Keith Cameron Lecture 2014

Brennan - KCL 2014

Fr Frank Brennan SJ gave the 2014 Keith Cameron
Lecture at University College Dublin on 22 September in the presence of the President of UCD Professor Andrew Deeks and the Australian Ambassador to Ireland Dr Ruth Adler. The annual lecture is the most significant event in the calendar of the Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at UCD. As the current holder of the chair I was delighted when Fr Brennan accepted my invitation to give the lecture. I have known Fr Brennan for more than 30 years and he has always impressed me as one of Australia’s finest activist intellectuals and a brilliant speaker on topical subjects with an uncanny ability to explain complex issues of public policy to a general audience without sacrificing the subtleties and nuances of the debate. On this occasion he spoke about Australia’s controversial asylum seeker policy explaining its history and background and arguing the need for a moral foundation to the policy rather than one justified by narrow legalism based on a strict reading of international conventions. The large audience who squeezed into the lecture room in the John Henry Newman Building did not leave UCD disappointed. And the high quality of the questions from those who came to hear the lecture gave the speaker an opportunity to expand on the subject and to put the Australian experience into the broader context of the problems facing all First World countries, including Ireland, in dealing justly with persons fleeing persecution while maintaining border security. The moral force of Fr Brennan’s argument is compelling and you can read the full text of the lecture here. 

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