Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sarah Spencer, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford

Dr. Piaras Mac Éinrí, School of Geography & Archaeology and ISS21, University College Cork


Regular Services for Irregular Migrants: unravelling a policy paradox across the EU
Sarah Spencer

The paper will explore the paradox that, despite the impact of austerity on welfare budgets and on migrants in particular, coupled with forceful rhetoric against irregular migrants in many EU States, there remains a level of entitlement to public services for irregular migrants in all EU states and instances where entitlements have recently been extended by national, regional and local tiers of government. Drawing on a study on state responses to the public service needs of irregular migrants funded by the Open Society Fellowship, I shall highlight the uneven geography of entitlements to health care, education and other services across the EU28 and explore the underlying and proximate reasons why those entitlements have been retained in recent years, despite the emphasis placed by national governments on both the enforcement of immigration controls and on curtailing the cost of public services.

Photo Sarah Spencer
Dr Sarah Spencer is an Open Society Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford where she specialises in research relating to integration, irregular migration, human rights and the migration policy making process. Her recent publications include a critique of UK migration policy, The Migration Debate (Policy Press 2011); ‘Advancing human rights and equality: assessing the role of commissions in the UK and Ireland’, co-authored with Colin Harvey, Fordham International Law Journal 35(1), 2012; and Equality for all? The relationship between immigration status and the allocation of rights in the UK, co-authored with Jason Pobjoy, European Human Rights Law Review, Issue 2, 2012. Sarah is a former Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Director of Liberty, and Chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum, the network of civil society organisations working on human rights and equality issues in Britain. She has been a member of a series of government task-forces and twice seconded into the Cabinet Office to contribute to forward analysis on migration policy.


Who Stays? Who Goes? Retrospects and Prospects

Piaras Mac Einri

Photo Piaras

Dr. Piaras Mac Einri is a Lecturer in the Department of Geography in UCC and a Research Associate of ISS21. After graduating from UCD, he held diplomatic postings for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, Paris and Beirut. He subsequently examined the Irish in Paris in the late 1980s for his postgraduate work at the Sorbonne University in Paris before arriving at UCC. He was the Director of the Irish Centre for Migration Studies at UCC between 1997 and 2003 and was involved in several of their key projects, including ‘Breaking the Silence’, which examined the lives of young people who did not emigrate from Ireland in the 1950s. He has published widely on immigration into and emigration out of Ireland, and has recently completed a major national study on recent emigration from Ireland at a time of austerity (



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