Ethics

May-14

School of Nursing and Human Sciences, the Institute of Ethics DIT and COST Action IS1201

Whistle-blowing, conscientious objection, civil disobedience - lecture, workshop and public forum.

Oct-Nov 2014

School of Philosophy, University College Dublin

The Human Right to Health Conference

Feb-14

Irish Centre for at http://www.nuigalway. Human Rights and the ie/irish-centre-humanSchool of Medicine rights/news/humanright-to-health-conference.html.

Designing Life The Ethics of Synthetic Biology - Public Lecture

Jan-13

Science Gallery and Trinity Long Room Hub Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society, UCC

The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilisation Conference Sporting Heroes Being an Ethical Hero Panel Discussion

Trinity Long Room Hub

May-14

Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences. UL

www.communityrenewed.ie

https://www.youtube. com/channel/UC4ElnjI4B_Eq3eW9vDezdnA

https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=8d-g2dDaZpU


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Theme

Event title

Date

Ethics, the media and the internet

Is an Ethical Journalism (ever) Possible - Public Panel Discussion

Jun-14

UL

Ethics, Journalism and the Internet - Public Lecture

Apr-14

Dublin Institute of Technology

http://www.istory.ie/ projects/ethics-¬‐society-¬‐journalism-¬‐and¬‐internet

Cyberethics – Cyberlaw, Cyberpsychology and Cyberbullying - Public Forum

Apr-14

Trinity Long Room Hub

https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=ixDicGJSkfw

Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ - Public lecture

Aug-14

School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway in partnership with the Moore and Whitaker Institutes at the University

Ethics of Housing Policy in the Domains of Homelessness and Direct provision Public Symposium

Jun-14

Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society, UL

Ethics and the Built Environment - Public Lecture

Apr-14

Dublin Institute of Technology

https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=ynk2_i1PitA

Ethics and Society: Food Quality and Safety - Public Lecture

May-14

Dublin Institute of Technology

https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=MbsmeHZrbAI

Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: Public Institutions and Representatives

Mar-14

Trinity Long Room Hub

Ethics in the public sphere, public policy and decision making

Student lectures on public policy, ethics and accountability

Organised by

Spring 2014 Dept. of Politics and Public Administration, UL

Religion in Public Life Workshop

May-14

Queen’s School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy

‘Social Justice and Social Injustice’ - Workshop

Apr-14

Philosophy Dept., UCC

Resources


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Theme

Event title

Date

Organised by

Ethics in the financial and business spheres

Regulating Corporate Agents - Symposium and on-going research project

Nov. 2014

Queen’s School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy

The Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: the Business World Citizen Consultation

Mar. 2014

Trinity Long Room Hub

Ethical Lessons from the Crisis: the Professions Citizen Consultation

Apr-14

Trinity Long Room Hub

Ethics and Moral Agency in Finance and the Financial Sector - Conference

Apr-14

Kemmy Business School, UL

‘Ethical Money – The Fiduciary Issue Public Lecture

Sep-14

Kemmy Business School, UL

The Ethics of Business and Marketing - student lectures

Spring 2014 Kemmy Business School, UL

Masterclass Seminar on Morality and the Market

Oct-14

Sociology Department with the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at UCC

Economics, Ethics and Morality - Economic and Society Summer School

May-15

Waterford Institute of Technology with the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society at UCC

Resources

http://vimeopro.com/ user22584303/prof-conleth-d-hussey-ethical-money-the-fiduciary-issue


On the Importance of Ethics// Tábhacht na hEitice

Theme Equality, Diversity and Difference

Event title

Date

Ethics in Friendship and Language: Challenging Hostility Towards Difference - Workshop

Feb-14

Translation Ethics in the Multilingual City’ - Research Project

On-going

Ethics and Commemoration

Resources

Hate and Hostility Research Group (HRRG), UL Dublin City University

The Challenges of Intercultural Ethics Citizen Consultation

May-14

Trinity Long Room Hub

In Praise of Intolerance. A Critique of the Myth of Pure Toleration - Public Lecture

Oct-14

Department of Philosophy, NUI Maynooth

Disability in the Courtroom: the centrality of the outsider status of victims with disabilities’ - Seminar Ethics in the education sphere

Organised by

Law School, UL

Critical Pedagogy in the Contemporary Irish University: Challenges, Methods, Horizons - Conference

Jun-14

Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies, UL

Ethics in Higher Education: the increasing casualisation of teaching within a public discourse of quality and excellence’ - Seminar

Dec-14

UL and Third Level Workplace Watch

Commemoration: Contexts and Concepts - Symposium

Oct-14

WIT and UCC

https://www. youtube.com/ watch?v=zGdsSzAMzIc


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Theme Enriching understandings of ethics and human rights

Event title

Date

Organised by

Royal Irish Academy Discourse 'International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics'

Jun-14

Royal Irish Academy and University of Limerick

A Brief History of Liberty and its Lessons- Lecture

Jun-14

School of Political Science and Sociology, NUIG

What would Edmund Burke think of Human Rights? Lecture

Apr-14

Trinity Long Room Hub

The 1914 WWI Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field - Learning from humanity and society Lecture

Oct-14

School of Humanities, NUIG

Resources


Profile for Áras an Uachtaráin

On the Importance of Ethics  

A Report on the President of Ireland's Ethics Initiative

On the Importance of Ethics  

A Report on the President of Ireland's Ethics Initiative