Charlie Bird

Charlie BirdCharlie Bird has had a long and distinguished career in Irish Journalism. He joined RTE – The National Broadcaster – in 1974 as a researcher with the Seven Days Programme. In 1980 he joined the RTE Newsroom as a reporter and in September of 2012. During his period in the RTE News Division he has held the title of Chief Reporter, Special Correspondent, Chief News Correspondent and Washington Correspondent.
In November 2004 University College Dublin awarded him an honorary doctorate in law. Charlie Bird has been at the heart of every big news event for over thirty years, breaking exclusive stories and interviewing presidents and prime ministers. He made his name as a front of camera reporter covering the news as it happened not only at home in Ireland but also on the International scene.

During his career as a news journalist he reported on the upheavals of the Haughey/Fitzgerald years: Charlie Haughey even once said jokingly that he was his favourite reporter.He also covered the formation of the Progressive Democrats; Labour’s Springtide in 1992 and the governments of Albert Reynolds John Bruton and Bertie Ahern.

For over ten years from the start of the peace process in Northern Ireland Charlie Bird was RTE’s contact with the IRA. He was one of a number of journalists who met with leading republicans in the lead-up to the 1994 and 1997 ceasefire declarations.

In 1998 Charlie Bird along with his colleague George Lee were awarded Journalist of the Year for their work in exposing wrong doing at National Irish Bank. In a landmark Supreme Court Judgment (Friday 20th March 1998) in the lead up to the Broadcast of the NIB stories, by a majority of three to two, the Supreme Court decided the public’s right to know was judged more important then National Irish Bank’s right to protect the confidential relationship with its customers. An editorial in the Irish Times Newspaper welcomed the court decision which, it said, represented: A significant tilt by the courts in favour of press freedom… an encouraging signal that it (the Supreme Court) also recognizes that the public interest can be served by investigative journalism… The Supreme Court ruling should concentrate the minds of policy makers. They have obdurately refused to amend the State’s penal libel laws and seem content with a situation in which journalists operate within one of the most restrictive legal environments in the developed world.

Charlie was subsequently involved in Ireland’s longest libel case. RTE and Charlie Bird won the case which had been taken by the Fianna Fail TD, Berevley Cooper Flynn. After that Charlie investigated a number of other bankings scandals including one involving foreign exchange over charging at Allied Irish Bank.

In January 2009 he took up the post of Washington Correspondent with RTE News. He covered the election of President Obama and his historic inauguration in Washington which was attended by over two million people.

Official Web Page:

Photo taken from the ‘Living on Top of the World Project’ for the Irish Times.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Margaret Ward

Margaret WardMargaret Ward has been Foreign Editor at RTE, Ireland’s public service broadcaster since 1999. As well as managing RTE’s international news coverage she has reported from more than 20 countries.

She has covered several conflicts including the Balkans, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Sudan. She has made a number of documentaries for RTE, one on the Rwandan genocide, one on the involvement of Irish soldiers in World War One and another on Afghanistan. She was RTE’s location producer for its coverage of the Good Friday Agreement and the Omagh bombing.

Prior to her career Ms Ward, who is a languages and business graduate, worked in marketing and the NGO sector.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Hadani Ditmars

Hadani DitmarsHadani Ditmars is an international journalist based in Canada and the author of the bestseller, ‘Dancing in the No Fly Zone: a Woman’s Journey Through Iraq’ (Arris Books), a book that provides a unique perspective on the troubled nation both before and after the US invasion. Amid a sea of books written by mainly male, U.S. correspondents with little experience of pre-invasion Iraq, Dancing in the No Fly Zone celebrates the culture and humanity of a place that has been demonized, bombed and tyrannized for decades.

Harpers contributor and author Paul William Roberts called the book: ‘A wholly remarkable and exemplary document, mandatory reading on the subject – written with elegance, wisdom and compassionate humor – a unique triumph.’ Former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday commented: ‘Excellent – this book gives important insight into the Iraq that the author remembers, knows and dreams of emerging from a long nightmare.’

Ditmars, an independent reporter whose mixed European and Middle Eastern ancestry often allowed her to pass as an Iraqi, dared to traverse the distance that separates most Western journalists from their subjects, traveling between two cultural worlds in sometimes dangerous and revealing ways. Unlike her male colleagues, her gender also allowed her a connection with Iraqi women, whose struggle she continues to voice.

Ditmars is an international journalist based in Canada whose work has been published in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, The London Independent, The Globe and Mail, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, and broadcast on the BBC and CBC radio and television. Her Ms. Magazine essay on Iraqi women has been adopted for many university courses. She has been covering the Middle East since 1992, Iraq since 1997, and has reported from Iran, North Africa, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Colombia, Indonesia and Gaza and the West Bank. Her next book is on Israel/Palestine, where she first worked in 1994 for a joint Israeli-Palestinian magazine.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Robert Fisk

Robert FiskRobert Fisk (born 1946, Maidstone, Kent) is a British journalist, currently Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent.

Described by the New York Times as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”, he has over thirty years of experience in international reporting, dating from 1970s Belfast and Portugal’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War, and encompassing the 1979 Iranian revolution, the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, 1991 Persian Gulf War, and 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He is the world’s most-decorated foreign correspondent, having received numerous awards including the British Press Awards’ International Journalist of the Year award seven times. Fisk speaks good vernacular Arabic, and is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden (three times between 1994 and 1997).

Fisk’s reporting – and his bestselling books, based on his field notes and recordings – combine straight factual reporting with analysis and often strong criticism of Middle Eastern governments as well as what he perceives as hypocrisy in British and United States government foreign policy. His view of journalism is that it must “challenge authority – all authority – especially so when governments and politicians take us to war”, and he quotes with approval the Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “There is a misconception that journalists can be objective … What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centres of power.” Fisk has received widespread praise on the political left and criticism from the right, the latter in particular for an alleged anti-American and anti-Israeli bias in his emphasis on reporting the alleged ills done to the Middle East by the West from the Great War onwards.

[Biography & Photo Copyright Wikipedia contributors (2006). Robert Fisk. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:40, April 29, 2006.]

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Bríd Rodgers and Martin Mansergh

Bríd Rodgers
Founding member and current Deputy Leader of the SDLP; elected Party Chairperson in 1978, becoming the first woman to chair a political party in Ireland; previously served as General Secretary of the SDLP, member of the Senate of the Republic of Ireland, District Councillor on Craigavon Borough Council, leader of the SDLP Council Group, and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly; former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, widely acclaimed for her handling of the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001; elected to and appointed chairperson of the SDLP political negotiations for the Upper Bann constituency; former recipient of the 2002 Channel 4 ‘Politician of the Year’ Award.

Martin Mansergh
Dr. Martin Mansergh (born 1946) is a British-born, Irish Protestant nationalist politician and a Fianna Fáil member of the Seanad Éireann in the Republic of Ireland.

Martin Mansergh was born in England in 1946, the son of the County Tipperary-born historian Nicholas Mansergh. Martin Mansergh was educated in England at The King’s School, Canterbury and Christ Church, Oxford. Mansergh studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Oxford, and obtained a Doctorate in French history. He entered the Department of Foreign Affairs by open civil service competition in 1974, and was promoted to the position of First Secretary in 1977. Later recruited by Taoiseach Charles J Haughey, he has worked for the Fianna Fail party ever since, serving under three Fianna Fail leaders as Director of Research, Policy and Special Advisor on Northern Ireland.

Mansergh was a key member of the teams which formed the Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition in 1992 and the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition in 1997. As a senior adviser to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mansergh has played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process over the last twenty years. He ran for Fianna Fáil as a Dáil candidate in the Tipperary South constituency in the 2002 general election but failed to be elected with 5,233 first-preference votes, just under 15% of the poll. However, Mansergh was elected to Seanad Éireann by the Agricultural Panel in July of the same year. He is also a member of the Irish Council of State, having been appointed by the President Mary McAleese.

He is the author of ‘The Legacy of History’, a collection of his speeches and essays, published by Mercier Press. He currently writes a weekly column on Saturdays for the Irish Times.

[Martin Mansergh Biography Copyright Wikipedia contributors (2006). Martin Mansergh. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 June 2006 12:39]

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Corina Duyn

Corina DuynCorina Duyn was born in Holland where she trained as a nurse and social care worker before moving to Ireland in 1990. While running a restaurant at Dromana House in Villierstown, Co. Waterford, she was inspired by the natural surroundings. As a result she incorporated nature into her doll making, which later developed into a business. These ‘Fantasy Folk’ figures are in private and corporate collections throughout Ireland, Europe and the USA.

Corina later moved to a cottage near Lismore with her then husband. She continued to develop her art and began teaching doll making. When the relationship ended Corina entered a new phase in which she began to focus on combining her art and teaching experiences with her previous work as a social care worker.

In June 1998 while applying for the Art Therapy Course in the Cork Crawford College of Art, she was brought to hospital with suspected meningitis. To date, Corina has not fully recovered from whatever virus she had contracted. A diagnosis of M.E. was confirmed in September of that same year.

‘Hatched’, a distillation of 8 years of writing, is an account of her creative journey through M.E., a process that helped her to come to terms with the debilitating illness M.E. Her poetry and images allow us to glimpse her sense of humour along with the strength of mind, that has seen her through many difficult and painful times. As she says herself, it is not a journey she would have chosen, but it is one that has brought her to many interesting places.

The DVD/Documentary ‘Flight Path’ by Katie Lincoln, is a short documentary charting Corina’s journey as she undertakes the writing of her book ‘Hatched’.

This project has been supported by the Waterford County Council Arts Office.

Corina’s Web Site:

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Louis de Paor

Louis de PaorBorn in Cork in 1961, Louis de Paor has been involved with the contemporary renaissance of poetry in Irish since 1980 when he was first published in the poetry journal Innti which he subsequently edited for a time.

He has published articles on a broad range of writing in Irish from the court poetry of medieval Ireland to the work of contemporary poets such as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Michael Davitt. His books include a study of narrative technique in the short fiction of Máirtín Ó Cadhain and an anthology of twentieth century poetry in Irish co-edited with Seán Ó Tuama. He is currently working on a study of the writings of Flann O’Brien and is Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway.

A three times winner of the Seán Ó Ríordáin/Oireachtas Award, the premier award for a new collection of poems in Irish, he lived in Australia from 1987 to 1996. His first bilingual collection, Aimsir hreicneach / Freckled Weather was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award for Literary Translation. He was also granted a Writer’s Fellowship by the Australia Council in 1995. He is the recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award 2000, the first poet in Irish to achieve that distinction. His collection Corcach agus Dánta Eile was published in a bilingual edition in Australia as Cork and Other Poems. The collection, agus rud eile de, was published by Coiscéim in Autumn 2002.

His latest work ‘Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig – Clapping in the Cemetery’ was released in October 2005

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Donald Brady

Donald Brady Author

Donald Brady is a former County Librarian, historian and author of numerous historical books. He will speak on Gerald Villierstown Stuart (1869-1951): Author, Politician and Businessman.

Donald has delivered a paper at every festival since 2005. Donald never disappoints.

Donald Brady was born in Cavan and obtained his B.A. in History and English at Maynooth. He was County Librarian for County Waterford from 1982 until 2010. He served as director of the West Waterford Heritage Week in 1991 and 1992. He was the co-ordinator of Waterford County Council’s Famine Commemoration Programme and served on the National Committee charged with the protection of the Woodstown Viking Settlement.

He has edited major Waterford histories including, Hansard’s History of Waterford and Smith’s History of Waterford. Some of his more recent books are W.E.D. Allen & Other Essays, and A Study of the Life and Work of Regina Maria Roche.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

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About Lismore Immrama

Immrama is held in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland, on a weekend in June each year since 2003. Immrama has been dedicated to the art of Travel Writing, Good Music, and Fine Entertainment since its inception. Over the centuries many people have made journeys to and from Lismore and we hope that you will enjoy your lmmram in Lismore.

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