Photo Credit: Jason Clarke
An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald visited UCD at the end of March to receive Honorary Lifetime Membership of the UCD Law Society.
Ms. Fitzgerald, who is also Minister for Justice and Equality, addressed the society in the Sutherland School of Law. She began by narrating her journey: from school life, through university life at UCD, to the start of her current political career some years later.
The Fine Gael politician was born in Limerick and educated in Dublin and Kildare. After completing a Social Sciences degree in UCD, Ms. Fitzgerald went on to become a social worker, before later moving to London. Upon her return to Ireland, she entered politics and was elected to the Dáil in 1992. Since then she has served as a public representative across the political spectrum- as a councillor, TD and member of the Seanad. Most recently she acted as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs before taking up her current posts.
Ms. Fitzgerald then went on to speak of challenges she had faced throughout her career and highlighted many things she was proud of, including various pieces of legislation she had proposed and implemented. She also spoke passionately about her involvement in the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015.
Following her address, the event moved to a more informal question-and-answer session, where broader issues were raised. Discussions included thoughts on gender discrimination within the Irish political sphere and her focus on equality. The Garda scandal was also mentioned, and An Tánaiste spoke of the need to rebuild the trust and confidence of the public in the Gardaí.
On a final note, she was asked whether party leader would be something she would be interested in, and she responded cryptically in that it would be something she still had to think about.
The meeting ended with Ms. Fitzgerald being presented with Honorary Lifetime Membership of the UCD Law Society, and she then talked to a small number of students after the event had concluded.
The event was the first meeting of the 107th Session of the Law Society. Incoming Auditor Laura Hogan commented: “This was a great first event of the session, and Minister Fitzgerald was a terrific guest, affording a great insight into the world of politics and the current government. The Law Society has a long tradition of hosting distinguished guests, and we hope to continue this over the coming year.”