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Poverties, Social Justice and Inequalities

About the cluster

This is an interdisciplinary cluster whose primary aim is to facilitate and coordinate cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research informed by a commitment to social justice, equality and inclusion, in particular research that engages with and speaks to the radical democratic aspirations at the core of contemporary social movements challenging interconnected forms of hierarchy and domination. The cluster aims to prioritise research projects that include a strong activist and public engagement component.

Aims & Objectives
  • To establish an active and vocal research group that develops novel and important research projects informed by a commitment to social justice, equality, inclusion and fairness.
  • To engage with and participate in public debate around issues of poverty, social justice and equality.
  • To develop capacity to engage with relevant stakeholders and to research genuine social needs.
  • To build interdisciplinary links within and outside of academia.

Events & Projects

  • Cluster Events 
Raising Awareness of Child Trafficking, 21 February 2024 
As part of UCC Refugee Week 2024, the ISS21 Poverties, Social Justice, and Inequalities research cluster, in collaboration with the Inclusion Health Research Group hosted a seminar with Mr J.P. O’Sullivan, Network and Communications Manager of MECPATHS. MECPATHS works to raise awareness on child trafficking and educate frontline and emerging professionals on how to recognise indicators and report their concerns to the authorities. Much of their work involves training healthcare, hotel, transport and other staff to be alert to cases of child trafficking and ensuring understanding of reporting structures.

'Researching and Responding to Homelessness', November 2021

On 16 November 2021 the Poverties, Social Justice and Inequalities Cluster hosted a seminar on the issue of homelessness with guest speaker Fr Peter McVerry and a team of researchers from the School of Applied Social Studies, UCC - Joe Finnerty, Dr Margaret Buckley and Dr Mark Cullinane. Further details and a recording of the event are available here 

  • Research Projects

ISS21 research projects linked to the themes of the cluster include:

PRECNIGHTS  Precarity Amongst Women Migrant Nightworkers in Ireland (2022-2024) Dr JC Macarie (MSCA Fellow). 

In Transit? Documenting the Lived Experiences of Welfare, Working and Caring for One Parent Families Claiming Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (2021-2022) Dr Fiona Dukelow (PI)

ENERGISE Enhancing the Transition to Energy Citizenship (2021-2022) Dr Olive McCarthy (PI) The focus of this project is on energy poverty and barriers and enablers to greater energy efficiency in low income homes.

Clean Slate: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Persons with Criminal Convictions and the Harms Resulting from Barriers to Employment, Training, and Education (2021-2022) Dr Katharina Swirak (PI)


If you are interested in joining the cluster, please contact the Cluster Leader, Dr. Angela Flynn ( or the ISS21 Research Coordinator, Dr. Margaret Scanlon (

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30