Minister announces new appointments to Arts Council

Jillian Van Turnhout, Melatu Uche Okorie and Claudine McMahon will join the council for five-year terms

Jillian van Turnhout: the former senator has been appointed to the Arts Council. Photograph: Eric Luke

Jillian van Turnhout: the former senator has been appointed to the Arts Council. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, today announced three new appointments to the Arts Council: Jillian Van Turnhout, Melatu Uche Okorie and Claudine McMahon.

Jillian van Turnhout is a well-known children’s rights advocate and currently sits on the board of One in Four Ireland, a charity supporting adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. She is a former chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance and a former independent senator – she served in the Seanad from 2011-2016. She has also worked in European affairs and is the current vice-chairperson of European Movement Ireland.

Melatu Uche Okorie is a creative writing workshop facilitator for children and young people and a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. She is also a current board member of the National Network of Migrant Women in Ireland. She spent eight years living in direct provision and has published a story collection based on this experience, This Hostel Life.

Claudine McMahon is a human resources professional, and is the head of talent and organisation development at Vodafone Ireland. She has previously held senior posts with Centric Health, the AIB Group and Walt Disney Studios.

Kevin Rafter, head of the school of communications at Dublin City University, joined the Arts Council as chairman in April this year. The arts agency received a 10 per cent increase in funding for 2019, with a total budget of €75 million. This is still 10 per cent less than its 2007 budget of €83 million, according to the Arts Matter report released in May.