Members of the Press Council

The Press Council has 13 members. Seven of these, including the Chairman, are drawn from suitably qualified persons representative of a broad spectrum of Irish society. The remaining six members of the Press Council provide senior editorial and journalistic expertise and perspectives reflective of the press industry.

The independent Chairman of the Press Council is Mr Seán Donlon.


The Press Council of Ireland: Independent members

Seán Donlon

Seán Donlon has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors.  His public sector career includes posts held as Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Special Adviser to the Taoiseach.  His private sector career includes appointments as Executive Vice-President of the aviation company GPA.  He also held a number of commercial directorships in the insurance and aviation financing sectors.  He was Chancellor of the University of Limerick from 2002 to 2007 and most recently held the post of executive representative of the Governments of Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania and Kosovo on the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

Patricia O'Donovan

Patricia  O’Donovan started her career with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in 1977.  Over more than 20 years with ICTU, she was involved in developing and promoting legislative reform, equality, and trade union social and economic policies at national and European level. She was a member of the negotiating team involved in national social partnership negotiations with government, employers and civil society organizations.    In 2001, she joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the specialized agency of the United Nations which sets global labour standards for the world of work. With the ILO, she held a number of senior management positions including Executive Director for Management and Administration at ILO headquarters in Geneva and Director of the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, Italy. Ms O’Donovan retired from the ILO in 2015.  Ms O’Donovan is a native of Cork City and a graduate of UCC, Harvard University and the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin.

Ruth Barrington

Ruth Barrington is a graduate of University College Dublin, the College of Europe in Bruges and the London School of Economics where she received a Doctorate. She worked in the Department of Health before becoming Chief Executive of the Health Research Board and Molecular Medicine Ireland. She is currently  Chair of the National Children’s Research Centre and Treoir, and her Directorships include the VHI and the Children’s Medical and  Research Foundation. She was previously a governor of the Irish Times Trust and a director of Irish Times Ltd. 

Patricia Sisk Taormina

Patricia Sisk Taormina was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member for a three year term from May 2012. She was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1995 and she remains in practice as a Barrister. In 2004, she qualified as an Accredited Mediator.
She was appointed a Chairperson of the Mental Health Tribunals from the time of their inception in 2006 and she continues in such capacity in the Munster region. In 2007, she qualified as a Psychotherapist having completed her degree and, in 2010, she completed a Masters training in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Metanoia Institute, London.   She is a member of the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (UKAPI) in London and is actively involved in postgraduate educational projects in mental health and psychotherapy in Cork. She has also lectured in law at a number of institutions over the years since qualifying as a Barrister.
Her particular interests include the fields of therapeutic jurisprudence, civil (involuntary) psychiatric detention and the law, and legal and ethical issues pertaining to clinical practice and mental health.  Born and raised in London, she has resided in Cork since 1981.

Denis Doherty

Denis Doherty was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member for a three year term from October 2013. Denis Doherty began his public service career in local government. He has worked in healthcare since 1972. He was CEO, Midland Health Board, CEO Mid Western Health Board, Director, Office for Health Management, Director, Health Boards Executive.    He now works as a Healthcare Consultant. He is a Director of the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Health Management Institute of Ireland. 

Brendan Butler

Brendan Butler was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member for a three year term in June 2014.   Brendan Butler is a non -executive Director of InterTrade Ireland and Chairs its Equity Network. Over a 40 year career  Brendan recently completed 25 years with the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC)  having previously worked in the public sector for 15 years.  Brendan worked in a number of different roles in IBEC including; Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), IBEC’s Director of Social Policy and Director of Enterprise and in his final role with IBEC as Director of Policy and International Affairs.  Brendan was involved in the negotiations for the various social partnership programmes first introduced in Ireland in 1987.   Brendan has been  a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).   He represented IBEC in Business Europe, the IOE and  BIAC.   Brendan holds a B.Comm from University College Dublin and M.Sc. (Economics) from Trinity College Dublin.   

Denise Charlton

Denise Charlton was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member for a three year term in September 2014. Denise has over 25 years’ experience in the field of equality, human rights and anti-discrimination and integration issues, with 20 years at senior management level.  Denise has represented the Immigrant Council of Ireland at local, national and international levels on social justice issues and has led on research projects nationally and internationally on immigration, integration, gender and migration, gender based violence, access to justice and human trafficking. Furthermore, she has led several European Commission projects specifically in the area of integration, immigration and human trafficking. Denise is a member of the European Commission Expert Group on Trafficking in Human Beings.   Denise has provided expertise to anti-discrimination bodies and member on various governmental and NGO committees and commissions, including:  National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism;  Irish Expert to EWL Observatory on Violence against Women;  Irish Government working group on Trafficking of Human Beings;  National Women’s Council of Ireland. 

The Press Council of Ireland: Industry members

Norah Casey

Publishing entrepreneur Norah Casey is owner and CEO of Harmonia, Ireland's largest magazine publishing company, printing over four million magazines annually for the Irish, British and US market.  In Ireland she publishes a range of market leading magazines including strong women's brands, Irish Tatler, Woman's Way, U and specialist titles such as Food&Wine, CookBook, Irish Tatler Man, Eat Out, Auto Ireland and Ireland of the Welcomes.   
Norah is Ireland’s current Publisher of the Year, having won the award no fewer than four times. She is also a member of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, the London-based Women's Irish Network and The International Women's Forum. She was awarded The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award for 2007/8.

Ken Davis

Ken Davis spent 34 years working at all editorial levels in the Meath Chronicle. He served as editor of the newspaper for 21 years and, prior to that, was deputy editor and a senior news reporter. He also established and edited the paper’s monthly lifestyle magazine, Inspire, for over a decade. He took early retirement in 2016 to concentrate on a freelance career and to pursue other opportunities in the publishing and media sector. 

Deaglán de Bréadún 

Deaglán de Bréadún was nominated to the Press Council by the National Union of Journalists. He was formerly Father of the NUJ Chapel at the Irish Times. Positions held during many years at the paper included Northern Editor, Political Correspondent, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Temporary Moscow Correspondent, Irish Language Editor and Feature Writer/Sub-Editor.
He took voluntary redundancy at the end of 2012 and later became Local Radio Correspondent with the Houses of the Oireachtas where he spent a year broadcasting accounts of proceedings at Leinster House to radio stations around the country. He then worked as Political Editor of the Irish Sun, until February 2015. He is the author of a comprehensive account of the peace process, entitled "The Far Side of Revenge: Making Peace in Northern Ireland" (Collins Press, 2001 and 2008) and a collection of short stories in Irish entitled "Sceallóga (Chips)", published by Comhar Teo. His coverage of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement won the IPR/BT Northern Ireland press and broadcast award for daily news journalism.A native of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, his family moved to Dublin, where he attended CBS Synge Street and UCD, graduating with a master's degree in Anglo-Irish literature.

Patrick Smyth  

Patrick Smyth is an Irish Times duty editor, primarily responsible for leader writing and foreign policy, and is currently editing its Century project. He is a former Foreign Editor and Opinion Editor, and has served as the paper’s Washington and European Correspondent.  

Kevan Furbank 

Kevan Furbank is Deputy Editor of the Irish Daily Mirror, a position he has held for nine years. He joined the Mirror in 1995 and has been a sub-editor, Late Night Editor and Assistant Editor. Prior to that he was Deputy Editor of the Evening Echo in Southend, Essex, and Editor of several weekly newspapers. He is married to a teacher and has two grown-up daughters.  Kevan was appointed to serve on The Press Council in May 2015. 

John J Lynch

 Dr Lynch, a former Executive Chairman of CIE Group, was appointed as an industry member of the Press Council in December 2016.