From the Limerick Soviet of 1919 to a long tradition in trade union activism, Limerick is no stranger to discussion and debate from a left-wing perspective. This week a major ISSP conference hosted by the University of Limerick, added to this tradition by debating the current Irish economic crisis. The Crisis, Austerity and Resistance Conference held at UL on April 25th and April 26th examined a variety of themes including the mass media’s failure to explain the onset of the economic crisis and focused on the Irish property crash in particular. In the light of the ‘Arab Spring’, the possibilities presented by social media such as Twitter and Facebook for ordinary people who wish to protest about political issues was also explored.
The well-attended conference is now in its second year and it examined an array of topical themes ranging from why Irish people typically do not protest to the successes and failures of the Occupy Movement. Speakers included Professor Kathleen Lynch (UCD), Professor Terrence McDonough (NUIG) and Sheila Killian (UL). One of the event’s organisers Dr. Martin Power, Lecturer in Sociology said: “The conference provided an opportunity for debate about many issues that are affecting the day-to-day lives of the majority of Irish people. At a time when Neo-Liberal ideas dominate the print and broadcast media in Ireland, our conference provided an alternative and critical view of the effects of austerity.”