NUI Galway Students Launch Podcast To Promote Awareness Of Ireland’s Historic Institutions

Jul 13 2022 Posted: 10:06 IST

Six Master of Laws (LLM) students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway have launched a five-episode podcast series titled ‘My Country is My Prison’. 

The podcast series aims to promote awareness of human rights violations perpetrated against women and children in Ireland’s institutions in the 20th century, using international human rights law as an illustrative framework.

The podcast is a continuation of the memoralisation project students completed with Mary Harney for the Human Rights Clinic since 2019 to ensure that the history of these institutions is not forgotten. The podcast joins the Open Heart City website which compiles relevant information and analysis, and a lesson plan for teachers. 

The Master in Laws students who developed the podcast series are Emily Williams, Fernanda Souza, Holly Hayes, James Spillane, Maria Tapias Serrano and Shauna Joyce.

The goal of the podcast is to provide a comprehensive overview of the institutions, the human rights violations (including how they continue today) and how transitional justice can be used for Ireland to respond to these egregious and systematic human rights violations. 

  • Episode 1 discusses the history of Ireland’s institutions and how the repercussions of their human rights violations influence politics and public policy today. 
  • Episode 2 examines illegal adoptions in Ireland, the right to identity and how the effects of Ireland’s illegal adoptions remain present today with a discussion of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill. 
  • Episode 3 focuses on how children were confined in the system of industrial schools. 
  • Episode 4 explores the institutions that targeted women: Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Institutions. 
  • Episode 5 reviews Ireland’s obligations to provide remedies and the steps that must be taken now to prevent the institutional abuses from re-occurring.

All five episodes, along with two bonus episodes that feature the full length interviews conducted with survivor Elizabeth Coppin and Dr Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection to Government of Ireland, 2019-22, are now available to listen to on Spotify:

In conjunction with the podcast release, the students will host a conference for Irish secondary school teachers in October 2022. Hosted in partnership with a cross-sectional group of academics, activists and teachers from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and Waterford Institute of Technology, the conference will focus on why this history should be taught in schools and how it may be implemented in Transition Year classrooms.

Drawing upon lesson plans already designed and implemented in schools, the conference is intended to facilitate discussion among teachers and to draw, in particular, on first-hand experiences of other teachers, as well as the testimonies of survivors of the institutions, to demonstrate the importance of memorialisation through education. 

The conference will be an all-day event hosted on the NUI Galway campus, with a range of speakers and workshops throughout the day. 

For further information about the conference please contact Shauna Joyce,

To listen to the podcast online go to Instagram: @mycountryismyprisonpodcast, and on Twitter: @mcimp_podcast, 

For more information about the podcast contact Emily Williams, NUI Galway at and 087 1737402, or Maria Tapias Serrano at and +34 690 23 22 49.


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