Board Members and Biographies

Mr Michael Horgan

Chairperson Designate

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.

Mr Tony Donohoe

Policy Advisor with IBEC
Irish Business and Employers Confederation

Mr Tony Donohoe is former head of education and social policy in Ibec, the business representative organisation. Following a career in business journalism, he worked in Ibec for over 35 years in a number of roles including publications editor, head of research and information services, and policy advisor. He is chair of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and vice-chair of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). Tony has served on a number of boards and advisory committees including the National Economic and Social Council, the Pensions Commission, the Apprenticeship Council, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and the Equality Authority. He is a University of London graduate and holds a masters in leadership studies from the University of Exeter.

Dr Judith Eaton

President Emeritus Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Washington DC

Dr Judith Eaton has been president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) since 1997. CHEA is a nongovernmental institutional membership organization of degree-granting colleges and universities that provides national coordination of institutional and programmatic accreditation throughout the United States. CHEA , through its International Quality Group, also engages international quality issues and challenges, working with colleagues in quality assurance and higher education around the world. Dr. Eaton has also served as a college president and state chancellor and writes widely on higher education, accreditation and quality assurance.

Dr Sharon Feeney

Head of Learning Development,
College of Business, Technological University, Dublin

Dr Sharon Feeney is Head of Learning Development, College of Business, Technological University, Dublin (City Campus). Dr Feeney has worked in the higher education sector since 1991 in numerous roles, including quality assurance; lecturer, and most recently as Head of Learning Development.

She has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology; an MSc (Hons) in Work and Organisational Psychology and a Doctorate from The University of Sheffield. Her doctoral thesis examined the origins and processes of institutional level quality reviews in Irish higher education institutions. Her current research interests focus on higher education policy at the institutional, national and international levels, with particular emphasis on quality systems, programme and institutional evaluation, and qualifications and awards frameworks. She is involved in research projects that focus on learning and teaching methods in higher education, higher education institution mergers, organisation design, and studies of elite formation in higher education.

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.

Ms Darina Kneafsey

Managing Partner Quilly

Ms Darina Kneafsey has 25 years’ experience in senior leadership positions within international companies including Digital Equipment and Intel. She held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Trinity College Dublin for a number of years. Darina also works with a number of both start-ups and established organisations across several sectors and technologies. She is a chartered Engineer with an Engineering degree from University College Dublin, a post graduate Diploma in System Analysis from NUI Galway. Darina holds a MBA from Trinity College Dublin.

Professor Sinéad O’Flanagan

Academic Consultant

Prof. Sinéad O’Flanagan combines her academic expertise and corporate experience in her work on leadership practices and education. Her current research work explores how leaders learn in settings where disruption and uncertainty prevail. She uses her expertise in systems-thinking and experiential-based learning, partnering with public and private organizations, NGOs and city governments worldwide to design leadership fieldwork projects and internships. Previously based in Silicon Valley CA., and London UK, Prof. O’Flanagan held executive management positions and worked as a consultant in guiding companies through major organizational change and restructuring initiatives.

Mr Pól Ó Móráin

CEO, Carbon Collect

Mr Pól Ó Móráin is a co-founder and CEO of Carbon Collect, an Irish firm addressing global climate change. He served for ten years from 2011 as a Private Sector Member of the Irish Government’s Export Trade Council (Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade). Pól is a member of the International Advisory Board at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China.

Pól was previously Co-Chair of the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) and Deputy Chair of the International Advisory Board at the University of Bradford Faculty of Management and Law. Earlier he was ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ at Xerox Venture Lab working across Xerox’s Research in PARC, Grenoble (France) and Cambridge (Britain). Primarily focused on commercialising Xerox’s IP, supporting and advising portfolio companies while also working closely with colleagues to evaluate new investment opportunities.

Pól holds patents in machine learning and information processing acquired by Intel Corporation in 2012. He is an Alumnus of University of Bradford (MBA), Lancaster University (Business Analysis) and Toulouse Business School.

Dr John Wall

Head of School of Lifelong Learning and Education
Waterford Institute of Technology

Dr John Wall is currently Head of the School of Lifelong Learning and Education in WIT. He has worked in WIT since 1994 in the Schools’ of Engineering and Lifelong Learning and Education. Prior to this he worked in the construction industry both in the UK and Ireland.

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 - 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

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.