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Bronagh Byrne

BSc Economics (First Class Honours), QUB
LLM Human Rights Law (Distinction), QUB
PhD Sociology and Social Policy, QUB

Lecturer in Social Policy
Room 0G.004, 6 College Park
Email: Ext: 1478

My research interests lie in two main areas; disability rights and children’s rights. I have a keen interest in disability policy and the relationship between international human rights law and policy development and implementation with respect to disability issues. I have a particular interest in the potential of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which incorporates a range of social policy areas, in creating a more inclusive society.

Prior to joining the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, I was a Children’s Rights Research Fellow in the School of Education, QUB. As part of the University wide Improving Children’s Lives initiative, my post focused specifically on developing expertise in relation to children’s rights-based approaches to undertaking research.  I previously also worked as a researcher for the Centre on Human Rights for People with Disabilities at Disability Action where I was responsible for coordinating and developing the Centre’s policy and research activities and developing expertise in rights-based issues for people with disabilities. My PhD thesis: From ability to (dis)ability: a Bourdieudian analysis and case study of the experiences of young adults in utilising post-16 educational provision in Northern Ireland explored the practices of domination and oppression which have prevented young people with disabilities from progressing to third-level education on the same basis as people without disabilities. It examined the ways in which key stakeholders understood and interpreted their duties to promote equality of opportunity, access and inclusion for people with disabilities in light of equality and disability policy and legislation. The doctoral study included an indepth analysis of the implications of individual model versus social model oriented social policy for the lived experiences of people with disabilities generally and highlighted the utility of a Bourdieudian theoretical framework in progressing a ‘theory’ of disability.

I am currently working on an ESRC funded Knowledge Exchange project. This project aims to enhance the implementation of children's rights in Northern Ireland through collaborative working with the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY). Specifically, this project seeks to build upon previous research carried out on behalf of NICCY and which identified a number of significant barriers government delivery for children in Northern Ireland. The aims of the project are to: develop a policy briefing on the issue; facilitate stakeholder engagement; and ultimately to inform policy and practice with respect to the implementation of children's rights in Northern Ireland.


Disability and Society (Module Convenor)
Finding Out about Social Policy


Byrne, B. (Forthcoming) Reconciling Sameness and Difference in Disability Rights Ideology: The case of student identity, in G. Quinn and C. O’Mahony (Eds) The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Comparative, Regional and Thematic Perspectives, Cambridge: Intersentia.

Byrne, B. (2012) Hidden Contradictions and Conditionality: Conceptualisations of Inclusive Education in International Law, Disability and Society, published on iFirst, 18 July 2012.

Byrne, B. (2012) Minding the Gap?  Children with Disabilities and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in M. Freeman (Ed.) Law and Childhood Studies – Current Legal Issues Volume 14. Oxford University Press. pp.419-437.

Byrne, B. (2012) Barriers to Effective Government Delivery for Children in Northern Ireland, Child and Family Law Update. SLS publications, Issue 29, pp.18-23.

Lundy, L., McEvoy, L. and Byrne, B. (2011) Working with Young Children as Co-Researchers: An Approach Informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Early Education and Development. Vol 22 No.5, pp 714-736.

Byrne, B. and Lundy, L. (2011) Rights like no other? Protections for Students with Disabilities in International Law. in C. Russo The Legal Rights of Students with Disabilities: International Perspectives. Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers. pp.1-20.

Byrne, B. (2005) Equality and Inclusion: Overcoming barriers to Further and Higher Education for Young People with Sensory Impairments in Northern Ireland, The Skill Journal, Volume 82, pp3-7.

Book Reviews

Rioux, M., Basser, L. and Jones, M. (eds) (2012) Critical Perspectives on Human Rights and Disability Law, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 20(1) pp169-172.

Jones, P. and Walker, G.  (eds) (2012) Children’s Rights in Practice, London: Sage, Educational Review Available online ahead of press, 09 Feb 2012 DOI:10.1080/00131911.2012.657462.

Barnes, C. and Mercer, G.  (eds) (2004) Implementing the Social Model of Disability: Theory and Research, The Disability Press, Leeds, Journal of Social Policy, (2007) 36(1) pp174-176.

Borsay, A. (2005) Disability and Social Policy in Britain Since 1750, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Sociology of Health and Illness, (2005) 27(7) pp1018-1019.

Research Projects

Bringing Children’s Rights into Domestic Law: An International Review (with Laura Lundy and Ursula Kilkelly), funded by UNICEF UK.  Completed September 2012.

Transitions to Adult Services for Young People with Learning Disabilities in Northern Ireland (with Laura Lundy), funded by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. Completed August 2012.

A Human Rights Review of the Northern Ireland Education System, (with Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson), funded by Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Completed May 2012.

Barriers to Effective Government Delivery for Children in Northern Ireland (with Laura Lundy), Funded by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. Completed June 2012, See

Monitoring Implementation (public policy and programmes) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Northern Ireland (with Disability Action), funded by Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Completed January 2012. See

Ready to Learn: Involving Children in the Service Design Process (with Laura Lundy and Lesley Emerson), Funded by Barnardo’s Northern Ireland. Completed March 2010.