Board of Governors and Guardians
The Board comprises up to seventeen members, of which ten are appointed by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, five are ex-officio holders of the offices listed below, and two are nominated and appointed by the Royal Hibernian Academy pursuant to a power bestowed on them in the 1854 Act. Members appointed by the Minister serve terms of five years. Ex-officio members serve terms of varying duration depending on the constitution of their organisation.
Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) | President
Royal Dublin Society (RDS) | President and Vice President
Royal Irish Academy (RIA) | President
Office of Public Works (OPW) | Chairman
Bernie Brennan | Bernie Brennan, President Royal Dublin Society, ex-officio.
Maurice Buckley | Former chief executive of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). Masters of electrical engineering (UCD) and an MBA in INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France). Previous experience in technical and management roles for Boston Consulting.
Lynda Carroll | Head of Capital Allocations and Risk Based Pricing at Allied Irish Banks plc, with over 30 years’ experience in financial services at Board and Senior Executive level in the private and public sector. MA, FCA, CTA, Dip IFRS, Dip Corporate Governance; Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor. Experience in voluntary Board roles in not-for-profit organisations in the Equality, Social Housing and Enterprise / Employment generation sectors.
Michael Cush (Chairman) | Barrister and member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
James English | Member of the RHA. Painter. Treasurer of the RHA, 2005 to 2010 and 2013 to 2017. Member of the RHA School Board. Member of the RHA Programme Board.
Jacqueline Hall | Principal of Partners in Communication, a consultancy specialising in Corporate Communications, Public and Regulatory Affairs. Over 30 years’ experience with Irish and multinational organisations across a range of sectors. President of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (2014-2016), member of the Council of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce (2000-2012), member of the Boards of Ervia, Irish Water, the Rehab Foundation and Fighting Blindness. B.A. in History of Art and History (U.C.D), a Graduateship in Marketing (M.I.I) and a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Governance (Michael Smurfit School of Business).
Gary Jermyn | Fellow of the Chartered Accountants in Ireland, poet and performer.
Mary Keane (Vice-Chairperson) | Deputy Director General and Director of Policy & Public Affairs with the Law Society of Ireland. Director of Irish Rule of Law International, a registered charity that promotes the rule of law in developing countries. Qualified Barrister-at-Law.
Professor Owen Lewis | Vice President of the RDS. Emeritus Professor of Architectural Science, UCD Dublin. Chair of the Irish Green Building Council. Non-executive director of the Marine Institute, Grangegorman Development Agency and Tipperary Energy Agency. Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) (2009-2012). Part-time Executive Director for Innovation and R&D at Bord na Móna (2006-2008). Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Architecture UCD Dublin and later Principal of the UCD College of Engineering, Mathematical & Physical Sciences (2001-2006).
Professor Michael Peter Kennedy | President of the Royal irish Academy (RIA). Professor of Microelectronic Engineering at University College Cork (UCC). Chair of UCC’s Department of Microelectronic Engineering. Previous experience as a consultant for SMEs and multinationals in the microelectronics industry and founding Director of the Microelectronics Industry Design Association (MIDAS Ireland) and the Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI). Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering (2014). Member of Academia Europaea (2015 to date). RIA Policy and International Relations Secretary (2012 to 2016).
Abigail O'Brien | President of the RHA, Contemporary Artist. O’Brien’s work employs many media including photography, sculpture, video, sound and hand-made embroidered objects and explores themes such as ritual, rites of passage and the domestic realm. Currently working on The Cardinal Virtues, Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence and Justice. Featured in private and public collections including, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, The Caldic Collection, Rotterdam, The Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, The Gemeentmuseum, The Netherlands and Centro National des Artes, Mexico. MA Fine Art Painting from The National College of Art and Design, Dublin (1998); born in 1957. President of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, the first female president of the RHA in almost 200 years. Secretary of the RHA from 2012 until 2017, the first female artist to hold this position. O'Brien's work has been supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland. Lives and works in Ireland.
Ann Prendergast | Investment manager with State Street Global Advisors, a leading investment manager providing investment solutions to institutional clients including pension funds, charities, insurance companies and corporates, with responsibility for the sales and marketing activities in Ireland. Over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, including in asset management, marketing, risk and compliance and business strategy.
Una Sealy | Artist, lecturer and tutor. Member and Secretary of the RHA. Work featured in private and public collections including The Haverty Trust, Fingal County Council, Boyle Civic Collection, Little Museum of Dublin, Office of Public Works, Commission for Energy Regulation, National Self Portrait Collection and Great Book of Ireland.
Lesley Tully | Head of Design Thinking, Bank of Ireland. Over 15 years’ experience for a range of private and public sector clients and startups including Advanced Organisation, Armory Show, Coillte, Culture Ireland, DAHG, DJEI, Fund IT, Failte Ireland, KPMG, Health Founders, HSE, Startup Gathering, and Trinity College. Former Project Director for VOLTA New York, VOLTA Basel and the award-winning Dublin Contemporary 2011. Experience in fundraising, PR, marketing and philanthropy. Bachelor’s degree in Design and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Trinity College Dublin and Goldsmiths, London.
Barney Whelan | Former Director of Communications, Corporate Affairs, Brand Development and Marketing at An Post, former Public Relations Manager at ESB, with responsibility for public relations, public affairs and brand communications. Former Director of Sales and Marketing at The Food Safety Promotion Board. Former board member of the National Concert Hall. Previous experience in the aquaculture industry. Doctorate in Fish Pollution Ecology, MBA on the economic impact of “environmentalism” and Diploma in Fish Pathology (Stirling University). Extensive experience in fundraising/PR, marketing, corporate governance and business management.
Jane Brennan (Board Secretary) | Solicitor qualified to practice in Ireland, England and Wales with extensive experience in company law and corporate governance. MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management (UCD) (2015), Certificate in Data Protection, Law Society of Ireland (2017), Certificate in Technology Law, Law Society of Ireland (2015), Bachelor of Civil Law (International), UCD (2005).