News & Events

Minister Pat Breen TD announces new appointments to the Board of the Health and Safety Authority

Chairperson designate: Mr Tom Coughlan was formerly Chief Executive of Clare County Council (2009-2016) and is a board member of the Shannon Group PLC. In accordance with the Programme for a Partnership Government, Mr. Coughlan is scheduled to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation prior to the confirmation of his appointment. This appearance will take place on Tuesday 11th April.

Ordinary Members: Three of the ordinary members who were recruited to the Board of the HSA via the Public Appointments Service (PAS) in 2014 have been re-appointed for a second three-year term. They have been joined by a new appointee, Ms Deirdre Cullivan. Ms Cullivan was recruited through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and is a science graduate with senior level experience in Human Resources Management in the Phamaceutical sector. She is currently a Board member with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.

Minister Breen said “It is nearly thirty years since the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 enabled the setting up of a dedicated State agency charged with a clear and undiluted responsibility for safety and health in all places or work.

The principle aims of the Health and Safety Authority are to ensure that workers in Ireland and people affected by work return home safely to their families and that everyone is protected from the harmful effects of chemicals. It has developed regulatory strategies marked by accessibility and clarity rather than detailed instruction. The statutory mandate of the Authority - spanning more than 200 Acts, Regulations and Conventions - has enabled it to rely on the motivation of workers to be engaged in monitoring health and safety as well as the recognition by employers that safety must be managed in the same way as productive efficiency.

I am confident that the knowledge and capability of the members of the Board that is now in place for the period 2017 to 2020 will ensure that the Authority continues to work with employers, employees, representative bodies, government departments and other agencies to implement its strategy across the range of its enforcement, legislation, policy-making, educational and communications activities” 

The full membership of the new Board is as follows:

Chairperson   Designate


Tom Coughlan

Former Chief Executive, Clare County Council (2009 -2016). Board member of the Shannon Group PLC.

Representing   Employers


Michael Gillen

Senior Executive with PharmaChemical Ireland (PCI): IBEC (reappointment)

Andrew Bowers

Director Operational Excellence, EMEA at Baxter Healthcare Corporation. IBEC (new appointment)

Dermot Carey

Head of Safety and Manpower Services at the Construction Industry Federation: CIF (new appointment)

Representing   Employees


Frank Vaughan

Director of Learning   at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.   ICTU (reappointment)

Christine Rowland

Independent Consultant, retired SIPTU official. ICTU (reappointment)

Pat Kenny

Trade Union Official, Communication Workers Union. ICTU   (reappointment)

Ministerial   Appointments


Carol Bolger

Former Head of Business Management, Ulster Bank (reappointment)

John McCartney

Director of Research at Chartered Surveyors Savills Ireland (reappointment)

Professor James Phelan

Former Dean of Agriculture & Head of the Department of Agribusiness, Extension and Rural Development, University College Dublin (reappointment)

Paul Cullen

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (reappointment)

Deirdre Cullivan

HR Consultant ( new appointment)


The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (section 37) provides that the Board of the Health and Safety Authority shall consist of 12 members: 11 ordinary members and a Chairperson.

The power to appoint the Board rests with the Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI), Mr Pat Breen TD.

The employer and employee representative organisations nominate 6 (3 each) of the members and the Minister nominates the Chairperson and 5 other members (including a representative of the Department).


DJEI Press Office: or (01) 631 2200