Over 75 Debates and Discussions will take place at the year's Féile an Phobail.

The festival's annual Debates and Discussions Summer School programme was launched on Friday at St Mary’s University College on the Falls Road. An exciting variety of talks will take place between Thursday 4 and Sunday 14 August, with the majority taking place at the University. 

Féile Debates and Discussions committee chairperson, Emeritus Professor Bill Rolston, said: “If you are serious about it, you won't have time for anything else in early August except to be at Feile's discussions and debates.

 

“From the start, Feile decided that the festival would contain not only the usual elements such as music, drama and sport, but that there would also be a significant element of political discussion.

"We have come a long way since, but one thing remains the same: the commitment to high quality talks and discussion."

Among the top topics at the Féile will be Brexit, a border poll and the economy.

Féile Debate Launch at St Mary's, John Jones, Aine McCabe, Peter Finn, Claire Hackett, Kevin Gamble and Bill Rolston.
2Gallery

Féile Debate Launch at St Mary's, John Jones, Aine McCabe, Peter Finn, Claire Hackett, Kevin Gamble and Bill Rolston.

“This year will be the biggest and best Féile Debates and Discussions programme yet," adds Professor Rolston. "It is the biggest in Ireland and possibly even in Europe. The line-up is of a very high calibre and inclusive of all."

Every debate and discussion is free to attend with no tickets required. Adds Prof Rolston: "We are issuing an open invite to all to come to Féile and join the conversation in debating and discussing all the hot topics of the day.”

Among the debates and discussions highlights are;

Preparing for a New Ireland
Thursday 4th August 3pm
St Mary’s University College, Falls Road
Panellists - Seanadóir Erin McGreehan Fianna Fáil, Louise O’ Reilly Sinn Féin TD, Seanadóir Marie Sherlock Labour Party, and a Fine Gael representative.

PJ McGrory Lecture 
Friday 5th August 7pm
St Mary’s University College, Falls Road
By Professor Brandon Hamber
The Problem with Men? The Challenge of Violent Masculinities in a Changing World

Let’s Talk Politics
Monday 8th August 3pm
St Mary’s University College, Falls Road
Panellists – David McCann, Alex Kane, Amanda Ferguson, Freya McClements

Testimonies and Remembrance
Tuesday 9th August 1pm
St Mary’s University College, Falls Road
Allison Morris (Belfast Telegraph) and Ciaran Barnes (Sunday Life), in conversation with writer and commentator Danny Morrison.

Annual James Connolly Lecture
Tuesday 9th August 7pm
St Mary’s University College, Falls Road
By John Samuelson, International President of the Transport Workers Union in the United States, representing over 150,000 members across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities, and services sectors, and is the former President of TWU Local 100 in New York City, the union’s largest local. 

West Belfast Talks Back
Wednesday 10th August 7pm
St Mary’s University College
Féile an Phobail’s flagship debate, where the audience gets the opportunity to ask questions on topical issues from a high profile panel.