Former ambassador to chair press body


FORMER IRISH ambassador to the UK Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh has been appointed chairman of the Press Council.

Mr Ó Ceallaigh is a part-time director of the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.

He replaces former TCD provost Thomas Mitchell, who served as chairman since the council was established in 2007.

Mr Ó Ceallaigh praised the work of his predecessor. The level of “recognition and respect” the council had gained was a testament to Prof Mitchell’s “talent and diligence”, he said.

Mr Ó Ceallaigh was most recently Irish ambassador to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

He retired from the diplomatic service last year. He led an Irish team in Dublin which negotiated the international convention banning cluster munitions in 2008.

He was posted in Moscow, London, Belfast, New York, Finland and Estonia during some 35 years with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He served as Irish ambassador to London for six years and as ambassador to the UN, World Trade Organisation and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The Dún Laoghaire native and UCD graduate is married with two grown-up children. He is due to take up the three-year appointment on August 1st.

The 13-member Press Council takes decisions on cases of significance or complexity about the press referred to it by Press Ombudsman Prof John Horgan.

The public made more than 350 complaints to the Press Ombudsman last year, five of which were referred to the council.

Earlier this year the council was given statutory recognition under the Defamation Act. As a result, its reports and decisions have qualified privilege.