Richard Browne has been appointed as the director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Browne, who has worked with the body since 2014, was appointed after an open international competition, run by the Public Appointments Service. He had been the acting director since July last year.
The post had been vacant since 2020, and the ransomware attack on the HSE last year sparked criticism of the Government over the resourcing of the centre.
The NCSC’s functions include:
- Co-ordinating and managing national cyber-security incident responses,
- Building national situational awareness of cyber-risks and threats, and
- Building resilience against cyber-attacks.
Eamon Ryan (Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications) described Browne as “an extremely highly qualified and high-calibre professional”.
"As Ireland is a leading digital economy, protecting the cyber-security of Government IT and critical national infrastructure is vital,” he added.
Referring to the attack on the HSE last year, Minister of State Ossian Smyth said that the Government was committed to ensuring that the centre had the appropriate level of resourcing to enable it deliver on what he described as “its critical mandate”.
After a review last year, the Government committed itself to increasing the NCSC’s full-time staffing level to at least 70 over the next five years. An additional 20 staff are to be recruited by the end of 2022, bringing the figure to 45.