New board appointments at Poetry Ireland

19th July 2017

Poetry Ireland is delighted to welcome two new appointees to its board of directors. Jean O’Mahony and Olwen Dawe will become directors with immediate effect.   

Jean O’Mahony is a public policy specialist who has worked extensively across the Oireachtas, Government and the private sector.  Currently Head of Policy and Research in AIB’s Corporate Affairs and Strategy Division, Jean works as an adviser to the Director of Corporate Affairs and the CEO on matters of external communications, external stakeholder engagement and policy.  
Jean has previously served as a policy adviser to two leaders of the Labour Party, and as a Special Adviser to the Tánaiste between 2011 and 2014, where she worked on the implementation of the Programme for Government. 
A committed believer in democratic politics, she is also an active member of the Constance Markievicz Circle of Women for Election.  Jean holds an MscEcon in International Politics from the University of Wales, and a BA in English Literature and History from Trinity College Dublin. 

Olwen Dawe is a Policy Analyst and Consultant, with a specific interest in gender equality and diversity, policy and advocacy. With a professional background spanning public and private sector roles in strategic management, Olwen has advised a range of State agencies, private companies, arts organisations and multidisciplinary festivals on issues such as​development and fundraising strategies, policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications.  Olwen also oversaw the implementation of the Yeats2015 programme.   A passionate advocate for both gender equality and the role of arts in society, Olwen is a Board member of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) and CoisCéim Dance Theatre, the inaugural Chair of Network Ireland's Advisory Council (she was the organisation’s National President in 2015) and Chair of the Policy Research Committee of the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA).  Olwen holds a BBS. Hons, a PG Dip. Economic Science (Public Policy Analysis) and will be awarded an MEconScin December 2017. 

Speaking about the appointments, Chairperson Ciarán Benson remarked:   

Jean and Olwen will bring valuable expertise and skills to our board, which are especially relevant given our current plans to create and develop the first ever Poetry Ireland Centre at No. 11 Parnell Square, in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust. This beautiful Eighteenth century Georgian townhouse will soon house Seamus Heaney’s Working Poetry Library and our new centre will help secure a future for Irish poetry that is as celebrated as its past.   

Later this summer, Poetry Ireland will tour Muldoon’s Picnic to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and to six venues across Ireland. This tour is supported by both Arts Councils on the island and Culture Ireland.