News & Events

Announcement of new Chief Executive Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, today announced the outcome of the competitive process to fill the position of Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The announcement follows a Public Appointments Service selection processes conducted over recent months.

The Ministers wish to congratulate Mr Liam Kelly, currently Acting Director General in the Workplace Relations Commission on his selection to fill the permanent position of Director General.

Minister Humphreys said: “I would like to take this opportunity to wish Liam Kelly every success in his new role. Liam has been with the WRC since its establishment and I know he will continue to make a significant contribution in the years ahead to ensuring our industrial relations machinery operates effectively and that the broad spectrum of our employment and equality rights are fully respected”.

Minister Breen said “As Minister with responsibility for the WRC, I am acutely aware of the critical role it plays in promoting harmonious industrial relations and in protecting workers’ rights. I look forward to working closely with Liam who, I am confident, will provide the leadership and vision required to ensure that the WRC continues to successfully deliver on its very challenging mandate.”


For further information:
Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation 01- 6312200 or

Note for editors:
Liam Kelly is currently acting Director General in the Workplace Relations Commission having previously served as Chief Operations Officer since its establishment in 2015.

Workplace Relations Commission:
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established in 2015 to deliver a modern, user-friendly and world-class workplace relations system in Ireland.

The Commission activities are primarily concerned both with facilitating and assisting workplace change and creating an environment of equity and fairness in employment. The specialist services of the Commission play a vital role in contributing towards industrial peace, maintaining and sustaining enterprise productivity through engaging with employers and trade unions on issues of employee pay and rewards, and promoting orderly collective bargaining in the private sector. Securing fair, impartial and effective employment rights adjudication services and appropriate and essential employment standards and enforcement are vital and important components of the strategic operations of the Commission.

The Commission has a broad range of functions including industrial relations advisory and conciliation services and the resolution of industrial relations disputes of interest between employers and workers across the public and private sectors. It provides a comprehensive early resolution, mediation and adjudication services in relation to the full spectrum of employment rights and equality cases. It carries out workplace inspections to ensure the employment rights of workers and responsibilities of employers are respected and it has an enforcement function in relation to breaches of employment legislation.

Legislative Provisions for the appointment of the Director General:
Section 12 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 provides that the Minister shall appoint the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission from among persons nominated by the Public Appointments Service following a competition held in accordance with the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

Role of the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission:
The responsibilities of the Director General include:

  • Advising the Board of the WRC in relation to the development of the medium-term Strategy of the Commission and driving the achievement of strategic goals through annual Work Programmes;
  • Managing the delivery across the State of the highest quality early resolution, mediation and adjudication services in relation to complaints presented and disputes referred to the Director General;
  • Ensuring effective inspection and enforcement activity across the State results in enhanced employment rights protection of workers and assists employers in meeting their responsibilities;
  • Ensuring the delivery of quality service to WRC customers across all activities of the WRC.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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