News & Events

Breege O’Donoghue announced as new Chair of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Chairperson appointed to lead drive to promote Ireland’s design and craft capability in international markets.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today announced the appointment of Breege O’Donoghue as the new Chair of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI). 

Breege O’Donoghue is currently a non-executive director of C&C and of Shaws and Sons Ltd. and has worked in the fashion and retail sector with Primark for over 37 years. She has also previously served on the Boards of the Irish Post Office and the National Airports Authority and was Chairperson of the Labour Relations Commission for 7 years. 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said:Breege O’Donoghue joins DCCoI at a pivotal time for the organisation which led and delivered the government-backed Irish Design 2015 initiative and has since consulted across the design sector in Ireland on the development of a national strategy for design. Our design and craft sector plays a vital role in our economy, providing quality sustainable jobs right across the regions. I am confident that Breege’s experience of doing business internationally, across a number of sectors will be instrumental in strategically developing DCCoI and the sector it represents, boosting Ireland’s international creative brand for innovative design and craft.” 

Last year saw DCCoI convene Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. The year-long programme of activity in Ireland and internationally showcased the wealth of design and creative talent in Ireland and encouraged investment in design and design thinking in order to increase exports and generate additional employment. A number of legacy activities and initiatives have been developed during 2016 to build on the success of ID2015. 

Commenting on her appointment, Ms. O’Donoghue said: “I have been impressed by the significant achievements of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in strategically developing the design and craft industry as an innovative, dynamic and vibrant sector. I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and the talented team at DCCoI in ensuring that the contribution of the design and craft sector to Ireland’s economy and culture is recognised, valued and supported.” 

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland said: “I warmly welcome the appointment of Breege O’Donoghue as Chair of our organisation and look forward to working with her on the strategic development of Ireland’s design and craft sector. Breege’s experience in international markets in particular will be invaluable as we chart our course for the coming year in order reap the benefits of ID2015 and ensure the necessary supports are in place to maintain momentum and exploit opportunities to grow the sector. Key priorities going forward will including developing export markets for DCCoI client companies, addressing the impacts of Brexit as they unfold and working with partner organisations and government in encouraging the strategic use of design for the benefit of society and our economy as a whole.” 


For further information, please contact: 

Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or 

Susan Brindley,

Head of Public Affairs & Communications, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. Tel: +353 56 7796152      


About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients. In collaboration with partner organisations, DCCoI convened Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland. ID2015, which emerged as an idea from the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2013, was a year-long programme exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design through signature events on the island of Ireland as well as in prestigious partner venues in international capitals of design and commerce throughout 2015. 

About Breege O’Donoghue  

Breege is currently a Non-Executive Director, Member of the Nominations Committee and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at C&C Group plc. as well as a Non-Executive Director of Shaws and Sons Limited.

Breege was a Board Member at Primark since 1988, with an extremely successful track record across many functions. Until recently, she was Group Director, for Business Development & New Markets, guiding Primark through a significant period of growth and expansion and was instrumental in Primark’s entry into the US market.

Breege has held government appointed positions on the board of a number of state companies including An Post, Aer Rianta, and the Labour Relations Commission. She was a Trustee and Member of the National Executive of IBEC and was the first Chairperson of Retail Ireland, a specialised retail structure within IBEC. Breege also has 17 years of experience within the hospitality and tourism industry and was a Board Member and subsequently Chairperson of the Shannon College of Hotel Management.

Breege has won a number of awards for her achievements, including the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year, and an award as ‘Iconic Businesswomen of the Decade’ at the WOMEN ECONOMIC FORUM in May 2016. Breege holds an honoris causa Doctorate from DIT as well as the award of Knight (Chevalier) of The Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur by President François Hollande.