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Maureen Gaffney Bio

Dr Maureen Gaffney is a psychologist, speaker, broadcaster and writer. Her latest book, Your One Wild and Precious Life, helps people live their best life at any age and was the winner of the RTÉ Audience Choice Award in the 2021 Book Awards.

Maureen is passionate about mental health issues and has worked tirelessly to promote equality and reform across many sections of Irish life. She is a regular contributor to radio and television, sharing the latest research and thinking on the psychology of wellbeing, resilience and transformational change in both individuals and organisations.

She has served as the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, as a board member of the Health Service Executive and as a member of the Law Reform Commission, where she progressed key reforms in the laws relating to child abuse and recognising marital rape.

Maureen brought her passion and determination to her work as a Yes Campaigner in the referenda to reform the laws on divorce, the Eighth Amendment and marriage equality. She served as the Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum and the Chair on Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development (RAPID).

She was born in Midleton, Co Cork and educated in St Mary’s High School, and was the first person in her family and in her local secondary school to attend university. She graduated from UCC with a Bachelors in Psychology. She also has a Masters in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Trinity College.

She lives in Dublin and is married to Dr John Harris, Fellow Emeritus in Trinity College. Together, they have two children, a daughter who is a Trinity graduate and a son who is currently a postgraduate student in the College.

Maureen’s priorities as a Trinity senator in the Seanad will include:

  • Promoting significant reform in the area of mental health and wellbeing
  • Ensuring accessibility and adequate funding for excellence in higher education
  • Advancing real social, economic, political and gender equality
  • Supporting urgent and effective action on the climate change crisis
  • Defending civil liberties and human rights
  • Radical reform of planning to accelerate the building of affordable housing
  • Fostering peace and reconciliation among all traditions on this island

Dr Gaffney says: “The great leap of imagination for people who have power is to imagine what life is like for people who have none.

“The past two years have taught us much about ourselves, and each other. This is a key moment to progress higher education issues including future funding of the sector, improved access to higher education for all, and an intensive focus on making up for the loss of in-person lectures and events since 2020.

“I know that, as an Independent voice, my proven record, experience and commitment as a progressive thinker and reformer will continue Trinity’s tradition of electing such voices to Seanad Éireann.”