Board Members and Biographies

Mr Michael Horgan


Michael Horgan was appointed Chair of the HEA in July 2016 for a five year term.  This appointment was extended in 2021 to facilitate the enactment of the new HEA Bill.  Upon commencement of the HEA Act (2022), the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science appointed Michael for a further period of two years to July 2024.   Michael was formerly chairman of the Health and Safety Authority (2010-2016) and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He holds a BSc in Computer Science, and an MA from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and a Masters in Industrial Engineering from UCD and is a Chartered Director.

He was awarded a number of honorary degrees, including a DSc from the University of Massachusetts (USA) and Honorary Fellowship of the RCSI.

He has been Chairman and non-executive director of InterPay, trading as TransferMate Global Payments, since its foundation in 2010.  TransferMate is a regulated (Central Bank of Ireland) fintech payments company based in Ireland but with offices throughout the world.  Michael is also a non-executive Director of Mountain Productions Ltd.  In July 2022 he joined and was elected Chair of Uversity, a charity established by Mr Dermot Desmond to fund mature students complete a university degree.   He is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Data Protection Commission and on the Advisory Board of Intuition Ltd (an eLearning and Knowledge Management company).

He served on the Boards of a number of healthcare organizations, including as a member of Beaumont Hospital Board, the Dental Hospital Board and as Governor and Honorary Secretary of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin.  He was also a member of the Senate of the National University of Ireland and a member of the Board of Governors of Penang Medical College, Malaysia and RCSI Medical University Bahrain.

In 2006, Michael was awarded the Order of Bahrain First Class, by HRH  King Hamed of Bahrain.

Dermot McCarthy

Dermot McCarthy retired as Secretary General to the Government and Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach in July 2011 having served since January 2000. A graduate in economics from Trinity College Dublin, he served in the Departments of Industry and Commerce and Health, and as Director of the National Economic and Social Council from 1990 to 19993, when he joined the Department of the Taoiseach.


Since retirement, he has served on the boards of a number of voluntary bodies and is currently Chair of St Francis Hospice, St Andrew’s Resource Centre and the Irish School of Ecumenics Trust.


He was Chair of the Audit Committees of Trinity College Dublin and of St Patrick’s College (prior to its incorporation into Dublin City University). He chaired the Board Review Working Group in TCD and served as a member of the President’s Advisory Board in University College Dublin.

Fiona Killard Lynch

Dr. Fiona C. Killard-Lynch is an accomplished professional in the higher education sector. She presently holds the role of Chief Scientific Officer and Director of Research & Innovation at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT). In her capacity as Director of Research and Innovation, Dr. Killard-Lynch plays a crucial role in steering the future course of NIBRT, driving innovation, and spearheading impactful biopharma manufacturing research in line with the institute’s mission. Prior to joining NIBRT, Fiona was the Head of Strategic Research Development and Director of the Office of the Dean of Research at Trinity College Dublin. In this key leadership role, Fiona managed the team in the Office of the Dean of Research, provided valuable guidance to the Dean of Research and drove the development and implementation of Trinity’s research strategies and policies. She collaborated with external agencies such as the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the League of European Research Universities (LERU) ensuring the University’s active involvement in external policy development.

With over two decades of experience in the higher education sector, Fiona has worked in various HEIs across France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Her educational background comprises a B.Sc. (Honours) in Analytical Science and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry. She has also held postdoctoral positions at the SFI-Funded Biomedical Diagnostics Institute. Prior to joining Trinity College, Fiona worked at the University of Bristol, where she successfully established and managed the Bristol Doctoral College (BDC) and was an invited member of the UK Council for Graduate Education. Her expertise in securing European Union funding and her role as a Framework expert across multiple programs further highlights her commitment to research development and innovation.

Throughout her professional career, Fiona has been instrumental in shaping and executing innovative research policies and strategies. Her dedication to advancing research excellence and her comprehensive understanding of the higher education landscape have established her as a respected leader in the field.


Lianne Patterson

Lianne Patterson is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an accountancy graduate from the University of Kent, England. She has worked in leadership roles across both the private and public sector in Northern Ireland for much of her career. Lianne joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 2005 and since then her roles have included Deputy Permanent Secretary within the Department of Education, Director of Justice Delivery in the Department of Justice, and Senior Finance Director in the Department for Regional Development.


Prior to joining the Civil Service Lianne led organisational strategy and operations teams within Deloitte and was an audit manager in Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Her areas of expertise include financial management, strategy development, corporate governance, human resource management and mentoring.


Lianne currently serves as a Non-Executive director of the Housing Finance Agency in Ireland and is Chair of its Audit Committee, is a Board member of the Health and Care Professions Council UK, and is an Audit Committee member of the Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Chris Clifford

President USI

Chris Clifford is President of the Union of Students in Ireland for the academic year 2023-2024. Chris graduated with a B.Sc. in Health and Leisure with Athletic Performance in 2020 and went on to spend three years working in ITT/MTUKSU. He served one term as Education Officer and two terms as President. Chris is primarily focused on increasing engagement between students and USI, and between students and their local Students’ Unions. Chris believes this is the key foundation on which USI will achieve its mission. Chris plans to advocate for a radical overhaul of the higher education system into one that has the needs and development of students as its main priority.

Mark Rogers

Professor Emeritus Mark Rogers was Deputy President, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs in University College Dublin from 2011 to 2022.  He become Acting President of UCD in 2022 and retired in 2023.  He holds a BA in Science from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Glasgow.

Following 4 years as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the University of California, San Franciso Department of Neurology, he joined the faculty at UCD where he took on teaching, research and management duties giving him an in-depth knowledge of higher education in Ireland and abroad.  He was Head of Department and Dean of Science before becoming Deputy President and Registrar.  He coordinated several large EU research awards involving partners across Europe.

He is an internationally recognised researcher in prion diseases including the development and licencing of a European approved rapid diagnostic test for BSE.  He was awarded the Nova UCD award for innovation in 2004 and the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Licence2Market Impact Award in 2015.

He served on the Governing Authority of UCD, and the Senate of the National University of Ireland.  He has been non-executive member on a number of other Boards including the Central Applications Office (CAO), English Language Academy, National Academy of Art and Design and the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).

Paula Fyans

Paula Fyans is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (Pharmacy) and University College Dublin Smurfit Business School (1st class hons). She is a qualified pharmacist with almost 20 years of experience in the Pharma industry at senior European level across a number of roles, including Strategy, Medical Education and Scientific Publications. She has high-level expertise in a number of medical specialties, in which she has collaborated with international thought leaders to advance the knowledge of health care professionals.


Paula lectured pharmaceutics in Malawi and spent four years at Imperial College London, where she successfully established and managed a commercial clinical trials unit, leveraging the expertise of academic clinicians in commercial collaborations.


She holds a diploma in Corporate Governance (Distinction) and is a member of the Institute of Directors. She is also a consultant on Gender Equality and Women in Leadership and the author of a book which identified a new concept in Equality, based on qualitative and quantitative global research.


She currently works with universities, Governments and organisations around the world keen to better understand mental load and gender equality in addition to recruiting/retaining key talent.


She is also active at local and national level in initiatives focused on environmental sustainability and meeting climate change targets.


Rory O'Sullivan

Dr Rory O’Sullivan is an Adjunct Professor in the FET Research Centre and School of Policy and Practice in Dublin City University.  Having spent his entire career in FET in Ireland, he retired as Principal of Cathal Brugha College of Further Education (formerly Killester and Marino College of Further Education) after 22 years in January 2023.  He was the Chair of the FET Colleges Ireland, and member of the National Executive of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals.  He has been involved in several international projects in the field of inclusive FET.  In 2013, he was invited to speak at the European Parliament on the work being done in Killester College on inclusive further education.  He was a member of the FETAC Council (2007-12), the National Council for Special Education (2007-10), and the Board of AHEAD (2016-2021).  He is currently a member of the QQI Appeals Panel, and the Creating Pathways Advisory Group in SOLAS.  He represented City of Dublin ETB on the Dublin Regional Skills Forum (2016-2022) and Dublin Chamber.  In 2018, Rory was conferred with a PhD in FET Policy from Trinity College, Dublin.  He was a member of the Adjunct Faculty of the School of Education in the University of Limerick (2018-2022).


Rosemary Day

Dr Rosemary Day is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Media and Communication Studies in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.


She was appointed to the HEA in November 2023 and comes to the board with nearly 30 years of experience as a senior lecturer and manager in third level education.

Rosemary was a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for two terms where she served on both statutory committees – the Compliance Committee and the Contracts Awards Committee. She is a member of the Advocacy Group for Craol, the Community Radio Forum of Ireland and a former Council member of AMARC-Europe (The World Association of Community Broadcasters). She was a founder of Raidió na Life, in Dublin  and of Wired Fm., in Limerick.  She was the founder of the Radio and Sound Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) and was its first chair. She is the Co-ordinating Director of the national  Audio Research Centre (ARC).


Rosemary is the Irish partner in a €3,000,000 HORIZON funded project that is researching the role of media in democracy. The project will set out future-proof pathways to strengthen democracy through improving accountability, transparency, and the effectiveness of media production in expanding active and inclusive citizenship.


Her other research interests include radio; community media, minority media and minority language media.  Much of her research deals with EDII issues and she is a lifelong activist in the fields of Irish language promotion; gender equality and community development.

P. Anne Scott

Anne Scott is Professor Emerita University of Galway and former Chair of the HEAnet Board of Directors and the CervicalCheck Steering Committee.  Anne is an RGN and holds a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Trinity College, Dublin, MSc from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow. She has worked as a clinician and academic in Ireland, Scotland, Kenya and England. Over her career she has held a variety of leadership roles in universities including Head of School, Executive Dean,  Vice President for Equality and Diversity (NUI Galway 2016 – 2021), Deputy President and Registrar (Dublin City University (DCU) 2006-2012) in both Irish and English university sectors.


Anne was appointed to NUI Galway (now University of Galway) in June 2016 as the University’s first Vice President for Equality and Diversity, and retired from the University in 2021. During her term as Vice President for Equality and Diversity Anne established the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity (OVPED) and steered the development of the EDI governance infrastructure in University of Galway. She led the development and mainstreaming a number of EDI initiatives across the University focused on gender equality. This included the complete reform of the composition of Academic Council, the acquisition of the first and second Athena SWAN institutional award for University of Galway and the development and implementation of two gender equality action plans and the first EDI strategy (2020-2025) for the University.

Anne’s research interests include the philosophy and ethics of health care, judgement and decision-making in clinical practice, and health services research – focusing on the health work force. She was the Irish lead on the EU funded RN4Cast Nursing Workforce Research Programme and has served as a member of the DoH Task Force on Safe Nurse Staffing and Skills Mix. She has contributed to the development of the Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill-mix in the HSE – Medical, Surgical and A&E.



Niall Connors

Currently the Director of Regulation and Registrar of Solicitors at the Law Society of Ireland, Niall leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for ensuring the Law Society meets its statutory functions. He previously served in senior leadership roles in the Irish Aviation Authority & the Defence Forces, including periods overseas as a United Nations Peacekeeper, and has significant experience leading, managing and problem solving at all levels in a complex, dynamic & operationally focused environment. He also holds an Airline Transport Pilot License and has held type-rating instructor (TRI) and type-rating examiner (TRE) ratings on a number of aircraft types.


From a broader education perspective, Niall is a Doctoral graduate of the University of Nottingham, holds BSc and MA degrees in leadership disciplines and a post-graduate diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance from the Law Society of Ireland. He has also completed the ‘Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme’ at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, the ‘Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies’ programme at the Harvard Kennedy School, the ‘Managing Organisational Risk’ programme at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) and the NTSB’s Air Accident Investigators programme at George Washington University in Washington DC.


Niall has also served as a member of validation panels for undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in a number of third level institutions and on the Defence Forces Academic Council. Since 2015, Niall has lectured on an MSc degree programme in the Dublin City University (DCU) Business School and also lectures both at home and abroad on Risk Management, Human Factors & Safety Management Systems.



Nessa McEniff

Nessa McEniff is the Centre Director at Learnovate, an Enterprise Ireland & IDA funded Technology Research Centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, with a research remit covering the future of work & learning. She leads the team to undertake industry-led research across the areas of primary education, post-primary education, 3rd level and corporate learning. Nessa has 25 years’ experience in EdTech, innovation, technology and strategy, and recently completed her Chartered Director course with the Institute of Directors.


Nessa has a long career in learning technology, most recently working as COO for Story Toys where she was responsible global operations including product development, marketing, legal and HR. She worked hand-in-hand with the CEO, CFO and CPO in the execution of strategy, business planning and operations before the company was acquired by Team17.


She also serves on the Board of IRDG (Industry Research and Development Group) and is a member of NALA’s (National Adult Literacy Association) Audit, Risk & Finance committee.

Members are appointed by the Minister for Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science in accordance with Section 16 of the HEA Act 2022.

Framework for a Code of Business Conduct

The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies required that each state body should have a written code of business conduct for members and employees. This code sets out the agreed standard of principle and practice which will inform the conduct of members of the Higher Education Authority, its Committees and Task Forces. Members are expected to voluntarily comply with this written code.

Framework for a Code of Business Conduct

HEA Standing Committees


  • Audit & Risk– The Audit & Risk Committee has been established by the Authority to support them in ensuring that there are effective internal controls, governance and risk management arrangements in place in the HEA.


  • Finance– The main role of the Committee is to advise  and  make  recommendations  to  the  Authority  in  relation  to  financial matters and the allocation and oversight of funding having regard to policy priorities set by the Authority.


  • Student Engagement & Teaching and Learning– this Committee has been appointed by the Authority to advise and make recommendations concerning student engagement and teaching and learning development in the HE sector, having regard to policy priorities set by the Authority.


Minutes of the HEA Board - 23rd January 2024

Minutes of the HEA Board - 6th November 2023

Minutes of the HEA Board - 19th September 2023

Minutes of the HEA Board - 27th June 2023

Minutes of the HEA Board - 25th Apr 2023

Minutes of the HEA Board - 14th March 2023

Minutes of the HEA Board - 24th January 2023

Meeting of the HEA Board - 13th December 2022

426th Meeting - 25th October 2022

425th Meeting - 6th September 2022

424th Meeting- 19th July 2022

423rd Meeting - 14th June 2022

422nd Meeting - 26th April 2022

421st Meeting - 8th March 2022

420th Meeting -25th January 2022

419th Meeting - 14th December 2021

418th Meeting - 19th October 2021

417th Meeting - 6th and 7th September 2021

416th Meeting - 27th July 2021

415th Meeting - 8th June 2021

414th Meeting- 27th April 2021

413th Meeting - 9th March 2021

412nd Meeting - 28th January 2021

411th Meeting - 8th December 2020

Report of Special Meeting on HEA Strategy held on 7 th December 2020

410th Meeting - 20th October 2020

Report of Special Meeting on reform of HEA legislation held on 6th October 2020

409th Meeting - 8th September 2020

408th Meeting - 7th July 2020

407th Meeting - 4th June 2020

406th Meeting - 28th April 2020

405th Meeting - 3rd March 2020

404th Meeting - 28th January 2020

403rd Meeting - 17 December 2019

402nd Meeting - 03 November 2019

401st Meeting - 03 September 2019

Special Meeting - 19th August 2019

400th Meeting - 02nd July 2019

399th Meeting - 28th May 2019

Special Meeting - 27th May 2019

398th Meeting - 29th April 2019

397th Meeting - 26th March 2019

396th Meeting - 29th January 2019

395th Meeting - 11th December 2018

394th Meeting - 6th November 2018

393rd Meeting - 25th September 2018

392nd Meeting - 26th June 2018

391st Meeting - 29th May 2018

390th Meeting - 24th April 2018

389th Meeting - 27th March 2018

388th Meeting - 30th January 2018

387th Meeting - 28th November 2017

386th Meeting - 28th September 2017

385th Meeting - 27th June 2017

384th Meeting - 16th May 2017

383rd Meeting - 28th March 2017

382nd Meeting - 24th January 2017

381st Meeting - 22nd November 2016

380th Meeting - 27th September 2016

379th Meeting - 26th July 2016

Special Meeting - 5th July 2016

Special Meeting - 22nd June 2016

378th Meeting - 24th May 2016

Special Meeting - 17th May 2016

Special Meeting - 16th February 2016

377th Meeting - 23rd March 2016

Special Meeting - 26th January 2016

376th Meeting - 19th January 2016

375th Meeting - 24th November 2015

374th Meeting - 06th October 2015

373rd Meeting - 28th July 2015

372nd Meeting - 26th May 2015

371st Meeting - 24th March 2015

370th Meeting - 27th January 2015

369th Meeting - 25th November 2014

Special Meeting - 10th October 2014

368th Meeting - 30th September 2014

367th Meeting - 22nd July 2014

366th Meeting - 27th May 2014

365th Meeting - 24th March 2014

364th Meeting - 28th January 2014

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