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Organisation Information

Designated Public Officials

Published: 28 January 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 which came into effect on 1 September 2015 provides that the Standards in Public Office Commission will establish and maintain an online register of lobbying activity.

The purpose of the register is to make information available to the public on the identity of those communicating with designated public officials on specific policy, legislative matters or prospective decisions. Lobbyists must report on their interactions with the Designated Public Officials.

Section 6(4) of the Act requires each public body to publish a list of designated public officials of the body. The purpose of the list is twofold:

  • to allow members of the public to identify those persons who are designated public officials
  • as a resource for lobbyists filing a return to the Register who may need to source a designated public official’s details

The Designated Public Officials of the Department of Rural and Community Development under this legislation are:


  • Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development
  • Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development

Special Advisers* (on appointment)

Daniel Rowan - Special Adviser to the Minister for Rural and Community Development

Padraig Hughes -Special Adviser to the Minister for Rural and Community Development

Robert Hughes, Special Adviser to the Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development.

Secretary General

Kevin McCarthy

The Secretary General of the Department has the following responsibilities: managing the business generally of the Department; implementing Government policies appropriate to the Department; monitoring Government policies that affect the Department; delivering outputs as determined by the Minister; providing policy advice to the Minister on all matters within the remit of the Department; preparing Statements of Strategy for submission to the Minister; providing progress reports to the Minister on the implementation of the Statement of Strategy; ensuring proper use of resources and the provision of cost-effective public services; preparing an outline of how specific responsibilities are to be assigned to other officers down through the Department; managing matters relating to appointments, performance, discipline and dismissal of civil servants below the grade of Principal or its equivalent.

Assistant Secretaries, Directors and Equivalent Grades

Bairbre Nic Aongusa

Division: Community Development

Grade: Assistant Secretary


Bairbre Nic Aongusa is responsible at Assistant Secretary level for Local & Community Development Policy; Libraries Development; Programme for Peace & Reconciliation; Community Services Programme; Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) and Local Economic & Community Plans (LECPs); the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP); Community Enhancement Programme; Supports for disadvantaged communities (including Dublin North East Inner City); Policy on Dog Control and Dog Breeding Establishments; Policy oversight of local authority functions regarding burial grounds; Pobal (governance oversight); Supports for Community and Voluntary Groups; Supports for Volunteering; Public Participation Networks; Government’s relationship with Philanthropy; Irish Water Safety; Charities Regulator.

William Parnell

Division: Rural Development and Regional Affairs

Grade: Assistant Secretary


William Parnell is responsible at Assistant Secretary level for policies and programmes to advance the economic and social development of rural Ireland, including through the Action Plan for Rural Development. He is also responsible for the delivery of a range of regional development objectives, including the Atlantic Economic Corridor initiative and facilitating Local Authorities in their preparations for the roll-out of high-speed broadband. William oversees the development and implementation of Social Enterprise policy.

Sheenagh Rooney

Division: Corporate Affairs and Strategic Development

Grade: Assistant Secretary


Sheenagh Rooney is responsible at Assistant Secretary level for the Department’s corporate affairs, strategic policy development, organisational development, human resources, corporate co-ordination, finance and evaluation, accommodation, communications and ICT and corporate governance. The division is also responsible for oversight and coordination of the Department’s work on cross-Government strategic matters such as Climate Action and Brexit and for oversight of policy and delivery of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and for Dormant Accounts.