UCC Professor Emerita of Law Caroline Fennell is one of four ordinary members being proposed to serve on the new Electoral Commission.
The Cabinet has backed the nomination of the four, which must now be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The commission, which will be known as An Coimisiún Toghcháin, is being set up under the Electoral Reform Act 2022 to oversee the electoral system. It is due to be established in early 2023.
The ordinary members will sit alongside two ex officio members – the Clerk of the Dáil and the Ombudsman – and the chair, who will be a serving or retired judge of the superior courts.
The four members being nominated are:
- John Curran, a former Minister of State, TD, and local authority member,
- Maura Quinn, who has more than 25 years’ experience as a chief executive across a range of sectors,
- Former West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood, who is a member of the UK Electoral Commission, and
- Prof Caroline Fennell (Professor Emerita of Law in UCC), who has a significant background in human-rights issues, and is a current member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
The commission will take on several existing statutory electoral functions from the outset – including responsibility for the registration of political parties, and the work currently carried out by Referendum Commissions, Constituency Commissions, and Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees.
It will also have responsibility for the regulation of online political advertising during electoral periods, oversight of the Electoral Register, and a new public information, research, and advisory role in relation to electoral matters.