21 — 24



Bertie Ahern

Panellist, A United People – A Divided Island?

Bertie Ahern was first elected to the Dáil in 1977. His first ministerial appointment was as Government Chief Whip and Minister for State at the Department of the Taoiseach and at the Department for Defence in 1982. He was a member of Dublin City Council from 1978 to 1988 and Lord Mayor from 1986 to 1987. He became leader of Fianna Fail in 1994 and was Taoiseach over three terms until his resignation in 2008. He was pivotal in successfully negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Annette Bellaoui_edit

Annette Bellaoui

Panellist, All Together Now

Annette is a Danish activist and Muslim convert who is changing the narrative through music and humour. Bellaoui is founder of Tavse Stemmer – Missing Voices.de, a project created by Muslim women for Muslim women with two objectives: present opportunities for Muslim women in the arts; and debunk the myth that there is little more to Muslim women than subservience and religious bondage.

SarahCarey copy

Sarah Carey

Panellist, The Sunday Brunch

Sarah Carey is a columnist for The Times (Irish Edition).  Her writing has appeared in The Sunday Independent, Sunday Times and The Irish Times. As a broadcaster she has presented and contributed to a range of current affairs shows on Irish television and radio including Newstalk, RTE and TV3. A History graduate of Trinity College, and Business graduate from UCD Sarah has a background in technology, working for both telecommunications and software companies. She lives down a cul de sac in County Meath with her husband and three children.


Tony Clayton-Lea

Host, An Audience with Peggy Seeger

is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and author. His writing on many aspects of pop culture appears mostly in The Ticket (the Irish Times’ weekly music/film entertainment supplement) and in the paper’s Arts/Books pages, and he oversees the weekly Me & My Money column for the paper’s Business section. He is the author of six non-fiction, music-related books, and is a regular reviewer/critic on RTE Radio One’s flagship arts show, Arena

Liam Collins_edit

Liam Collins

Host, The Sunday Brunch

With over four decades in journalism, Liam Collins is one of Ireland’s best-known journalists. A former Opinions Editor of the Irish Independent, Liam pens Zozimus, a weekly column in The Sunday Independent.

Barry Cowen_edit

Barry Cowen TD

Panellist, Tell It Like It Is

Fianna Fáil (TD) for the Offaly constituency. Barry is married to Mary and has four children Gemma, Lorcan, Eoin, and Aoibhe. He works as an auctioneer and valuer.


Ciarán Cuffe

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Ciarán Cuffe is a Green Party Dublin City Councillor for the North Inner City and chairs Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee.  He lives in Stoneybatter with his family.

Jeremy Cunnigham_edit2

Jeremy Cunningham

Panellist, All Together Now

Jeremy is lead bass guitarist of The Levellers, British pioneers of political folk-punk. The Levellers music has always had a political edge and they were one of the few bands of their generation to translate this into mainstream commercial success, selling more than six million records, including two number one albums, in the 90s.

Susan Daly_edit

Susan Daly

Host, The State of Dublin

With two decades of journalism experience, Susan Daly is the editor of The Journal, the top online source of news in Ireland. Susan is a regular radio and television contributor.

James Dellingpole_edit

James Delingpole

Panellist, Trump – A Year On

As a journalist for the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator, James Delingpole has expressed his thoughts on everything from politics to popular music, from school sports days to spliffs. If you’ve thought about it, he’s written about it. Delingpole has described himself “as a member of probably the most discriminated-against subsection in the whole of British society—the white, middle-aged, public-school-and-Oxbridge educated middle-class male.

Noel Dempsey_edit

Noel Dempsey

Panellist, The Sunday Brunch

Noel Dempsey is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was a TD for the Meath and Meath West constituencies from 1987 to 2011. He also served as Minister for Environment and Local Government (1997–2002), Minister for Education and Science (2002–04), Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (2004–07) and Minister for Transport (2007–11).Noel has served as Chairman of The Temple Bar Company since 2014.


John Devitt

Panellist, Who Are Our Policy Makers?

John Devitt is Chief Executive and founder of Transparency International’s chapter in Ireland. He has been analysing corruption risks, providing support to whistleblowers, and campaigning for more open government in Ireland since 2004. He advised the Irish Government on the Protected Disclosures Act and took an active role in public consultations around the Regulation of Lobbying Act and the Open Government Partnership. John is also the author of the TI Ireland Guide to Ethical Lobbying and its report on responsible corporate lobbying in Europe. He holds an MA in Ethics from Dublin City University, specialising in whistleblowing and anti-corruption.

Christina Finn

Christina Finn

Panellist, Trump – A Year On

Christina Finn is a political reporter at The Journal, the online news publication. She is an award winning journalist on the issues of justice and law.

Marian Finucane

Marian Finucane

Panellist, A United People – A Divided Island?

Broadcaster Marian Finucane was born in Dublin, she studied architecture in Bolton Street College of Technology before leaving her studies to join RTÉ as a continuity announcer in 1974. Her first job as a presenter was on the radio books programme ‘Paper Chase’. She then became a reporter on ‘Day by Day’. In1979, Marian presented ‘Women Today’, a radio show dealing with issues affecting women. In 1985, she became the first presenter of ‘Liveline’, a live show where members of the public phone in with their opinions, which she continued to present until 1999. Marian Finucane received a PPI Radio Award for outstanding achievement in broadcasting in 2008. She currently presents ‘The Marian Finucane Show’ on weekend radio.

Jonathan Foreman

Jonathan Foreman

Panellist, Trump – A Year On

Jonathan Foreman is a writer, editor and policy researcher. He co-founded Standpoint Magazine in London and the Indian Quarterly magazine in Mumbai. For more than a decade and a half he was based in New York, where he briefly laboured as an attorney before quitting the law for journalism. He has reported from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia for a variety of publications on both sides of the Atlantic. For several years he was a film critic, leader writer and then foreign correspondent at the New York Post, for whom he covered the 2003-10 war in Iraq. Subsequently he was based in New Delhi, before returning to London where he is a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the  Civitas Institute for the Study for Civil Society and working on a book about the varieties of imperialism.

Mannix Flynn_edit

Cllr Mannix Flynn

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Cllr Mannix Flynn is an independent representative for the Pembroke-South Dock Constituency on Dublin City Council.

Sebastian Hamilton

Sebastian Hamilton

Panellist, Trump – A Year On

A former Westminster correspondent with The Sunday Times, Sunday Business and the Scotsman Group, Sebastian Hamilton has been a newspaper executive for 17 years – and Editor of the Irish Daily Mail for five. As well as predicting Trump 18 months out, he also correctly called the last three Irish general elections, five British ones and the odd referendum. (Though not Brexit!) In his current role Sebastian has campaigned for the HPV vaccine, marriage equality, and compulsory coding in schools. He is also the only editor in Ireland to have had a crooked politician jailed – though we all know there should have been many more…


Lise Hand

Panellist, Trump – A Year On

Lise Hand is a columnist with The Times Ireland edition and is a regular contributor on current affairs programmes on radio and tv. She has worked for a variety of national newspapers including The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Independent, The Sunday Times and The Irish Independent, covering everything from the Arts to Sport, Fashion, Features, News and Politics. She has also worked in film, and one of her stories has just been adapted into a short film which was directed by Oscar-winning director Jim Sheridan and stars Oscar-nominee Salma Hayek. She was the parliamentary sketch writer for the Irish Independent during one of the most dramatic periods in Leinster House, the financial crash of 2008 and the subsequent upheaval. Still a political reporter, she has outlasted five Taoisigh, although she may have met her match with the new youngest-ever incumbent, Leo Varadkar.

Brian Hayes_edit

Brian Hayes MEP

Panellist, Who Are Our Policy Makers?

Member of the European Parliament Brian studied history and sociology at the National University of Ireland, St Patricks College Maynooth. He also studied at Trinity College Dublin. Prior to his election to the Irish Parliament, Brian worked as the National Youth & Education Officer to Fine Gael. He was also delegation secretary to Fine Gael during the Peace & Reconciliation forum.


Danny Healey Rae TD

Panellist, Tell It Like It Is

Danny Healey Rae TD is an independent TD Kerry upon being elected at the 2016 general election He is a son of Jackie Healy-Rae and brother of fellow constituency TD Michael Healy-Rae. He has worked in plant hire and owns a pub in Kilgarvan, businesses associated with the Healy-Rae family. Prior to entering national politics, he was involved in local politics in County Kerry Prior to entering national politics; he was involved in local politics in County Kerry. He has publicly denied anthropogenic climate change and opposed Ireland’s carbon tax.




Deirdre Heney_edit

Cllr Deirdre Heney

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Cllr Deirdre Heney is the Fianna Fail Party representative for the Dublin Bay North Constituency on Dublin City Council.
Joe Higgins_edit

Joe Higgins

Host, Striking Back: Anti-Apartheid Striker Mary Manning

It was against the backdrop of anti-Vietnam War protests and the civil rights movement that Higgins was politicised. A founding member of the socialist party in Ireland he was elected to Dáil Éireann, and was also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency the first Socialist Party MEP.


The Hummus News Team

Speakers, The State of Satire in the Middle East with The Hummus News

Until now, the three founders – young practising American Muslims who work in Silicon Valley – have remained anonymous. For this year’s inaugural Festival of Politics, however, the creators will take to the stage to share the rationale behind The Hummus News and to explain why taking a light-hearted approach is essential at a time when stereotypes and stigma bedevil the Muslim community worldwide.

Mandy Johnston_edit

Mandy Johnston

Panellist, The Sunday Brunch

A former Government Press Secretary and Political Advisor, Mandy is a columnist for the Irish Independent.

Peter Dukes_edit

Peter Jukes

Host, Untold: The Daniel Morgan Story

Peter is a British journalist and screenwriter. His television credits include writing on the Emmy award-winning Waking The Dead, BAFTA award-winning Sea of Souls and the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and devising and writing In Deep. As a journalist he has written regularly for various newspapers and magazines including Newsweek, New Statesman, The Daily Beast, Politico, The New Republic. He has been nominated for numerous awards for his coverage of the phone-hacking trial in London, the longest and most expensive criminal trial in British history, recounted in his book Beyond Contempt: the Inside Story of the Hacking Trial. He also wrote The Fall of the House of Murdoch and A Shout in the Street.

Dermot Lacey_edit

Cllr Dermot Lacey

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Cllr Lacey is the Labour Party representative for the Pembroke-Rathmines Ward on Dublin City Council.

John Lee_edit

John Lee

Host, Tell It Like It Is

John Lee is the political editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday. He is co-author of a political bestselling book: ‘Hell at the Gates, an Inside Story of Ireland’s Financial Downfall.’


Suzanne Lynch

Host, Trump – A Year On

Suzanne Lynch is the Irish Times’ American correspondent based in Washington. Formerly Brussels correspondent and a financial journalist with the Irish Times, she also worked as an arts journalist in Ireland and the UK.


Mayor Mícheál MacDonncha

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Mícheál MacDonnacha has been a member of Dublin City Council since 2011. He is a long-serving member of Sinn Féin at local, Dublin and national level. He was editor of ‘An Phoblacht’, the Sinn Féin newspaper, from 1990 to 1996


Mary Manning

Host, Striking Back: Anti-Apartheid Striker Mary Manning

10 Dunnes Stores workers went on strike in 1984 when checkout girl Mary Manning was suspended for refusing to handle South African goods. Mary had been following a union instruction given to all members as part of the struggle against apartheid. The strike lasted almost three years and Nelson Mandela later told the small group of workers that their stand had helped him to keep going during his time in prison.


Siobhán Masterson

Panelist, Who Are Our Policy Makers?

Siobhán Masterson is Head of Corporate Affairs at Ibec, a role she assumed in 2015.  Ibec is Ireland’s largest business representative and largest lobbying organisation.  Siobhán leads the team within Ibec which delivers communications to media, business and other stakeholders as well as coordinating campaigns and political engagement strategies and Ibec’s approach to CSR. Previously Siobháin has held a variety of policy roles at Ibec across all of the major of public policy areas of interest to business; including education, innovation, public service reform and economics. Siobhán is a member of the board of Business in the Community Ireland as well as the Standards in Public Office Commission Lobbying Advisory Board. She holds a BA and M.Econ.Sc from University College Dublin.


Minister Finian McGrath T.D.

Panellist, Tell It Like It Is

Finian sits at Cabinet as a Minister For State in the Departments of Health, Education, Justice and Social Protection, with special responsibilities for disability issues.


Alastair Morgan

Panellist, Untold: The Daniel Morgan Story

Alastair was born in Singapore in 1948, and he came to the UK in 1950 with his parents and younger brother Daniel. In 1951, his sister Jane was born in Wales, where all three siblings attended the local grammar school. Alastair went on to study Scandinavian Languages at UCL and journalism at West Surrey College of Art and Design, after which he lived in Sweden where he worked as a metalworker and teacher. He returned to the UK in 1983. Currently Alastair works as a translator, but most of the last 30 years have been spent pursuing justice for his younger brother.


Dr Niall Muldoon

Host, The Ombudsman for Children

Dr Muldoon is the Ombudsman for Children. He was previously the Director of Investigations at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. He is a registered clinical and counselling psychologist, was formerly the National Clinical Director of CARI – children’s charity based in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. He has worked in the area of child protection for nearly 20 years.


Mike Nesbitt

Panellist, A United People – A Divided Island?

Mike Nesbitt is the former leader of Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), who resigned in March of this year. He had a varied career before entering politics including: BBC Sports; Good Morning Ulster presenter on Radio Ulster; Managing Director of Anderson Kenny Public Relations; UTV News & Current Affairs presenter; and a Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. In 2010, he joined the UUP. In 2011, he was voted into the Northern Ireland Assembly for Strangford constituency and elected party leader in 2012.



Kate O’Connell TD

Panellist, Tell It Like It Is

Kate O’Connell is a TD for the Dublin Bay South constituency. A pharmacist, businesswoman and mother of three, she also holds a masters in Primary Care and Business.


Liam O’Maoinlaí

Panellist, All Together Now

Liam a musician and frontman for The Hot House Flowers, who explored the possibility of music as a common language between cultures in his 2008 documentary Dambé: The Mali Project with fellow musician Paddy Keenan. Together, the pair made their way across 3,000 miles, collaborating with musicians from village tribes and Nomadic Herders to form a united path of song.


Nadine O’Regan

Host, All Together Now

Nadine O’Regan is Books and Arts Editor with the Sunday Business Post and a columnist and feature writer with the same newspaper. She presents and produces Songs in the Key of Life on Today FM.


David Davin Power

Panellist, The Sunday Brunch

David was RTE’s Political Correspondent for two decades until his departure from the broadcaster in April of this year. David continues to contribute to the media and is a regular contributor to newspapers and radio.


David Quinn

Panellist, Who Are Our Policy Makers?

David is an Irish social and religious commentator who freelances and contributes weekly columns to The Sunday Times. He is founder and director of The Iona Institute.

Cllr Norma Sammon

Panellist, The State of Dublin

Cllr Norman Sammon is a Barrister from Drumcondra and a Fine Gael representative for the Ballymun Ward on Dublin City Council.


Peggy Seeger

Featured, An Audience with Peggy Seeger

Sister of Pete Seeger (the great-grandfather of USA folk revivial) and partner of the late Ewan MacColl, (heorist and practitioner of UK folk revival), she has carved a special niche for herself in both these countries. Trained in both classical and folk music, her experience spans 55 years of performing, travel and songwriting.