Newcastle West born expert to address UN General Assembly 

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

Newcastle West born expert to address UN General Assembly 

Dr Clíonadh Raleigh will address the UN

NEWCASTLE West is still part of the mind-set of Dr Clíonadh Raleigh, an expert in political geography and international conflict, who will address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Newcastle West born Clíonadh, who is now Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sussex, has been invited to give the address as a result of her ground-breaking work on international conflicts.

She founded and directs the Armed Conflict Location and Data (ACLED) project which is regarded as the  most comprehensive public collection of political violence and protest data for developing states, providing comprehensive facts and analysis. It also supports research and work devoted to understanding, predicting and reducing levels of political violence.

Under Clíonadh’s direction, ACLED has developed into  the go-to reference base for leading media organisations such as the Economist and the Washington Post but also for organisations such as the OECD and the World Bank.

In her address to the UN, Clíonadh will speak about modern violence patterns, and the new ways in which political violence is appearing with less civil wars, more militia activity around political contests and more urban violence.

Explaining how she became involved in this area of research, Clíonadh told the Limerick Leader: “I have all my degrees in geography, but I started looking at violence in Central America during my undergraduate years at the University of Wisconsin.

“And then I did a masters in political geography where I began my interest in having a location based dataset to track the locations of violence.”

“I then went on to do my Ph D on specific conflict dynamics in Central Africa. Those degrees were at the University of Colorado and the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo.”

But this young woman who grew up in Newcastle West says she still misses Limerick and Newcastle West.

“I would love to get back to Newcastle West more! I only drove through there a few months ago on my way to my uncle's funeral in Ballybunion.

“After I left Trinity to come to the UK and had two children, the time for trips became very limited.

“However, I miss Ireland and Limerick so much that I hired a nanny Niamh Kelleher from Kilfinane last year, and she has been great for our household.”

Clíonadh is the daughter of Nora and Séan Raleigh who practised as a vet in Newcastle West until the family left  in 1989 and headed first to Manitoba in Canada and then to Wisconsin in the US where  and headed first to Canada and then to Wisconsin in the US.

The primary reason behind the move, Sean Raleigh explained, was to get better treatment for their daughter Sinead who was severely injured in an accident.

Clíonadh and the Raleigh family still have many relatives in the Newcastle West and Castlemahon area.