Galway 2020 announces new board appointments, and launches second Open Call for board positions (Cultural Skills)

> Joan Higgins

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Board Appointments

Galway 2020 today announces the appointment of four new Directors to the Board following a rigorous Board selection process:  Maire Geoghegan Quinn, Caroline Loughnane, Christopher Greene, and Enda Newton.  The four new appointees were selected on the basis of their respective skill sets in order to add value, and augment the existing Board to ensure the successful delivery of the European Capital of Culture for Galway in 2020.


Máire Geoghegan Quinn is a Galway native, a former TD, Government Minister holding several different portfolios during her career, including Minister for Justice, and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Communications, and Minster for the Gaeltacht, among others. She was appointed European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science in 2010, and played a major role in the development of the Horizon 2020 research programme.  She was also a member of the European Court of Auditors.  Her wealth of experience and knowledge gained working within the European Union will bring a vital perspective to the Board, charged with delivering a project with such a strong European dimension.


Enda Newton is a practising solicitor and a Corporate Partner at AMOSS solicitors, one of Ireland’s leading law firms.  A Roscommon native and graduate of NUIG, Enda specialises in corporate law and governance, and previously worked as a senior lawyer in the Department of Finance.  He is also currently Chairman of the Irish chapter of the British and Irish Trading Alliance.
As a non-executive director, and Audit Committee member of the Investor Compensation Company DAC, Enda brings significant experience to the Galway 2020 Board in the areas of audit, legal, governance and risk management.


Caroline Loughnane is a senior university leader with extensive marketing, branding and communications experience.  She currently holds the post of Academic Secretary of NUI Galway, and was previously the University’s Director of Marketing and Communications from 2008 to 2014.  In addition to her marketing and communications skills, Caroline’s current role involves strategic management, policy formulation, financial management and risk.  She also has strong experience of governance and partnership building, having served on a number of Boards, including Abbey Theatre Project Board (overseeing project to digitise the Abbey Archive).


Christopher Greene is a native of Connemara, a passionate advocate for the Irish language, and works as a broadcaster and entertainer.  He currently co-hosts the award winning ‘Chris and Ciara’ show on 2FM, and also co-produces TV and video content with Peter Ganley as one half of Galway based production company Final Boss Media, with strong online focus, including Craic Addicts for Channel 4’s 4oD player, which was cited by industry magazine Broadcast Now as one of the successes of the new online miniseries round of commissioning.  He has also produced work for RTE’s Republic of Telly, as well as working on many corporate projects.  Chris’s  strong background in broadcasting and digital communications will bring a very important perspective to the Board, particularly in achieving Galway 2020’s aim to be the first truly digital European Capital of Culture.


This most recent round of appointments brings the number of Directors to 12, with the four new appointees joining Aideen McGinley (Chairperson), Cllr Pearce Flannery, Cllr Eileen Mannion, Declan McGonagle, Brendan McGrath, Kevin Kelly, Claire McColgan and Catherine Cullen.
Welcoming the new appointments, Chairperson Aideen McGinley said  “I’m delighted to welcome Máire, Caroline, Enda and Chris to the Board of Galway 2020.  It is critical to the success of the project that we bring not just the right individual skill sets to the table, but more importantly the best overall mix of skills and individuals to complement each other, and our new Board members bring an impressive range of skills and experience that will be invaluable in building a cohesive and effective board.”

Acknowledging the strength and quality of the Board appointments to date, Ms McGinley said that “a strong presence and perspective from the Cultural Sector is an absolutely essential component of the Board”.


To this end, the company has today launched a second Open Call for expressions of interest in Board positions, with a particular focus on applicants with a strong background in Culture and related skill sets.   It is expected that two appointments will be made from this process.
The call seeks individuals with skills and experience in Culture having regard also to gender, diversity, and age balance.

The broad definition of culture is being used which includes:

landscape; the natural and built environment; material culture; cultural heritage; documentary

and archival heritage; architecture; music; dance; design; cultural infrastructure; language;

history; folklore; all artistic expression; sport; craft; food; traditions; traditional skills, memory;

beliefs and values.

Full details of the call and application process are available below and the closing date for applications is 4:00pm on Monday 4th September.


Galway Cultural Development and Activity Company Limited by Guarantee
Open Call No. 2 for Expressions of Interest in Board of Directors Membership from the Cultural Sector

An Exciting Opportunity to Shape & Guide Galway’s
European Capital of Culture Designation


Closing Date – Monday 4th September at 4:00pm


Location:                              Board meetings will usually be held in Galway City & County (although participation in Board meetings by video/tele conferencing is possible).

Remuneration:                     Non-remunerated.

Travel and Subsistence is payable at appropriate public sector rates.


Time Requirements:           Approx 8 Board meetings (half-day each) per annum with time required for preparatory reading, and possible additional time commitments depending on membership of sub-committees.  Board members will be asked to attend a full-day induction which will be combined with a board meeting, and may be asked to represent the Board on certain occasions, depending on their availability and interests.


Term:                                   The term of the Board is expected to finish in March 2021.  There will also be an annual review of Board performance.





As part of Galway’s successful bid to become European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2020, a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital was incorporated under the Companies Act 2014 with the title – Galway Cultural Development and Activity Company Limited by Guarantee (hereafter referred to as the Company).

It is registered in the Companies office – Registration Number 576394. The Company will be the legal structure used to undertake all Galway 2020 activities from now until delivery of the 2020 ECOC.  The Trading Name Galway 2020 has been formally registered.

It is a not-for-profit company with a membership of not less than seven Members and a Board of Directors of not more than 15 Directors.

The company’s intention is to provide a governance and management structure that is:

  • an example of best practice of governance
  • not for profit
  • truly representative of wide interests
  • robust and legally coherent
  • straightforward, transparent and effective
  • independent of political and other influences
  • acceptable to all stakeholders and the ECOC
  • accountable at every level


The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
  • Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities


In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is an excellent opportunity for:

  • Regenerating cities and their surrounding areas
  • Raising the international profile of cities and regions;
  • Enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants
  • Breathing new life into a city’s culture
  • Boosting tourism


Please refer to Galway 2020’s bid book ‘Making Waves’ (http://galway2020.ie/en/about/galway-2020-bid-book/) for more information on the Galway 2020 programme and delivery strategy, and to the European Commission’s ECOC website (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/actions/capitals-culture_en), for full and detailed information on ECOC initiative itself.


About the Second Call for Expressions of Interest


The first open call for expressions of interest in Board membership was launched in March 2017 and it is expected that a number of Directors will shortly be appointed from this first call with skill sets in the areas of Law, Governance, Audit, Marketing & Communications, Broadcasting, Digital and Language.

In order to ensure that there is an appropriate balance of skills on the Board, and in particular, to ensure that there is a strong presence and perspective from the Cultural Sector, the Company has launched this second call for expressions of interest.  It is envisaged that 2 Board positions will be filled from this second call.

Functions of the Board & Duties of Directors


The Board is responsible for the strategic direction and control of the company. It is responsible for the system of internal financial control and oversight responsibility for the activities of the organisation. The Board delegates to the management and sub-committees the responsibility for the implementation of these policies.  Members of the Board will be expected to play key roles in relation to the direction, leadership and corporate governance of the organisation.

Directors have legal duties and obligations imposed by the Companies Act 2014, other statutes and common law.  Directors must act in good faith, act honestly and responsibly and act according to the company’s constitution.

Directors will be required to contribute effectively to the work of the Board. This will involve the ability to balance a strategic view of key decisions with a specialist or expert perspective, while being committed to the principle of collective decision making that underpins the Board’s role.

The Board of Directors will be responsible for:


  • the employment of senior executives to the company;
  • establishing, and ensuring the implementation of, strategic policy objectives based upon the programme and financial projections contained in the bid book;
  • ensuring the highest standards of governance and transparency;
  • sub-committees/working groups (see below) to ensure that the Company has access to the broadest range of specialist expertise and advice in all aspects of its work and delegating to the sub-committees such decision making powers as are considered effective and prudent;
  • accounting fully for its activities at the end of Galway 2020 and in particular providing

leadership and continuity towards maximising the legacy benefits of the ECOC.


Please note that the Company’s Memorandum of Association clearly states that No Director shall be appointed to any office of the Company paid by salary or fees, or receive any remuneration or other benefit in money or money’s worth from the Company.

A detailed Code of Governance for the company is currently being prepared, and Board Induction training will also be provided for all Directors.

Current Board Composition

As set out in ‘Making Waves’, in order to ensure appropriate connection between Galway 2020 and Galway City and County Councils, the Chief Executives of both Councils will each have the power to appoint one Director of the company.
Furthermore, the intention was also set out in ‘Making Waves’ to appoint two European Directors with experience in previous European Capitals of Culture.
In line with the recommendation from the ECOC Selection Panel, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Rural, Regional and Gaeltacht Affairs was also invited to provide a nominee for Board membership.
In addition, there will be one appointee invited from among the elected membership of each local authority- the sitting Mayor of Galway City Council & sitting Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council –  to ensure a connection with the democratically elected Council members.

Board appointments to date are as follows:

Name Position Type
Aideen McGinley Chairperson
Catherine Cullen Board Member (European)
Kevin Kelly Board Member (Local Authority)
Claire McColgan Board Member (European)
Declan McGonagle Board Member (Minister’s Nominee)
Brendan McGrath Board Member (Local Authority)
Cllr Pearse Flannery Board Member (City Mayor)
Cllr Eileen Mannion Board Member (County Cathaoirleach)
Máire Geoghegan Quinn Board Member
Caroline Loughnane Board Member
Enda Newton Board Member
Christopher Greene Board Member

Additional Board Appointments

As noted above, a number of new appointments have recently been made.  In order to ensure that there is a strong presence and perspective from the Cultural Sector, the company wishes to invite expressions of interest in Board membership from individuals who feel their skills and experience in this area would enhance the Board.

The specifications, and relevant areas of expertise which are required from this current call are set out below.

Person Specification


This Call seeks individuals with skills and experience in Culture* having regard also to gender, diversity, and age balance.

*We are using the definition of Culture, as defined in the Galway City Cultural Sustainability Strategy Framework which includes the following:
Landscape; the natural and built environment; material culture; cultural heritage; documentary

and archival heritage; architecture; music; dance; design; cultural infrastructure; language;

history; folklore; all artistic expression; sport; craft; food; traditions; traditional skills, memory;

beliefs and values.

Furthermore, the following qualities and competencies would be advantageous:

1. Experience, and proven track record – in addition to any discipline skills – of strategic thinking and planning.

  1. Evidence of, and commitment to, collaborative and interdisciplinary working both at discipline and strategic levels.


Board appointments will be skills & experience based, and should the open call process not yield candidates with the required skills and experience, the company reserves the right to make direct appointments of suitable individuals.

Board membership will be drawn from across the city, county and all Ireland, although a connection to Galway would be an advantage.



How to Apply:


Applications are to be made by submitting a written application of no more than 3 pages in total, which includes a summary of your experience, and a cover letter which clearly specifies how your particular background and experience meets the requirements of the Company as detailed above, and why you are interested in the position.

Please include the names and contact details of two people who can be contacted to provide a reference as to your suitability for the position.  Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Applications are to be sent by email to board@galway2020.ie by 4:00pm on Monday 4th September.  Enquiries may be made to the same email address.


Selection Process:


All applications received will be reviewed and may be shortlisted.  References of candidate may be checked as required.  Submissions will be considered by the Board’s Selection and Appointments Committee.




Applications will be treated in strict confidence. All enquires, applications and all aspects of the proceedings are treated as strictly confidential and are not disclosed to anyone, outside those directly involved in that aspect of the process.


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