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Moment of Grace

farmleigh_01.jpgFarmleigh House was the venue for an event which Edmond Grace SJ, helped by Declan Kearney, Dee O’Donnell, Des O’Mahony and Michael Kenny, organised for the Conversation on Democracy in Ireland. In recent months, groups or Juries connected to four different Local Authorities (Cork City, Dublin City, Galway County and Louth County) have been meeting to reflect on their experience of policy-making and public life. On 29 June thirty people from all four groups came together, along with members of the Council of the Conversation, and enjoyed the hospitality of Farmleigh, courtesy of the Department of the Taoiseach. After three short talks, the main work of the day was in the extended interactions between the participants themselves.The day opened with three short inputs. The first was from Dermot McCarthy, General Secretary to the Government, who is a member of the Council for the Conversation and whose support for its work long predates its formal establishment. He was followed by John Cullen, Director General of the Institute of Public Administration, who is Chairman of the Council who spoke about the underlying philosophy of the Conversation. Finally, Edmond gave an input on the discussions in the Juries. This Review Day marks the half way stage in the Project. The plan is that the Juries meet together again on a number of occasions and then the wider Group will reconvene. The hope is that this will be followed by a publication reflecting on the process and its outcome.