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Political Studies Association of Ireland


‘Basic Income: Possibilities, Practicalities, Controversies’, Nov 29, 2019, 2-5pm, Geary Institute, UCD.

Basic income is one of the most powerful yet also controversial political ideas of recent decades. Having broken out of the realm of political theory, it has taken hold in the public and political imagination as a potential way of reducing inequality and achieving a society in which people are enabled to engage in a whole range of valuable activities outside the labour market.  It draws on and translates a number of important principles of the political theory of equality, including universal rights and payments, support for care and relations of interdependency, and the promotion of well-being. At the same time, it has been enthusiastically taken up by some well-known libertarians, including the CEOs of wealthy tech and social media corporations, leading some critics to suggest that basic income might be used as a means of undermining the welfare state and promoting a society in which everything – including health and education – is for sale.

Exploring these and other questions, the PSAI Political Theory specialist group, in conjunction with the Equality Studies Centre, UCD, hosted a three-hour workshop on Basic Income on the 29th of November. The aim was to explore the theory and reality of proposals for a basic income, and its potential role in the creation of a more egalitarian, sustainable social order.

The workshop was delivered by John Baker, member of the specialist group and Prof Emeritus of Equality Studies and UCD; and Anne Ryan, active member and former trustee of Feasta, and former lecturer in the Department of Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University. Together Anne and John are joint coordinators of the national network Basic Income Ireland. The workshop was facilitated by Marie Moran, director of the Equality Studies Centre UCD, and co-convenor of the Political Theory Specialist Group.

The workshop was divided into three presentations, interspersed with lively discussion and feedback from participants.

  1. Basic Income: An idea whose time has come

In this presentation, Anne explained what basic income is, its appeal, how it might be funded, and its general effects.

  1. Some Challenges for the Basic Income Movement

In this presentation, John set out some challenges and controversies faced by advocates of basic income, focusing on paid and unpaid work and on the idea of an adequate income.

  1. The role of basic income in creating ecological and social resilience and sustainability

In this presentation, Anne argued that basic income plays an integral part in establishing a strongly sustainable, satisfying, sane, humane and ecological future.

The workshop was sponsored by the PSAI and the Equality Studies Centre UCD. We are especially grateful to the PSAI for providing a lovely lunch and much needed coffee for participants! And many thanks to John and Anne for helping the PSAI Political Theory Specialist Group put theory into practice for interested members and friends!


PSAI Book Launch

“Peace, Security and Defence Cooperation in Post-Brexit Europe. Risks and Opportunities”, Cornelia-Adriana Baciu and John Doyle, (Eds.) Springer (ISBN 978-3-030-12417-5).

The book highlights the challenges and prospects of European security cooperation and counterfactually assesses the impact of Brexit on strategic aspects of security, peace, defence and foreign policy for both the European Union and the UK. It applies theoretical and methodological approaches from international relations and security studies to analyse the causal mechanisms of security cooperation, and covers topics including the Northern Ireland peace process, cybersecurity and the role of French-German military cooperation. This book is significant because it contributes to a better understanding and management of anticipated challenges and sources of instability in European and international security, associated with the Brexit process. The book entails contributions from internationally known researchers from London School of Economics, Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, European University Institute in Florence and the Institute for European Studies in Brussels, inter alia.

Editor and deputy editors wanted for the Irish Politics Forum – a note from current editor Luke Field

Editor and deputy editors wanted for the Irish Politics Forum – a note from current editor Luke Field

With the conclusion of our ‘Brexit Countdown’ blog series in collaboration with the UK’s Political Studies Association, I will be stepping down as the editor of the Irish Politics Forum website ( As such, the Political Studies Association of Ireland will now be seeking a lead Editor and 2 Associate Editors to take over.

The roles are unpaid and voluntary, but they offer good opportunities to practice editing skills and to expand one’s professional network. Also, this is a particularly exciting time to join the work of the website, as the transition from a single editor to a three-person editorial team should make the workload much more manageable.

Please send a 2-3 page CV and a 1 page expression of interest letter to the Association Secretary Peter Stone ( by COB Friday 12th April. In line with the Association’s commitment to gender equality and diversity, we particularly welcome applications from women and members of minority groups. If you would like to ask me any questions about the work of running the Irish Politics Forum, please feel free to email me directly (

Conference marks twentieth anniversary of Good Friday Agreement

On 23 March, 2018, the PSAI Specialist Group on Peace and Conflict supported a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Entitled ‘Building Peace in Northern Ireland: Reflections on Reconciliation Twenty Years after the Agreement’, the one-day event was held in the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin.


Instead of political or academic perspectives, the conference focussed on civil society. Speakers were invited from a wide range of organisations to give a snapshot of grassroots peacebuilding in all its diversity – they included Jacqueline Irwin (Community Relations Council), Kate Turner (Healing Through Remembering), Alan McBride(WAVE Trauma Centre), Thomas Turley and Alan Waite (R CITY youth project, Ardoyne),  Dr. Cathy Bollaert (Youthlink), Linda Ervine (Turas Irish language project, East Belfast Mission), Brian McAvoy (GAA), Dr. Seán Farren (Social Democratic and Labour Party/Ulster University), and Fionnuala Callanan  (Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund).


The conference was organised by the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at Belfast, with support from the Political Studies Association of Ireland and Trinity’s Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Events Fund.

Kate Turner, Alan McBride, Jacqueline Irwin, Geraldine Smyth

Brian McAvoy, Cathy Bollaert, Alan Waite, Thomas Turley and Linda Ervine

Report of PSAI-PSA Roundtable on Brexit and the Political Sciences published

The PSAI held its first ever joint meeting with the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Queen’s University Belfast on 28th May. The event was a Roundtable to discuss the consequences of Brexit for the Political Sciences on these islands, and sought to highlight some of the key issues emerging in respect of research and teaching as well as to map out ideas for future co-operation between the two learned societies. It was co-chaired by PSAI President Muiris MacCarthaigh and PSA Vice-Chair Feargal Cochrane, with five other members from each Association taking part.


The full report of the Roundtable’s findings are here