The MacGill Summer School gets underway in Co Donegal later.

Earlier this year the event became embroiled in controversy over the number of women speakers invited to participate.

It was revealed 45 men were to speak or moderate at the event, and just 15 women.

Following a storm of controversy, the director of the school Joe Mulholland apologised for the lack of gender balance.

The co-leaders of the Social Democrats had said they would withdraw from their panels due to the gender-balance on them.

Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall speaking to reporters on the Leinster House plinth | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall are no longer listed as speakers on the event's website.

Extra sessions and additional female speakers were added to the programme of events - which will discuss the referendum on the Eighth Amendment and also how to achieve gender balancing.

However, Europe and Brexit is the main theme of the gathering this week.

The role of the church in Ireland and the economy will also be subject to debate.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will deliver the Annual John Hume lecture this evening, while EU Commissioner Phil Hogan will participate tomorrow.

The event will wrap up on Friday with a discussion on why some events in Ireland are trapped in a world of gender stereotypes.