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Press Council

Journalist and former NWCI chief Susan McKay appointed as Press Ombudsman

She is set to take up the office on 1 October.

JOURNALIST, AUTHOR and former head of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Susan McKay has been appointed as Ireland’s next Press Ombudsman.

She is set to take up the office, which seeks to resolve complaints from members of the public about publications, on 1 October, replacing incumbent Peter Feeney as he retires.

McKay said she is “thrilled” by the appointment and “particularly proud to be the first woman to take up this role”.

“In print and online, public interest journalism is experiencing profound challenges in this country,” McKay said in a statement.

“Our voluntary regulation system is internationally respected and I look forward to working both independently and with the Press Council to maintain and enhance that reputation.

“We need, and we have, superb journalists – people have a right to insist that our media uphold the highest standards.”

The Office of the Press Ombudsman receives complaints about publications or journalists and tries to resolve the matter through conciliation between the complainant and editor.

If conciliation is not possible, the Ombudsman examines the case and decides whether the Press Council Code of Practice was breached.

Additionally, the Press Council has named three new directors.

James Doorley, Secretary General of the Irish Chamber of Shipping, and Alan Dukes, former Fine Gael leader and government minister, have been appointed as independent public interest directors following an open competition.

Siobhán Cronin, Editor of the Southern Star, has been appointed as a press industry member.

Chair of the Press Council Rory Montgomery said that the Council is “delighted to welcome Susan McKay as the next Press Ombudsman”.

“She is an award-winning journalist and writer and has a deep knowledge and experience of many aspects of Irish life, and is known for her intellect, integrity and passion for justice. We look forward very much to working with her,” Montgomery said.

“I also pay tribute to the outgoing Ombudsman, Peter Feeney, whose excellent judgement and commitment to a free and ethical press have contributed to his outstanding performance in this sensitive role.”

He said the three new directors, who will take up their roles in September, will “bring strong and varied experience to the Press Council and help ensure that readers of the press and editors can be confident that the Press Council will continue to uphold the principles embodied in its Code of Practice and support the maintenance of a free and independent press, which is fundamental to our democracy and society”.

He said he is “deeply grateful” to outgoing directors Ruth Barrington, Patricia O’Donovan, and Ken Davis, “each of whom has played a vital role on the Council over six years of service”.

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