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Lawyer Niamh Hodnett is first online-safety commissioner

19 Jan 2023 / regulation Print

Lawyer Niamh Hodnett is online-safety commissioner

Solicitor Cian Smith is now chief legal and regulatory officer at Premier Lotteries Ireland, operator of the National Lottery, after acting in the role for the past year and a half. He joined the legal and regulatory affairs team in 2018.

Smith said that he was honoured to continue working with an extremely talented legal and regulatory team.

Smith succeeds Niamh Hodnett, who is now Ireland’s inaugural online-safety commissioner.

The Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Act 2022, which was signed into law last month, will replace the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) with a new Coimisiún na Meán.


The new body is responsible for overseeing the regulation of broadcasting and video-on-demand services, introducing the new regulatory framework for online safety, implementing the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive into Irish law, and supporting the development of the wider media sector in Ireland.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) chair Jeremy Godfrey will also chair the new regulator.

Rónán Ó Domhnaill has been appointed as media development commissioner, and Celene Craig will be broadcasting commissioner.

Hodnett qualified as a solicitor in 1998, and has worked at Three Ireland, ComReg, Matheson, and An Post.

All four will begin work in mid-February.

Catherine Martin (Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media) said: “Coimisiún na Meán will be central to safeguarding all of us, and in particular children, as we interact with and use online spaces.

“It will also have a central role in ensuring the media sector here in Ireland remains viable, independent and capable of delivering public-service objectives by implementing many of the recommendations made by the Future of Media Commission.”


She said that the four appointees would bring a wealth of professional experience and regulatory expertise to their roles.

Minister Martin added: “Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic transformation in the way in which we view, read and listen to media content, whether on television, radio or over the internet. In particular, there has been an explosion in the amount of user-generated content that we all encounter online.

Jeremy Godfrey said: “Together with my fellow commissioners, we aim to ensure a thriving, safe, and diverse online and media landscape. In particular, it will be a priority that citizens in Ireland and across the European Union should have a high level of protection from illegal and harmful content.

"We look forward to putting in place robust and effective regulatory mechanisms, as well as expanded broadcast and media funding schemes, so that we achieve these goals.”

Gazette Desk
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