Social Justice Ireland co-founders Sr Brigid Reynolds, SM and Dr Seán Healy, SMA to retire this Autumn

Posted on Monday, 6 March 2023
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 Sean Healy and Brigid Reynolds
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Social Justice Ireland co-founders Sr Brigid Reynolds, SM and Dr Seán Healy, SMA will retire later this year.  They have been Company Secretary and CEO of the independent social justice think-tank since its foundation in 2009.

On behalf of the board of Social Justice Ireland, Professor Tony Fahey, Chair of the Board expressed his thanks to Brigid and Seán for their contribution to public life spanning more than 50 years, and their tireless work, energy and dedication to the cause of social justice both here in Ireland and across the globe. 

Working for social justice

Both have been at the forefront of working to build a just society and ensuring that the voice of those who are vulnerable or marginalised is heard in the public policy debate for more than half a century.  Fourteen years ago, they established Social Justice Ireland, an independent social justice think-tank.  Through rigorous independent social analysis and evidence-based policy proposals the think-tank has become a vibrant, respected and trusted voice in discourse about public policy.

For more than a quarter of a century before establishing Social Justice Ireland they worked for Ireland’s Catholic religious congregations on issues of social justice and public policy.  Prior to that, they worked for more than a decade in Africa on issues of justice and development supporting communities to improve their living standard in an effective and sustainable manner.

Values and legacy

Sr Reynolds and Dr Healy have written or edited forty-three books on public policy as well as three books on spirituality for social engagement. Their contribution to the literature on public policy in Ireland has been substantial.  They pioneered a post-graduate degree programme in Social Justice and Public Policy, which is now offered in conjunction with South East Technological University.  This programme began as an internship in their office but grew to full degree status and more than 150 of its graduates are now active in the work of social justice and public policy throughout Ireland and beyond.  This is only one of their many initiatives which will continue after their retirement and will be carried forward by Social Justice Ireland. The Board has developed a comprehensive transition plan to ensure not just that their work is maintained but that it is built upon and developed in the years ahead.

The board would like to pay tribute to the tireless work that Brigid and Seán have poured into the cause of social justice over the years.  Their energy and output are admired and appreciated both at home and across the globe.  Their approach is based on a conviction that a just society is one where right relationships are promoted, where human rights are respected, human dignity is protected, human development is facilitated, and the environment is nourished and respected  Keeping this as their focus, Brigid Reynolds and Seán Healy have sought to influence the public debate by providing accurate social analysis, developing viable options for a better future and setting out pathways that would enable society to move in that direction.