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Ireland’s Statutory, Independent Electoral Commission

23 February 2024An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent electoral commission has today announced the membership of its Research Advisory Group.

This diverse and expert group will support An Coimisiún in delivering its ambitious programme of research proposed in its draft Research Programme 2024-2026. This includes a range of potential research themes across five strands, including Ireland’s first longitudinal National Election and Democracy Study (NEDS).

As well as a providing for a number of stakeholder representatives and an international member, An Coimisiún invited expressions of interest in filling four academic/ expert positions on the Research Advisory Group.

The full membership of the Group is as follows:

  • Professor Emerita Caroline Fennell, Professor Emerita of Law, University College Cork, member of An Coimisiún Toghcháin (Chair)
  • Dr Nuala Connolly, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 
  • Dr Pauline Cullen, Associate Professor of Sociology and Politics in the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University
  • Professor Kate Dommett, Professor of Digital Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield
  • Professor David Farrell, Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin
  • Professor David Kenny, Professor in Law at Trinity College Dublin
  • Brian Killoran, CEO Immigrant Council of Ireland
  • Adam Lambe, Youth Representative
  • Dr. Patricia McCarthy, Sociologist & Disability Advocate, Trinity College Dublin
  • Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council
  • Dr. Brigid Quilligan, Traveller Activist
  • Dr Paul Redmond, Economic and Social Research Institute
  • Niklas Wilhelmsson, Department for Democracy & Public Law, Ministry of Justice, Finland

Welcoming the establishment of the Research Advisory Group, the Chief Executive of An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Art O’Leary said:

“An Coimisiún Toghcháin’s research programme provides us with an exciting opportunity to learn, to expand our thinking in a number of different fields and to make a serious contribution to the debate on further electoral reform in this country.

“I am delighted that we will have the support of such a diverse and expert group for this ambitious programme. Their advice will ensure our research is informed by a broad range of voices and skills across Irish society as well as international best practice.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, Communications and Public Engagement Manager,

An Coimisiún Toghcháin, The Electoral Commission, / 086 0749344

Editor’s Note:

  1. An Coimisiún Toghcháin, Ireland’s independent Electoral Commission, was established in February 2023 and is responsible for range of existing and new electoral functions, including preparing research programmes, conducting research on electoral policy and procedure, and providing advice, as required, to the Minister and Government.
  • Specifically, the Electoral Reform Act 2022 mandates An Coimisiún Toghcháin ‘to commission or conduct research on electoral policy and procedures including on matters relating to the discharge of its functions and may arising from that research, make such recommendations to the Minister and the Government as it considers appropriate.’ It also provides that An Coimisiún shall prepare, annually, programmes specifying: ‘the subjects in relation to which it proposes to conduct research…and the objectives of such research; the manner in which such research shall be carried out; and the estimated cost of such research.’ An Coimisiún published its first draft Research Programme for consultation on 10 November 2023.
  • This committed to the establishment of a Research Advisory Group to advise An Coimisiún in performing its research functions. This Group will support An Coimisiún in ensuring that a broad range of stakeholders, perspectives and research disciplines are reflected in its research programme.