Poverty ‘massively overlooked’, says NUIG institute director

Prof Pat Dolan speaking at opening by Tánaiste of Institute for Lifecourse and Society

NUIG’s Prof Pat Dolan: “It can be easily argued that while we have given forensic attention to the economic recovery, we have not yet given enough focus to the human cost and or recovery.”  Photograph: Aengus McMahon

NUIG’s Prof Pat Dolan: “It can be easily argued that while we have given forensic attention to the economic recovery, we have not yet given enough focus to the human cost and or recovery.” Photograph: Aengus McMahon

 

Researchers need to “wake up” to the “lived experience of citizens” and produce work that is relevant now to families and communities, an NUI Galway (NUIG) academic has said.

NUIG Institute for Lifecourse and Society director Prof Pat Dolan said he believes poverty has been “massively overlooked as an issue”, and “everybody in this country is a pay packet away from needing a service”.

Prof Dolan was speaking at the opening of the new institute at NUIG by Tánaiste Joan Burton on Wednesday.

‘Alleged recovery’

“Our alleged and our actual recovery from the boom to bust years continues to be discussed and debated both in Ireland and internationally,”Prof Dolan said.

“However, for those vulnerable children, youth, families, older people and people living with a disability, the reality of the recession is far more tangible,” he said.

“It can be easily argued that while we have given forensic attention to the economic recovery, we have not yet given enough focus to the human cost and or recovery,” he said.

“ The reason for this may well be the lack of real world research being provided by the Irish university and third level institutes, with the need for more grounded social science research required,” he said.

“There is a issue about how the State funds social science research and it’s a university-wide question,” Prof Dolan said.

He paid tribute to Atlantic Philanthropies which contributed towards the cost of the new €9 million institute, along with Galway University Foundation.

More convincing connection

He said the new Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) would “ seek to make a more convincing connection between ‘town and gown’ ”. He said “researchers need to wake up and understand the lived experience of citizens and produce research that helps make an actual positive difference for people, families and communities”.

Described as the “largest social science research project” of its type in Europe, the institute houses six existing centres at NUIG.