The Government has appointed Siún Ní Raghallaigh as the new chair of the RTÉ board following the retirement of Moya Doherty.
Ms Ní Raghallaigh previously chaired the board of Irish language broadcaster TG4 and has also headed up Ardmore Studios.
Her appointment for a five-year period was ratified by the Cabinet on Tuesday and announced by Minister for Media Catherine Martin.
Aideen Howard, director of The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre in Dublin, was also appointed as a member of the RTÉ Board.
“RTÉ is at the centre of Irish life – informing, educating and entertaining the public – and these appointments come at a time of opportunity and0change in the Irish media and broadcasting landscape,” the Minister said.
“Siún Ní Raghallaigh and Aideen Howard bring wide-ranging knowledge and experience which will be central to the evolving strategic direction of RTÉ. I wish both well during their terms and thank them for taking on these important roles.”
From Dunfanaghy in Co Donegal, Ms Ní Raghallaigh began her career as a finance manager for Elan, the shipping side of DHL, and studied accountancy by night.
“My feeling on it is that accountancy is a fantastic grounding to have,” she told The Irish Times in 2014. “I never worked as an accountant, but one of the best things I did was slog for six years to do that. It is a great grounding for business.”
She was chair of TG4 until last April, having been one of the founding members of the Irish language channel TnaG.
“We had a field in Connemara at the beginning. We built it within a year and a half. It was an amazing privilege,” she said of TnaG.
When she departed the broadcaster alongside four other board members after two five-year terms, director-general Alan Esslemont singled Ms Ní Raghallaigh out for “her leadership and continuous commitment” to the station.
She also served as chief executive of Ardmore Studios in Co Wicklow – in which she held a stake – before it was sold to an American joint venture last year. Ms Ní Raghallaigh was also involved in the establishment of Troy, in the former Dell Studios in Limerick, in 2016.
During her time at Troy, she had signalled its intention to secure further major television and film productions from a number of global content-streaming companies. The “big business”, she said previously, is in “TV because when you have the new platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV, they are concentrated on content that is going to bring people into their subscription-based platforms”.
During her time at TG4 she had warned of the need for further funding of Irish-language content, pointing to a continued fragmentation in how people consumed television content. “With Irish media and culture running the risk of becoming diluted, never before has Irish public service broadcasting and media been more important in the context of national identity,” she said in 2019.
Ms Ní Raghallaigh’s other roles have included financial controller of the defunct Sunday Tribune newspaper and chief executive of Tyrone Productions, one of Ireland’s largest independent television production companies which introduced the world to Riverdance.
The Minister also announced the appointment by Government of a new chairperson and three new members of the board of TG4.
Anna Ní Ghallachair was confirmed as chairperson of TG4, with Róisín Ní Ráighne, Aedín O’Leary and Seán Ó Cuirreáin appointed as members of the broadcaster’s board for four years. Ms Martin reappointed Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Mairéad Ní Nuadháin and Darach Ó Tuairisg for three year terms.