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  • On completion of her time in Trinity in September 2012, Dr Elaine Byrne has become the Irish expert to the European commission on corruption, based in Dublin.

  • On 1 May 2012 Professor Michael Marsh delivered a public lecture under the heading 'Referendums: past and present', in the Henry Grattan series under the auspices of the Policy Institute. The lecture was preceded by the award of the presentation of the awards for the School's first Dermot McAleese Teaching Prize for teaching assistants in the school; the Political Science winner was Justin Leinaweaver, who is close to completion of his PhD thesis on 'Explaining the variation in state commitment to environmental treaties'. The awards are generously funded by alumni and were presented by the provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast.

  • On 26 April 2012 Dr Elaine Byrne's book Political Corruption in Ireland 1922-2010: a crooked harp? was launched in the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre on Merrion Square in Dublin. The book is published by Manchester University Press, and its first print run had already sold out by the time of the launch. For an overview, see the Political Reform site. The book was launched by former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, whose comments, particularly regarding concentration of media ownership, were widely reported.

  • Raj Chari, co-author of the book Regulating Lobbying: a Global Comparison (Manchester University Press, 2010), was invited to give expert evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, House of Commons, on 26 April 2012. The Committee is scrutinising the British government’s proposals for introducing a statutory register of lobbyists in the UK. In almost two hours of questioning from the committee, Chari answered questions on lobbying regulations found in political systems from around the world and considered whether any existing models of regulation in other countries could be applicable to the UK. An audio recording of the evidence presented by Chari can be found on the UK Parliament Website.

  • The Kellogg / Notre Dame award for best paper in comparative politics at the 2011 Mid-West Political Science Association conference has been given to Christian Houle, who also won the 2010 award - the first person to win this award two years running. It was presented at the MPSA's 2012 conference in Chicago.

  • Dr Peter Stone's edited volume Lotteries in Public Life: a reader has been published by Imprint Academic of Exeter. This book collects fourteen of the most important of the papers on the use of lotteries to make public decisions, and offers a critical introduction tying them together.

  • On 16 November 2011 Professor Ron Hill, emeritus fellow, was presented in Warsaw with a 'Medal for the Promotion of Tolerance' by the Ecumenical Foundation 'Tolerance'.

  • Pictures right show front and rear of the medal. On left: Professor Hill giving his speech of appreciation, and Professor Hill with Professor Jerzy Wiatr, doyen of Polish social science. To discuss this in light of comment on photos

  • On Tuesday 18 October Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, launched How Ireland Voted 2011: the full story of Ireland's earthquake election, edited by two members of the department, Michael Gallagher and Michael Marsh. The book, which is published by Palgrave Macmillan, contains 13 chapters analysing various aspects of the dramatic general election of February 2011. The final chapter is by former EUI professor Peter Mair, who tragically died before the book was published, and in it he not only places the election result in a comparative context but also raises the question of whether the external constraints on Irish governments mean that Ireland has now become a ‘democracy without choices’.

  • The department is pleased to welcome two new members of staff. Dr Tom Pegram and Dr Peter Stone both joined the department in September 2011 and are teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

  • Dr Irene O'Daly, who taught in the department 2010-11, has moved to a post-doctoral position at the University of Leiden.

  • In September 2011 Prof Michael Marsh stepped down from the position of Vice-Provost at the completion of his term and resumed his responsibilities as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences until the end of his term of office in June 2012.

  • The department's executive officer 2008-11, Martin Hooper, has moved upstairs to become School administrative officer. He made a great contribution to the department and we wish him every success in his more elevated position. He is replaced in Room 5.02 by Jessie Smith, formerly of the School of Business.

  • A number of PhD theses have recently been successfully defended, adding to the growing list of theses to come out of the department’s PhD programme. A full list of successful graduates can be found on the department’s web site.

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  • On 2 July 2011 the School held an alumni reunion, to which all past Political Science graduates were invited.

  • Courses taught within the Political Science department in 2010-11 were among the most positively evaluated by undergraduate students in the School; see details on the School’s website.

  • In May 2011 Christian Houle's PhD thesis, 'Inequality, Economic Development and Democracy', submitted in 2010, won the University of Rochester's Outstanding Dissertation in the Social Sciences Award 2010–11.

  • In May 2011, Prof Michael Marsh, who became pro-Vice-Provost in November 2010, became Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer in Trinity College Dublin. He is the 70th holder of that distinguished position and the first political scientist to take on the role.

  • In April 2011 Dr Gail McElroy was elected to Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin in recognition of her scholarship and research achievements and her contribution to College and to the School.

  • Several members of the department were involved in media coverage of the Irish election that took place on 25 February 2011. Michael Marsh, Elaine Byrne and Michael Gallagher all contributed to discussion of the campaign and/or of the election results, including interviews with media from a range of countries, and MG established a web page on the topic.

  • The award for the best article published in Political Research Quarterly in 2010 has gone to Gail McElroy and Michael Marsh for their article 'Candidate gender and voter choice: analysis from a multimember preferential voting system' in vol 63:4. The committee said 'We were struck by the importance of the questions you addressed and the quality of the data you gathered to answer them' and described the article as 'a great model for how to do high-quality social science'. The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association in April 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.

  • The Kellogg / Notre Dame award for best paper in comparative politics at the 2010 Mid-West Political Science Association conference has been given to Christian Houle. It was presented at the MPSA's 2011 conference in Chicago.

  • On 1 January 2011 Dr Tim Hicks joined the department, and he is teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Dr Hicks holds a PhD from Nuffield College Oxford and has previously spent a year in Trinity's IIIS.

  • On 31 December 2010 Prof Ken Benoit moved to the London School of Economics, where he is head of the Methodology Institute. Ken has been an outstanding colleague since his arrival in the department in 1998. He has made his mark as a leading researcher, with a consistent output of books and articles in high impact journals; as a teacher, with a strong commitment in particular to the department's PhD programme and to his students; and as an administrator, having served as head of department and graduate director. He has made a great contribution to the department and we wish him every success in London. Despite the move, Ken retains his membership of the Department of Political Science and is a frequent visitor.

  • On 31 December 2010 Dr Rene Lindstadt moved to a new position as senior lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. We appreciated his commitment during his two and a half years in the department and wish him well.

  • On 1 November 2010 Prof Michael Marsh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, was appointed pro-Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Trinity College Dublin.

  • Dr Eddie Hyland retired on 30 September 2010 after over 33 years of service. Fortunately, his experience and his outstanding teaching are not lost to the department, as he is teaching course PO2610 in the current academic year. A reception to mark his contribution to Trinity was held in the Common Room on 15 December 2010.

  • The department is pleased to welcome a number of new contract staff. Dr Christian Houle, Dr Koji Kagotani and Dr Jeffrey Weber all joined the department in September 2010 and are teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

  • Dr Elaine Byrne, who is completing a book on political corruption in Ireland and who is a frequent contributor to public debates on Irish politics and political reform, is teaching a final-year course on Comparative Political Reform. Dr Irene O'Daly, who completed her PhD at Cambridge in 2009, is teaching a final-year course on Contemporary Political Theories.

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  • At the end of the 2009-10 academic year Dr Jon Slapin moved to take up a new position at the University of Houston, Texas. We wish him well in his new position.

  • On 22 July 2010 the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitution issued its final Report on elections and the electoral system. The Committee was assisted greatly in its endeavours by the work of two PhD students in the department, Séin Ó Muineacháin and Matt Wall, who were singled out for praise by the committee's acting chairperson, Jim O'Keeffe TD, when he launched the Report in Leinster House. In addition, three members of the department staff made presentations to the Committee in autumn 2009, as detailed below.

  • Dr Jacqueline Hayden was presented with a Provost's Teaching Awardat a ceremony on 10 June 2010. These awards recognise outstanding teaching quality and commitment within Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Hayden's award reflects the enthusiasm that she brings to her teaching and that in turn she generates among her students. In the words of one of her nominations, her 'enthusiasm and commitment to a high-quality student experience are second to none in our School'.

  • On 18 May 2010 Dr Raj Chari made a presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Affairs, specifically on the subject of the regulation of lobbying. The following day his co-authored book on the subject was launched by Senator Ivana Bacik in European House on Dawson Street, Dublin; for full details see the regulatelobbying site.

  • On 2 February 2010 the Department co-hosted a public consultation on electoral reform with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitution in Trinity’s Public Theatre. This was the first time in Trinity’s history that a fully constituted Joint Committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas has sat in Trinity and only the second time in the history of the Oireachtas that a formal Committee has sat outside the Oireachtas. The meeting was well attended and generated a lively discussion, with contributions by students and staff from the department. Fuller information from the committee's press release, Trinity's news page, and media coverage.

  • In late 2009 Michael Marsh (4 November), Michael Gallagher (18 November) and Ken Benoit (9 December) made presentations to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitution, which is reviewing the PR-STV electoral system that has been used at all general elections in Ireland since independence. Michael Marsh addressed the impact of PR-STV upon intra-party competition, Michael Gallagher discussed the constituency service role of TDs and the question of whether this could be attributed in any significant measure to the electoral system, and Ken Benoit discussed the issues involved in the process of changing an electoral system.

  • In November 2009 the Department was awarded a place in the Excellence Group for Political Science in this year’s CHE (Centre for Higher Education Development in Germany) Excellence Ranking. The CHE Excellence Ranking highlights the research strengths of European higher education institutes and awarded the Excellence Group status to TCD’s Department of Political Science at the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy because of its outstanding achievements in citations and publications.

  • This is the second time the CHE has completed its annual ranking, this time focusing on the academic disciplines of economics, political science and psychology. The CHE Excellence Ranking is based on the performance on five key indicators with either a research orientation or an international dimension. For seven different subjects a group of 20 to 60 European universities were selected by their prominence in research and internationalisation indicators. This selected group of universities is called the 'Excellence Group' of the respective subject.

  • Speaking on the award, Professor of Comparative Political Behaviour and Faculty Dean Michael Marsh said: ‘The excellence of political science in TCD has been highlighted by several objective surveys in recent years and the department is delighted to see this rating confirmed by such an authoritative institute.’

  • The department is pleased to welcome new lecturers for the academic year 2009-10. Dr Elaine Byrne, who is well known as an Irish Times columnist, is teaching PO3630 Irish Politics; Dr Anna Gwiazda, who lectured at Dublin City University in 2008-09, has been appointed a full-time lecturer for 2009-10 and is teaching both PO2650 Comparative Politics and PO3670 Democracy and Development; and Dr Etain Tannam, a lecturer in the Irish School of Ecumenics, is teaching PO4700 Contemporary International Relations.

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  • The prize for the best article in volume 18 (2008) of JEPOP (Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties) was awarded to 'Election pledges and their enactment in coalition governments: a comparative analysis of Ireland' by Rory Costello and Robert Thomson.

  • Dr Clionadh Raleigh has been appointed to a lectureship in Trinity's Department of Geography as from the start of the 2009-10 academic year. We wish her well in her new role and look forward to continued links given the BA in Political Science and Geography, and we are pleased that she will be teaching PO4710 African Politics in the 2009-10 academic year.

  • In September 2009 the department admitted the first students to its two new undergraduate degree programmes: LLB in Law and Political Science, and BA in Political Science and Geography. These programmes add to the new PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology) degree that commenced in October 2008. Full details of how to apply for all courses can be found on Trinity's Admissions website.

  • In June 2009 postgraduate researchers in the department organised a one-day conference on political reform in conjunction with the Political Studies Association of Ireland, which included presentations by members of the department and by academics from other universities on the island. This represented a response by the political science community to the current debates on whether the country's political institutions are 'fit for purpose', and generated significant media interest. Link to Political Reform under Event Archive.

  • In May 2009 Dr Robert Thomson was elected to Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin in recognition of his scholarship and research achievements and his contribution to College.

  • In November 2008 Professors Michael Gallagher and Michael Marsh made a submission and presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitution. Their presentation concerned the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the Referendum Commission in informing the electorate about the issues involved in the Lisbon Treaty referendum, and the modalities of referendum campaigning and constitutional amendment in the light of decisions of the Supreme Court in the McKenna (1995) and Coughlan (2000) cases.

  • At the annual conference of the PSAI (Political Studies Association of Ireland) in Galway, 17-19 October 2008, Dr Brighid Brooks Kelly's doctoral thesis on 'An exploration of the relationship between consociationalism and stability in plural societies throughout the world' was announced as the winner of the Basil Chubb prize 2008 awarded by the PSAI for the best politics PhD thesis submitted to an Irish university in 2007. This marks the second time that a TCD thesis has won the prize in three years, Dr Eoin O'Malley's thesis having won the inaugural prize in 2006. (See a list of recent thesis completions.)

  • In the summer of 2008 the department made three new contract lectureship appointments. It is delighted that Dr Clionadh Raleigh (University of Essex), Dr Rene Lindstadt (State University of New York at Stony Brook) and Dr Jonathan Slapin (University of Nevada Las Vegas) joined the department as from October 2008. Rene Lindstadt specialises in political economy, Clionadh Raleigh has particular expertise in the area of political geography, and Jon Slapin's research includes the impact of political institutions upon bargaining power, with particular reference to the EU, and the estimation of preferences from party manifestoes. All three are very active researchers and highly committed teachers.

  • Dr Jacqueline Hayden, who made an outstanding contribution to the department as a lecturer 2004-07, returns to the department for the academic year 2008-09. Her research interests include democratisation and transition, and she is currently completing a book on the trajectory of democratic transition in Poland.

  • Dr Raj Chari and Dr Gail McElroy are on sabbatical in 2008-09. Dr McElroy has secured a prestigious Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence.

  • Following the completion of Michael Gallagher's term of office, Professor Ken Benoit has been elected Head of Department for a three-year term (July 2008–July 2011).

  • Dr Etain Tannam, a full-time member of the department in 2007-08, took up a lectureship in the Irish School of Ecumenics in October 2008.

  • Three of the Department's part-time lecturing staff of 2007-08 have been appointed to full-time lectureships at other universities for the 2008-09 academic year. Shane MacGiollabhui has joined the Department of Government at University College Cork, while Dr Anna Gwiazda and Ecaterina McDonagh have joined the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University.

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  • With the dissolution of the old BESS (Business, Economic and Social Studies) faculty, the department of Political Science (along with the departments of Economics, Philosophy and Sociology) became part of the new School of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Professor Michael Marsh was elected Head of this School in summer 2005 before, in December 2007, being elected as Dean of the new Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, entering office on 1 January 2008.

  • In February 2008, The Irish Voter was published by Manchester University Press. The book analyses the first full-scale academic survey of Irish election voting behaviour. It was written by Professor Michael Marsh and Professor Richard Sinnott (UCD), along with two of the department's PhD graduates, John Garry and Fiachra Kennedy. It was launched by Olivia O'Leary in May 2008.

The department was able to welcome a number of new additions to its staff:

  • The Department is pleased to welcome Dr Will Phelan as a new permanent appointment. Dr Phelan has an undergraduate degree from Oxford and a PhD from Harvard, and replaces Dr Nalini Persram as the department's IR specialist.

  • Dr Robert Thomson has been appointed to a permanent position in the department. His work on decision-making within the EU has led to a number of recent publications.

  • Dr Etain Tannam has been appointed a full-time lecturer in the department. She teaches courses in European Public Policy and Issues in Contemporary Politics. Her research areas are the EU and Northern Ireland, cross-border co-operation and regional and cohesion policy.

  • Courses are also being taught in 2007–08 by Dr Simon Boucher, Dr Andrew Glencross, Dr Anna Gwiazda, Ms Katya McDonagh, Mr Shane Mac Giollabhui and Mr Slava Mikhailov. The department is delighted to welcome this group of new, highly committed teachers.

  • Ken Benoit has been awarded a personal chair with the title Professor of Quantitative Social Sciences. He is on sabbatical in the academic year 2007–08. Michael Marsh has been awarded a personal chair with the title Professor of Comparative Political Behaviour. The department congratulates them both on these well merited promotions.

On the down side, the department has lost a number of valued colleagues, and it wishes them all well in the future:

  • Professor Ron Hill retired at the end of September 2007 after 38 years in the department. Long regarded as one of the world's leading experts on communist politics, since the early 1990s he has established an expertise in post-communist politics, Russian politics, and transitions to democracy. Generations of students will recall his stimulating lectures, his commitment to excellence, and his insistence that the basic rules of grammar are capable of being mastered by everyone. His wisdom and his all-round contribution to the department will be greatly missed.

  • Dr Jacqueline Hayden left the department after three years of outstanding work, in particular teaching the Introduction to Political Science to over 400 first-year undergraduates each year and teaching the very popular final-year Issues in Contemporary Politics course.

  • Dr Yee-Kuang Heng, after three years in the department teaching IR while Dr Nalini Persram was on a career break, has taken up a new position at one of the UK's leading IR departments, at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he has an office with a sea view and continues to produce high quality research output.

  • Dr Nalini Persram, who joined the department in 1999 following the retirement of Professor Patrick Keatinge, has left to take up a position at York University in Toronto.

  • In addition, several lecturers who contributed valuably to teaching in 2006-07 and in some cases other years too have moved on to other positions: Dr Alex Baturo, Ken McDonagh, Dr Garrett O'Boyle, and Dr Jonathan Westrup

How Ireland Voted
  • Several members of the department, along with leading authorities from other universities and practising politicians, have combined to produce How Ireland Voted 2007 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), the definitive study of Ireland's 2007 election. The book was published on 9 November 2007, less than six months after the election, and was launched by John Gormley TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, on 4 December 2007. Full details on the Palgrave website.

  • Michael Gallagher remains head of department. A paperback edition of The Politics of Electoral Systems, which he co-edited with Paul Mitchell of the LSE, was published 10 January 2008 by Oxford University Press (22 February in the USA). Running to 662 pages (and costing a mere GB£27.50), it contains chapters on 22 countries across five continents along with comparative analysis of various aspects of electoral systems.

  • A number of PhD theses have recently been successfully defended, adding to the growing list of theses to come out of the department’s PhD programme. A full list of successful graduates is to be found elsewhere on the department’s web site.

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