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Jim Gavin and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin will chair new Citizens' Assemblies

The Taoiseach announced the high-profile appointments today.

Jim Gavin and Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin will chair two new Citizens' Assemblies.
Jim Gavin and Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin will chair two new Citizens' Assemblies.
Image: Naoise Culhane

ACADEMIC DR AOIBHINN Ní Shúilleabháin and former Dublin GAA football manager Jim Gavin have been named as the Chairs of upcoming Citizens’ Assemblies.

Gavin will oversee an assembly to examine whether Dublin should have a directly elected mayor while Dr Ní Shúilleabháin will oversee the work of an assembly on biodiversity loss.

The appointments were announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin today.

“I would like to thank Aoibhinn and Jim for accepting the invitation to Chair these two Assemblies. 

“The topics of Biodiversity Loss and a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin are two important issues that impact people and communities throughout Ireland.

“These are challenging subjects, but we are fortunate to have two expert Chairs who will bring particular knowledge, expertise and passion to these topics,” Martin said.

Dr Ní Shúilleabháin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics in University College Dublin, where her scholarship focuses on making science more accessible to a wider audience.

She has extensive experience as a science communicator in the media.

As Chair of the Biodiversity assembly Dr Ní Shúilleabháin will help it make recommendations on how the State should respond to biodiversity loss.

“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,” Dr Ní Shúilleabháin said.

Jim Gavin managed the Dublin senior intercounty 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.

“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,” Gavin said.

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Gavin is currently the Director of People and Operations for the Irish Aviation Authority. He is a former commissioned officer and military pilot with over 20 years’ service in the Defence Forces.

The appointments come after 34,000 invitations were issued to randomly selected households around the country to participate in the two upcoming Assemblies.

Over 3,700 responses were received by the 14 March closing date.

Following a further random selection of citizens who applied, the assembly has now reached a representative membership of Irish society, based on gender, age and location.

Letters of confirmation are being sent to 99 Irish citizens, 67 citizens of Dublin and 12 councillors ahead of the 9 April meeting.

Both of the assemblies are due to complete their work by the end of the year.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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