Innocence Project Conference
Innocence Project Conference
On Friday 26th of June 2015, the International Innocence Project Conference was opened by Professor Diarmuid Hegarty at Griffith College. The opening address was given by former President Mary McAleese, who stated that 'great mistakes need great people to right them', and used this to encourage the student case workers at Griffith College to keep going in their work with the Irish Innocence Project.
Gareth Peirce gave the keynote address, speaking of her work in the UK, she spoke on how 'every child feels an electric shock when the state lies and falsifies'. During the day there were many engaging speakers such as Barry Scheck and Peter Neufield.
One of the most moving speeches of the day was 'The toll of wrongful convictions' where Uriah Courtney and Julie Marku, spoke of the hardship of dealing with people believed to be innocence in prison.
In the afternoon the audience was introduced to the student perspective, where student case workers and lectures spoke of the benefits of the clinical work, to students who are a part of the Innocence Project Network. Uriah Courtney spoke from the prisoner's viewpoint, and how having the caseworkers visit gives the person imprisoned hope and belief. Julie Marku and Katie O' Leary spoke on the relationship built up between the family of the exoneree and the caseworker.
In the evening Kevin Gleeson from the Justice of Harry Gleeson group gave a key note address, on what it meant to the group to have Harry's name cleared. The Boroimhe Project entertained the attendees with traditional Irish music and launched a ballad written in memory of Harry Gleeson.
Innocence Project Film Festival
The Film Festival schedule started at 10am on Saturday 27th of June. The day was one packed of emotions. Eirin Moriarty held a questions and answers session after her documentary 'Ryan Ferguson: life after ten', while Barry Cummins showed his documentary 'The Hanged Man', from RTE's prime time.
Sunny Jacobs held another question and answer session after the movie 'The Exonerated'. There was not a dry eye in the room following 'Conviction', after which Betty Anne Waters told the audience of her experience of learning law, and getting herself through law school to help exonerate her brother Kenny.
The evening closed with a screening of 'In the name of the Father', after which Jim Sheridan met with the audience and spoke eloquently on Gerry Conlon. He spoke of his delight of getting to work with Gareth Peirce.
During this session Griffith College Student Sinead Mac Fhionnlaoich was awarded the Gerry Conlon Memorial Law and Journalism Justice Student Scholarship, which was presented by Sara Conlon daughter of Gerry Conlon. Dean of Law at Griffith College David Langwallner spoke of the contributions that Sinead has made during her time, as a law student, with her involvement with the Innocence Project, FLAC and the Griffith College Law Society.