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New Justice Sec Gen is Oonagh McPhillips

08 Sep 2020 / ireland Print

New Justice Sec Gen is Oonagh McPhillips

Oonagh McPhillips (pictured) has been named as Secretary General at the Department of Justice and Equality for a seven-year term.

The announcement follows a Public Appointments Service competition, on behalf of the Top-Level Appointments Committee.

Justice minister Helen McEntee said this afternoon: “Oonagh has dedicated her career to the work of the department, and is uniquely placed to deliver our future reforms.

“As deputy secretary general, Oonagh played an integral role in setting a clear vision for the criminal justice sector, and has overseen the department’s implementation of the radical change set out in the 2018 report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.


“I look forward to working closely with Oonagh as we deliver on our ambitious Programme for Government. I wish her luck in her new role.”

Oonagh McPhillips joined the civil service in 1985 as a temporary clerical trainee. She has served in the Department of the Environment, An Garda Síochána and Áras an Uachtaráin.

In the Department of Justice and Equality, she has accumulated wide experience, including in most policy areas, as private secretary and press officer to successive ministers, and in leading the department’s corporate function.  


Most recently, she headed up the Department’s Criminal Justice pillar as deputy secretary general. 

From Dublin’s Northside, Oonagh attended Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin, earned a Master’s degree from Dublin City University, and studied leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

She was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2016.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland