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Justice Sec Gen steps down after 43 years of public service
Justice Sec Gen steps down after 43 years of public service

08 Sep 2020 / justice Print

Justice Sec Gen steps down after 43 years of service

Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality, Aidan O’Driscoll, is to step down today.

O’Driscoll, who is retiring after 43 years of public service, has a background in economics and policy analysis.

He said today: “This is my last day as a civil servant. It was a privilege to serve the Government and people of this country for 43 years.

“And it was an unbelievable honour to have been trusted to lead the fantastic people of both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice and Equality as secretary general.”

Justice deputy secretary general, barrister Oonagh Buckley, said that the department was the better for having been led by Aidan O’Driscoll, who took over in September 2018, having moved from the Department of Agriculture, where he was appointed Secretary General in January 2015.

At the time of his move to justice, O’Driscoll said that good data, analysis and evaluation were needed to drive public policy, and to inform key decisions.

Evidence, not anecdote

Too much public discourse in Ireland was based on anecdote, he said, and affirmed his personal commitment to focus on real evidence in guiding both policy and practice. 

O’Driscoll also oversaw the restructuring of the Department of Justice into separate Home Affairs, and Justice and Equality branches – the biggest ever such shake-up in the Irish civil service.  

Aidan O'Driscoll also worked in Africa and Asia in variety of roles with FAO, Irish Aid and a private consulting company from 1985 to 1992 ,and served in the Irish Embassy, Rome as Agriculture Attaché / deputy rep to FAO, WFP and IFAD, from 1994-1995.

He was chairman of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 2000-2002.  He has served as a member of the Civil Service Management Board since January 2015.

Justice minister Helen McEntee also congratulated Aidan O’Driscoll on his retirement and thanked him for his service to the country during his 43-year career.

"I want to pay tribute to Aidan’s exemplary leadership and wish him well in his retirement. He led the Department of Justice and Equality through a period of huge change and reform and I would like to thank him for his stewardship.

Crucial time

“Aidan took up his post at such a crucial time and held the Department to its course in delivering on its vision for a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland while also implementing what has been one of the most radical restructurings of a Government Department ever seen in the history of the State.

“Early in my career, I worked with Aidan in the Department of Agriculture and while I have only had the honour of working with him for a short period of time in the Department of Justice, I have always been struck by his drive and commitment to public service values.

"He has been a true public servant with an unflinching desire to deliver the highest standards of service to the Government and the people of this country and I wish him well in the future."

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