Former diplomat appointed chair of the Press Council

Seán Donlon to replace Daithi O’ Ceallaigh as chair for three years

 Sean Donlon is best known for the role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Sean Donlon is best known for the role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Former diplomat Seán Donlon has been named as the new chair of the Press Council of Ireland.

Mr Donlon, pictured, was appointed following a public competition and will replace another former diplomat, Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh.

Mr Donlon is a former ambassador to the United States and former secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is best known for the role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process.

The appointment is for a period of three years and can be renewed for one additional term.

The role of the chair is to adjudicate on any appeals to the decisions made by Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney.

An average of approximately 20 judgments are appealed every year.

Mr Donlon said the council was important in maintaining the confidence of the public in the media. “It is important that the public have access to a means of having their complaints handled in an independent, open and fair means,” he added.

The press council appointed two independent members, Patricia O’Donovan and Dr Ruth Barrington.

Ms O’Donovan was formerly deputy general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions while Dr Barrington is a former chief executive of the Health Research Board.

Also appointed as an industry member of the council was Ken Davis, recently retired editor of the Meath Chronicle.