Donna-Marie McNamara from DCU was Highly Commended in 2013 in the Law category for her paper ‘The Buck Stops Here’ – The Call for Legislation Concerning Assisted Human Reproduction in 21st Century Ireland” She’s been extremely busy since then!
I am very grateful and privileged to have been Highly Commended in the Undergraduate Awards. While writing my paper on Assisted Human Reproduction, I came to realise that a career in research would be the perfect fit for me. I received a scholarship to study an LLM in Health and Care Law in University College Cork, where I became interested in international law and the rights of people with disabilities. It was during this year that I knew pursuing a PhD was the right career decision for me, as I wanted to continue researching and learning about human rights law.
I was very lucky to receive a scholarship to carry out a PhD in Dublin City University in 2014, under the supervision of Dr Aisling de Paor and Dr Yvonne Daly. My research explores the rights of people with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system as suspects of crime. I am particularly interested in how the police respond to suspects with disabilities, and the supports available for suspects in the pre-trial process. As part of my work, I spent some time at the Burton Blatt Institute in Syracuse, New York in 2016, working with Dr Peter Blanck, who is an internationally renowned leader in the field of disability human rights law. During this trip, I got to visit a sheriff’s office and speak to the officers about the differences between criminal justice in Ireland and the States. Without a doubt, my time at the Burton Blatt Institute and working with everyone there has been the highlight of my research career to date!
Once I finish my PhD, I hope to continue research and teaching. I chose to study at DCU because of the teaching opportunities and over the last three years I have tutored criminal law and have lectured legal research methods and administrative law. This has been a fantastic experience for me to develop my own skills as an educator. I also work with the Student Learning and Development Office in the university for a few hours every week. This is a great way of getting to know the students and helping them with their problems. DCU is like my second home at this stage!”