News & Events

Minister Bruton appoints Professor Peter Clinch as new Chair of National Competitiveness Council

Prof Clinch to bring new focus on productivity as well as competitiveness and to propose solutions to specific competitiveness issues that impact on business

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton today (Monday) announced the appointment of Professor Peter Clinch as the new Chair of the National Competitiveness Council.

Professor Clinch, who has been a member of the Council since 2013, replaces Dr Don Thornhill upon the completion of his term of office as Chair of the Council.

Minister Bruton has appointed Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, to the Council to fill the vacant position created by Dr Thornhill’s retirement.

Minister Bruton has also appointed Micheál Collins (Senior Research Officer, Nevin Economic Research Institute) and Kevin Callinan (Deputy General Secretary, IMPACT) as nominees of ICTU to replace two previous nominees of Congress whose terms have come to an end (Paul Sweeney and Shay Cody).

In 2013 Minister Bruton reconfigured the structure and mandate of the NCC to include the six private sector Industry Partners, and also to give it a more central role in developing and implementing Action Plan for Jobs measures on competitiveness.

Speaking today as he made the announcement, Minister Bruton said:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Clinch as Chair of the National Competitiveness Council. Improving Ireland’s competitiveness is a key objective of the Action Plan for Jobs, and in the years since we started implementing the Plan our international rankings have improved significantly, going from 24th in 2011 to 14th in 2014. However if we are to create the numbers of jobs we need, we must do more. That is why we have put in place a range of measures to improve our competitiveness, including strengthening the National Competitiveness Council and giving it a central role in reporting to Government on a quarterly basis on competitiveness challenges.

“Professor Clinch is a highly regarded economist with both national and international experience in providing economic analysis and policy advice to a wide range of bodies. We have discussed ways in which, as Chair, he can add to the work of the NCC by providing advice on productivity issues as well as competitiveness issues. Under his leadership, the NCC will also analyse in detail specific issues affecting business, and provide concrete recommendations on ways in which Government can deliver improvements.

“I am also delighted that Martin Shanahan has agreed to join the NCC. As CEO of IDA Ireland he has unparalleled insights to bring to the Council on the issues impacting on decisions of multinationals who are so crucial to our employment base.

“At this time I wish to pay tribute to Dr Don Thornhill upon his retirement as Chair of the Council. During his ten years as Chair he has provided tireless service, and I wish to thank him for his sterling efforts”.

Professor Clinch said: “Ireland's ability to create well paid jobs, grow the economy and pay for social services like health and education depends upon having a competitive economy and increasing productivity - the value of what we do in each hour we work. It is a great honour to be asked to Chair the NCC and I look forward to working with Minister Bruton and his team and my colleagues on the NCC to find ways to secure, and build on, the competitive gains of the last years and to grow employment even further”.

For more information:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, 01 6312200,


Prof Clinch holds the Jean Monnet Chair of European Economic Integration and is also UCD Professor of Public Policy. He holds BA, MA and PhD degrees in economics, a Diploma in Environmental Impact Assessment and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School. He is the author of over 100 publications including books, book chapters, international journal articles and conference proceedings and close to 100 conference papers and other publications. He has held Visiting Positions or has been an invited speaker at, inter alia, the University of California Berkeley and San Diego, University of Southern California, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has advised or worked on behalf of, inter alia, the World Bank, OECD, and several national governments.