Members of the Press Council

The Press Council of Ireland 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 Deputy Chairman is Mr Brendan Butler. 

.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.

Brendan Butler

Brendan Butler was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member for a three year term in June 2014 and appointed Deputy Chair of the Council in 2017. He is also Chairman of its Administrative Committee.

Over a 40 year career Brendan completed 25 years with the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) having previously worked in the public sector for 15 years.   Currently, Chairman Turas Nua Treasurer and Director of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA). Previously Chairman of Startup Ireland and a member of the National Competitiveness Council, NESC, NESF, North South Roundtable Group, Forum on Europe and also represented IBEC at Business Europe, ILO, IOE and BIAC.

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. 

Maeve Conrick 

Maeve Conrick is Professor Emeritus and former Principal of the College of Arts and Humanities at University College Dublin (UCD). She pursued postgraduate education at the Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland (Swiss Government Scholarship) and received her doctorate in General and Applied Linguistics from Aix-Marseille Université, France, having been awarded a NUI Travelling Studentship in French. She has published widely in the areas of Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics. In 2012 the NUI awarded her the degree of Doctor of Literature (DLitt), a higher doctorate on published work. Career distinctions include an appointment as Specialist Advisor to a UK House of Commons Committee and the Prix du Québec awarded by the Government of Québec. In 2017, Professor Conrick was the first Irish academic to receive the honour of the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies, for her outstanding contribution to scholarship and the development of Canadian Studies internationally.  

Previously Professor Conrick was a Member and Deputy Chair of the Higher Education Authority (HEA). She is currently a Board Member of the National Library of Ireland (NLI), a Trustee of the Ireland-Canada University Foundation (ICUF) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of University Professors and Heads of French (AUPHF) in the UK and Ireland.

Sunniva McDonagh

Sunniva McDonagh is a Senior Counsel specialising in administrative law and fundamental rights.   She is chairperson of a Mental Health Tribunal established under the Mental Health Acts 2001 - 2018 and is a former member of  the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.  She was appointed Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in 2014 and  was nominated as an Alternative Member for Ireland to the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union in 2016.  Sunniva was appointed to the Press Council in October 2019.

Denise Charlton

Denise Charlton was appointed to the Press Council as an independent member 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

Catherine Lee 

Catherine Lee is the Managing Editor of the RTÉ Guide, which is the largest-selling magazine in Ireland. A former Magazine’s Ireland Editor of the Year (2014) she’s a graduate of UCD, who started her journalism career in radio and newspapers, before moving to the RTÉ Guide as a features writer. She has worked at all editorial levels in the magazine and is a former branch secretary of the NUJ (RTÉ).  She became Editor in 2012 and Managing Editor in 2018. Catherine was also instrumental in setting up the Editors’ Forum in Magazine Ireland, a forum formed to serve the needs of editors who have decision making authority, it also helps to mentor and support journalists who aspire to take on more senior editorial roles.  Ms Lee was appointed to the Council in May 2018. 

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. 

Samantha McCaughren

 Samantha McCaughren has been business editor of the Sunday Independent since September 2016, responsible for driving the business coverage of Ireland’s biggest selling newspaper. An award-winning journalist, she was a business correspondent and columnist with the Sunday Times for several years . Prior to that she was chief business correspondent with the Sunday Business Post. Previous roles include media editor and  acting deputy business editor with the Irish Independent. Samantha is a regular contributor to both radio and television programmes and presenter of Independent News and Media’s Women in Business podcast. She holds a Masters in Journalism from DCU and an honours degree in English and sociology from Trinity CollegeDr Lynch, a former Executive Chairman of CIE Group, was appointed as an industry member of the Press Council in December 2016.

Ruadhan MacCormaic  

Ruadhan MacCormaic is Foreign Affairs Correspondent with the Irish Times. Previous he was Legal Affairs Correspondent and Paris Correspondent. He is the author of a book on the Supreme Court (2016). He was educated at Trinity College Dublin (History and Politics) and Cambridge University (Modern European History).  Ruadhan was appointed to the Press Council in May 2017. 


Frank Fitzgibbon 

Frank Fitzgibbon is editor of The Sunday Times, Ireland edition, since late 2005 having held post of business editor since 2002. Frank launched The Sunday Business Post in 1989 having begun his career as financial journalist in 1980 and presenting/reporting on current affairs for RTE TV.  He worked for various media companies and media start-ups throughout 1990s.  Frank was appointed to the Press Council in June 2018. 

Siobhan Holliman 

Siobhán Holliman is an experienced journalist who has been working in the industry since the mid 1990s, initially in broadcasting, where she worked in Mid-West Radio and she then spent five years at Galway Bay FM in the newsroom and in current affairs. 

For the past 16 years she has worked in The Tuam Herald, one of the oldest independently-owned newspapers in the country, during which time she has won several awards for her work. She was appointed Deputy Editor at the paper in 2013. 

Siobhán holds a BA in Media Studies from the University of Ulster at Coleraine and a HD in Applied Communications from NUI Galway.
A former lecturer on the Communications course at NUI Galway, Siobhán is a member of Editorial Advisory Board at NUI Galway. 

Siobhan has been a member of the NUJ throughout her journalism career and has a long trade union record of involvement at chapel, branch and national level. She is Leas Cathaoirleach of the Irish Executive Council and has a keen interest in professional issues.
Siobhan was appointed to the Press Council in October 2019.