Oonagh McPhillips appointed Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality


8 September, 2020


Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, has today announced the appointment of Oonagh McPhillips as Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality following a competition undertaken by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Top Level Appointments Commission.


Minister McEntee said,


“I’m delighted that Government has today appointed Oonagh McPhillips as Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality. Oonagh has dedicated her career to the work of the Department and is uniquely placed to deliver our future reforms.


“As Deputy Secretary General, Oonagh played an integral role in setting a clear vision for the Criminal Justice sector and has overseen the Department’s implementation of the radical change set out in the 2018 report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.


“I look forward to working closely with Oonagh as we deliver on our ambitious Programme for Government. I wish her luck in her new role.”


In accordance with the TLAC arrangements for Secretaries General the appointment is for a 7 year term.


Minister McEntee also congratulated outgoing Secretary General Aidan O’Driscoll on his retirement and thanked him for his service to the country during his 43 year career.


The Minister said,


I want to pay tribute to Aidan’s exemplary leadership and wish him well in his retirement. He led the Department of Justice and Equality through a period of huge change and reform and I would like to thank him for his stewardship.


“Aidan took up his post at such a crucial time and held the Department to its course in delivering on its vision for a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland while also implementing what has been one of the most radical restructurings of a Government Department ever seen in the history of the State.  


“Early in my career, I worked with Aidan in the Department of Agriculture and while I have only had the honour of working with him for a short period of time in the Department of Justice, I have always been struck by his drive and commitment to public service values. He has been a true public servant with an unflinching desire to deliver the highest standards of service to the Government and the people of this country and I wish him well in the future.”




Notes to Editor


Aidan O’Driscoll:


Aidan O'Driscoll, the new secretary general of the Department of Justice.


Oonagh McPhillips:

Oonagh joined the civil service in 1985 at what was then the lowest entry level grade - temporary clerical trainee. She has served in the Department of the Environment, An Garda Síochána and Arás an Uachtaráin.


Most of Oonagh’s career has been in the Department of Justice and Equality where she has accumulated a wide range of experience including in most policy areas, as private secretary and press officer to successive Ministers, and leading the Department’s Corporate function.  


Most recently she headed up the Department’s Criminal Justice pillar as Deputy Secretary General.  From Dublin’s Northside, Oonagh attended Holy Faith Convent Glasnevin, earned a Master’s degree from Dublin City University and studied leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2016.