Two Chairs of Citizens Assemblies 2022

Taoiseach appoints Jim Gavin, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin as chairs of two Citizens' assemblies; DCU's Prof. Deiric O'Broin, Prof. Jane Suitor to participate in Advisory Group along with other academics

The Taoiseach, Michéal Martin, announced on Thursday 24 March the appointment of UCD Academic, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, and former Dublin Football Manager, Jim Gavin, as the respective Chairs of the upcoming Citizens’ Assemblies on Biodiversity Loss and on a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin.

Dr Ní Shúilleabháin and Mr Gavin will oversee the work of the two Assemblies that are due to begin with an introductory meeting in Dublin Castle on Saturday 9 April.

Dr Ní Shúilleabháin is a leading academic with a passion for communicating science to the general public. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics in University College Dublin, where her scholarship focusses on making STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) more accessible and exciting to a wider audience. She has extensive experience as a science communicator across print, broadcast and online media.

As Chair of the Biodiversity Citizens’ Assembly Dr Ní Shúilleabháin will help the Assembly make recommendations on how the State should respond to the crisis of biodiversity loss.

Mr Gavin is one of Ireland’s most successful GAA football managers. He managed the Dublin Men’s Senior Football Team that won six All-Ireland Championships – including five-in-a-row – between 2013-2019. He also played on the Dublin All-Ireland winning team in 1995. The record breaking manager was bestowed an honorary doctorate by Dublin City University in 2019. He is currently the Director of People and Operations for the Aviation Regulator, Irish Aviation Authority, and is a former commissioned officer and military pilot with over 20 years’ service in Oglaigh na hÉireann.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Ní Shúilleabháin said: “It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to Chair the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, and I would like to thank the Taoiseach for appointing me to the role. Biodiversity loss, its causes, and what we can do to address it is one of the most important and defining issues of our time. I look forward to starting work with the members of the Assembly and identifying what practical solutions we can find to this challenge.”

In his reaction, Jim Gavin commented: “As a proud Dubliner it was a privilege to be asked to Chair the upcoming Dublin Assembly, and I want to thank the Taoiseach for the invitation to do so. This is a great City and County, renowned across the world for its history, its culture, its dynamism, and most importantly its people. I want to work with the members of the Assembly towards creating a vision for how the City and County should be managed and governed to make it an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and to visit and enjoy. Chíonn beirt rud nach bhfeiceann duine amháin.”

DCU School of Law and Government's Prof. Deiric O'Broin and School of Communications' Prof. Jane Suitor, along with University College Cork's Dr. Aodh Quinlivan and University of Limerick's former lecturer Prof. Brid Quinn will join the Advisory Group of the Citizens' Assemblies.