Concannon moves to new role at NUI Galway



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The head of the government's former Strategic Communications Unit (SCU), John Concannon, left public service to take a senior appointment with the National University of Ireland in Galway.

As Deputy Secretary in the Department of Taoiseach, Mr. Concannon was the head of the short-lived unit that was dissolved after a controversy over the handling of the Ireland 2040 Project campaign.

Mr. Concannon was appointed to a new post of vice-president (development) at NUIG. He will be responsible for new developments that will increase the number of students, programs and research activities. This will include the development of important new buildings, work previously conducted by the NUIG Foundation.

The new position is one of four new appointments to senior executives announced by NUIG's president, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, to lead the university's work in internationalization, science and engineering, university development and student experience.

Professor Becky Whay will join the role of vice president: international; Dr. Michelle Millar is the new rector of the students; and Professor Walter Gear is the new executive rector of the faculty of science and engineering.

Speaking yesterday, Professor Ó hgargarigh said: "Our new administrative structures emphasize our development and growth nationally and internationally, while supporting our distinctive student experience, research, teaching, and public engagement.

Exciting chapter

"These appointments reflect the ambition, values ​​and sense of purpose, people and place that underpin the new strategy for our university, which we hope to publish later this year as we begin the next chapter of NUI Galway's development."

The SCU was dissolved after a controversy surrounding its communication campaign for Project 2040, the government's capital plan for the next two decades. He faced criticism that the "advertorials" in the newspapers favored the candidates of Fine Gael, a charge vigorously denied by Concannon.

The state's top official, Martin Fraser, examined the matter. While her report exonerated the unit, she said she should have more control over the content that appeared in the newspapers. Mr. Fraser said that the continuing controversy that persecutes him, in addition to a motion by Dáil asking for his dissolution, justifies his liquidation.

Prior to the controversy, Mr. Concannon made his name as a communications and marketing specialist after pioneering such initiatives as The Gathering, the Wild Atlantic Way and the 2016 celebration.

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