The first annual Garret FitzGerald Spring School took place recently in UCD. The event was hosted by the UCD College of Human Sciences and included a lecture from former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

The event, named after former Taoiseach and UCD lecturer Garret FitzGerald, took place over two days.  The theme was ‘Democracy in the 21st Century’ and was heavily influenced by FitzGerald himself, focusing in part on his legacy. In her lecture, Robinson praised Fitzgerald’s dedication to Irish society, describing him as “a guide and mentor for this country that he loved so much”.

She spoke about “his dedication to seeking a lasting solution in Northern Ireland”. She also highlighted FitzGerald’s achievement in bringing “many bright, young people into the department inspired by his vision of an Ireland that could hold its own in Europe and more broadly”.

FitzGerald, who died in May of last year aged 85, had strong links to UCD. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the college and later went on to do a Ph.D. in the university.  In later years FitzGerald returned to UCD to lecture in economics.  The introduction of the annual Garret FitzGerald Spring School honours the relationship between the former Taoiseach and the University.

The Spring School is not solely about honouring FitzGerald. It also aims to educate people about issues such as the media and democracy in the present and future. According to Robinson: “We can draw inspiration from the memory of Garret FitzGerald, but I’m sure that he would be the first to say in the end we must find the courage to take the necessary measures to face future challenges ourselves”.