Appointment of new Chair to Press Council of Ireland

By admin
Tuesday, 30th August 2016
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Seán Donlon appointed new Chair of the Press Council

Seán Donlon is the new Chair of the Press Council of Ireland.  Following a public competition, the Press Council of Ireland announced today that Seán Donlon is to take up office as the new Chair of the Press Council on 1 September 2016.  The outgoing Chair, Daithi O Ceallaigh, having served two full terms (the maximum allowed for the chair), retires on 31 August.

Mr. Donlon has had a distinguished career in the public and private sectors over the past 55 years. His public sector career was mainly in the Department of Foreign Affairs and posts held included Ambassador to the US and Secretary General of the Department. He was also Special Adviser to the Taoiseach, John Bruton. In the private sector he was Executive Vice President of the aviation company GPA and was a non-executive director of companies in the insurance and aviation financing sectors. He was Chancellor of the University of Limerick from 2002 to 2008 and most recently represented Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania and Kosovo as an Executive Director on the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

The appointment is for a period of three years and can be renewed for one additional term.

The outgoing Chair Daithí O Ceallaigh said that "the Press Council is very fortunate to have as its new Chair Seán Donlon.  He brings a wealth of experience and judgment to his new role.  He is widely recognised as having contributed hugely to the Northern Irish Peace Process. I am very confident that the good reputation of impartiality and fairness which the Press Council has established over the last nine years will be enhanced under Seán Donlon's guidance".

Mr Donlon said that a "diverse and accurate press remains a cornerstone of any democracy and that if confidence is to be maintained in the press it is important that the public have access to a means of having their complaints handled in an independent, open and fair means".

The Press Council also announced following public competition the appointment of two independent members of the Press Council, Patricia O'Donovan and Dr Ruth Barrington.  Patricia O'Donovan was formerly Deputy General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Director of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, Ruth Barrington was formerly Chief Executive of the Health Research Board and a board member of VHI Healthcare.

Also appointed as an industry member of the Press Council is Ken Davis, recently retired editor of the Meath Chronicle.

The Press Council consists of 13 members.  Seven, including the Chair, are independent members, the remaining 6 are industry members.