Pat Rabbitte is appointed as new chair of Tusla

Appointment of former Labour Party leader was confirmed by the Cabinet on Tuesday

Former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte has been appointed as the new chair of Tusla, the child and family agency.

Mr Rabbitte’s appointment was confirmed by the Cabinet at its last meeting before Christmas on Tuesday.

Tusla has responsibility for a range of services including child welfare and protection services, and family support services that are delivered by the Health Service Executive’s (HSE’s) children and family services.

Mr Rabbitte, who has served as a public representative for 30 years, was appointed by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone following a selection process managed by the Public Appointments Service.


Mr Rabbitte served as minister for communications, energy and natural resources from 2011 to 2014, leader of the Labour Party from 2002 to 2007, and minister of state for commerce, science and technology from 1994 to 1997.

The Government said he had participated in and chaired a number of task force initiatives as well as international negotiations.

“I am in no doubt that Mr Rabbitte has all the qualities necessary to lead Tusla to the next stage of its development,” said Ms Zappone.

“In his many roles he has provided strategic leadership at a corporate level and delivered significant projects which have benefitted the Irish people.

“These are skills which will help him lead Tusla into the future and addressing the many challenges it faces as an organisation.

"I am truly grateful to the outgoing chairperson, Norah Gibbons, on completing her term as the first chairperson of the board of Tusla since its establishment in 2014. Norah has shown great commitment and determination in this role."

Ms Zappone has also appointed Anne O’Gara to be the deputy chairwoman of the board of Tusla with effect from January 1st, taking over from Rory O’Ferrall, who will continue as an ordinary member of the board until the end of 2019.

Mr Rabbitte is currently a member of the council of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter