Unique Media has hired former Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell to act as an consultant to clients on Brexit-related and other political issues.
The Dublin-based public relations agency has also appointed Fine Gael media and campaigns manager Gillian Kavanagh to its expanded political and public affairs division, The Irish Times has learned.
The agency plans to focus on advising local and international companies, public bodies, and nongovernment organisations on how the institutions of the European Union work, while also offering guidance on how to prepare for a post-Brexit EU.
Mr Mitchell said Brexit presents an “unprecedented challenge” for both the EU and the UK.
“We in Ireland will have our own challenges arising from this, but we are well capable of meeting these,” he said. “In fact, if we prepare well, this could present the greatest opportunity for Ireland since independence.”
Founded in 2003, Unique is a full-service consultancy managed by cofounders Al Dunne and Breda Brown.
Mr Dunne said the appointments followed a "surge in requests" for public affairs services following the Brexit referendum result. He said they would enable Unique to offer "ethical and sound guidance" to clients on political and public affairs issues.
“Gay brings a wealth of European knowledge with him, which will be instrumental to indigenous and international companies, NGO’s and representative associations across a host of sectors in the coming months and years,” Mr Dunne said.
He added that Unique had previously worked with Mr Mitchell on his successful MEP election campaigns.
Mr Mitchell was first elected to public office at 27 and contested 15 local, national and European elections. During his 26 years in the Dáil, he served as minister for European affairs from 1994-1997.
He became an MEP for Dublin in 2004 and in the parliament until 2014, when he stood down voluntarily. He is a former lord mayor of Dublin and was Fine Gael’s candidate in the 2011 presidential election.
Since leaving the European Parliament, Mr Mitchell has completed research and studies, lectured at colleges and universities, spoken at business forums, and been a guest speaker and chair at a number of public events.
He is also a member of the European Task Force on Epilepsy and is part of a small panel of international advisers to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Ms Kavanagh is joining Unique as political and public affairs manager. She had responsibility for internal communication within Fine Gael.
Ms Kavanagh previously worked as a senior journalist with the Westmeath-Offaly Independent Newspaper Group, and for TV3 on its teletext news and information service.