Mary Robinson

  • An exhibition examining the effect of rural electrification on women in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s will be launched by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, in Turlough Park, Castlebar, at noon today.

     The exhibition, which has been developed by the Museum in partnership with Kingston University and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and with support from the ESB, Irish Farmer's Journal, Age & Opportunity, and GMIT Letterfrack, is the flagship temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life this year.

    It has been curated by Noel Campbell of the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, in partnership with Dr Sorcha O’Brien of Kingston University, Senior Lecturer in Design History and principal investigator for the Electric Irish Homes research project.

    Along with artefacts and the oral history recordings – it includes an ‘Electric Irish Homes textile art project’ commissioned by Age & Opportunity as part of the Bealtaine Festival, who engaged Sligo artist Anna Spearman to work with local women in Mayo to respond creatively to the Exhibition.

     It also features a reconstruction of a 1950s ESB/ICA model kitchen which was constructed in the Museum galleries by Phillip Carey, a final year BSc (Hons) Furniture Design and Manufacture student at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Letterfrack campus.

    Kitchen Power will be officially launched at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, today at 12noon and Midwest News will be there and we will have more on later programmes.




  • Ballina Lions Club will honour former President Mary Robinson as the Chair of the internationally renowned  The Eldersat a special function in the town this evening.

    The former President of Ireland and Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, succeeded  the late Nelson Mandela as Chair of The Elders.

    The Elders is an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, who were brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. They describe themselves as "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights".

    Before the Lions Club ceremony in Ballina this evening, South African human rights activist Kumi Naidoo will deliver the fifth Mary Robinson International Human Rights lecture in Ballina Arts Centre this afternoon at 2pm.

    Kumi Naidoo is a former general secretary of Amnesty International and was the first African head of Greenpeace.

    The lecture will be followed by a discussion between Mr Naidoo and Mary Robinson, facilitated by journalist Olivia O'Leary.

    Then at 5pm in The Great National Hotel, The President of Ballina Lions Club Conall Calleary together with Oliver P. Bourke, the family of the late Aubrey de Vere Bourke junior, Henry O. Bourke & Adrian P. Bourke in honour of Bernard Black, district governor district 133 will salute Mrs Robinson and she will address the National Lions Club Convention as the inaugural speaker.

  • Ballina native, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson is to receive the Tipperary International Peace Award.

    The Tipperary Peace Convention, the group that run the awards,  says it "recognises the efforts of Mrs Robinson in putting human rights standards at the heart of global governance", by ensuring that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global stage.

    "Mrs Robinson, they say,  is a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women's participation in peace-building and human dignity in all regions of the world.

    "She makes it a priority to bring the concerns of ordinary people to the global stage and is outspoken and dedicated to investigating and exposing human rights abuses across the world".

    The award will be presented on November 7th in Tipperary town.

  • Ballina native Mary Robinson received the Distinguished Leadership Award today at the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland annual Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin.

    Presenting Ireland's former President with the award, Taoiseach Leo Varadker said Mary Robinson has always been ahead of her time, whether campaigning for gender equality, human rights or climate justice, and continues to inspire so many people.



    It’s always wonderful to be recognised in your own county, according to the former President of Ireland and UN Human Rights Commissioner on Justice, Ballina native Mary Robinson.

    Mrs Robinson received a Melvin Jones Fellowship Award at the weekend, at the opening of the National Lions Clubs Conference held in the Great National Hotel in Ballina.

    She was recognised in particular, for her new role as the Chair of The Elders, an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statespersons, peace activists and human rights advocates who were brought together in 2007 by the late Nelson Mandela.

    Speaking to Midwest News she explained what it meant to her to be recognised with the Fellowship Award in Ballina.

  • The head of Amnesty International Ireland says a simple lunch between former President of Ireland, Ballina native Mary Robinson and the daughter of the ruler of Dubai shouldn't dismiss the grave concerns around the treatment of the Emirati princess.

    Photos of her meeting earlier this month with Sheikha Latifa were released last week, with Mrs Robinson subsequently criticised by activists concerned for the princess' welfare - describing the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a 'willing pawn' for the family that controls the country.

    Up to that point the princess hadn't been seen since March of this year, when a second attempt to flee the Arab state failed.

    Colm O'Gorman says the treatment of Sheikha Latifa is worrying.

  • Former President of Ireland, Ballina native, Mary Robinson has been appointed as the Chair of ‘The Elders’, an international organisation of public figures noted as elder states people, peace activists and human rights advocates. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    Ms Robinson is the third person to hold the position since the non-governmental organisation was founded in 2007 by the former South African president Nelson Mandela. She follows Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who died earlier this year.

    In a statement on The Elders’ website, Ms Robinson described her appointment as a huge honour at a critical moment for peace, justice and human rights around the world.

    “Building on the powerful legacies of Archbishop Tutu and Kofi Annan, I am confident that our group’s voice can both be heard by leaders and amplify grassroots activists fighting for their rights,” she said.

  • Mary Robinson reluctantly accepted the prestigious international position as Chair of the Elders.

    She told Midwest News yesterday that says she is honoured to do the demanding job, and describes herself as "a chair among equals".

    The Elders is an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statespersons, peace activists and human rights advocates who were brought together in 2007 by the late Nelson Mandela.

    In Ballina yesterday evening Mrs Robinson was honoured at the National Lions Club Conference, for her role as the Chair of the Elders.

    She received a Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

    Earlier in the day yesterday she was among the speakers at the Fifth Mary Robinson International Human Rights lecture in Ballina.

    Kumai Naidoo, the first African head of Greenpeace was the main speaker.

  • Former president, Ballina native,  Mary Robinson is leading a panel to investigate the leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB), accused by whistleblowers of corruption.

    Akinwumi Adesina, became the first Nigerian to lead the AfDB in 2015 - but a report earlier this year claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.

    He was cleared by the organisation's ethics committee, but international pressure has mounted with the United States calling in May for an independent investigation.

    Mrs Robinson will lead the probe, alongside Gambia's Chief Justice and the World Bank's integrity vice president.

    The governors of the AfDB, one of the world's five largest multilateral development lenders, expressed "their complete confidence" in the panel.

    The inquiry is due to deliver its findings in two to four weeks.

  • Former President of Ireland, Ballina native, Mary Robinson has issued a brief statement today after she came under fire for describing a ‘missing’ Arabian princess as a “troubled young woman” following a meeting between the pair at the behest of the princess’s family  to help solve a “dilemma”.

    According to, photographs of Ms Robinson and Sheikha Latifa – the daughter of the billionaire ruler of Dubai – were issued by the United Arab Emirates government last week after they met on December 15.

    Officials in Dubai said Ms Robinson was assured Latifa was in "the loving care of her family".

    The photographs prompted speculation about the princess and how her meeting with Ms Robinson came to pass.

    Mary Robinson spoke about the meeting for the first time yesterday on BBC radio – and said Latifa was receiving medical care.

    Ms Robinson's interview attracted criticism on social media, with campaigners asking how she could make such a sound judgment on Latifa's mental health after only spending a few hours with her.

    She responded to the backlash through a statement this morning, adding she would not be making any further comment at this time.

    She said she was dismayed at some of the media comments on her visit and added “I would like to say I undertook the visit and made an assessment, not a judgement, based on personal witness, in good faith and to the best of my ability," Ms Robinson said.

    Explaining how the meeting came about, the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights said she visited Dubai on December 15 at the request of Princess Haya bint Hussein, one of the wives of the UAE Prime Minister.

    She has known and worked with Princess Haya for many years in her capacity as a member of the UN Global Humanitarian Forum and as a UN Messenger of Peace. Mary Robinson said she was aware of the international concern over Sheikha Latifa and that she had not been seen for many months so when Princess Haya asked her to go to Dubai to meet with both of them, she said she agreed, without hesitation.

    "On my arrival in Dubai I received extensive briefings and it was clear to me that Princess Haya had particular concern for the welfare of Sheikha Latifa whom she described as troubled and quite vulnerable. During my time with her Sheikha Latifa presented  a very likeable young woman with a wide range of interests but her vulnerability was apparent," she said.

    The welfare of Latifa sparked massive concern amongst human rights groups following her failed attempt to escape the UAE last March.