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Notable alumni politics - Department of Political Science - Trinity College Dublin

Political Science Alumni

alumniThere have been an estimated 2,000-plus graduates from undergraduate programmes in Political Science since 1980 alone, and these women and men have gone on to a wide range of lives and careers and have made their mark in many fields. Below, we list just a few of these graduates, giving an indication of the diversity of paths that graduates follow after leaving Trinity. You can find more information about graduates from our Masters and PhD programmes in the postgraduate section. You may wish to follow us on twitter at @TCDPoliticalSci.

Thanks to generous donations from alumni, the Department has been able to fund a number of prizes for our best undergraduate students. These donations are much appreciated.

Kingsley Aikins (Political Science and Economics, 1974); CEO of The Networking Institute, formerly Australian-based representative of the Irish Trade Board and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Ireland, founding director of The Australian Ireland Fund and established the Ireland Fund of New Zealand and the Ireland Fund of Japan, awarded CBE for contribution to relations between Ireland and Britain.

Tania Banotti (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1991); Director of Creative Ireland, formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland, and former chief executive of Screen Producers Ireland.

Robert Barron (BESS, Political Science, 1985); Senior Counsel, Law Library.

Simon Boucher (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1999); CEO of the Irish Management Institute.

John Bowman (History and Political Science, 1970); broadcaster with RTÉ and Irish historian.

Jennifer Brett (BESS, 2007); leader, North America Insights team for Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn.

Martin Browne (History and Political Science, 1994); Benedictine monk (OSB), headmaster of Glenstal Abbey school 2009–14, occasional columnist in the Irish Catholic.

Peter Bunting (BESS, Political Science, 1992); Assistant General Secretary for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, with the responsibility of co-ordinating and developing the trade union movement in Northern Ireland, prior to his retirement in 2016.

Jennifer Burke (Philosophy and Political Science, 2005); novelist (The Secret Son and others).

Dara Calleary (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1996); Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo since 2007; party Deputy Leader 2018–20; government chief whip 27 June to 15 July 2020, Minister for Agriculture 15 July to 21 August 2020.

Caroline Canning (BESS, Political Science, 1985); artist.

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2002); legal scholar, author of The Politics of Judicial Selection in Ireland (2016), former Fine Gael adviser and councillor, Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire 2020–, minister of state Dec 2022–.

Rory Carroll (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1994); Ireland correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, previously USA west coast correspondent and Latin America correspondent, author of Commandante: Hugo Chávez's Venezuela.

Jack Chambers (Law and Political Science, 2013); Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West since 2016, the youngest member of the 32nd Dáil; minister of state, July 2020–.

Ross Church (Philosophy and Political Science, 2010); programme manager SW regional enterprise plan, Cork County Council; previously deputy head of mission at Irish Embassy in Singapore.

Jonathan Cloonan (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2007); advertising executive, named as one of the Forbes '30 under 30' young innovators and entrepreneurs 2012.

Jonathan Rachel Clynch (BESS, Political Science, 1993); RTÉ reporter.

Oisín Coghlan (BESS, Political Science, 1994); Director, Friends of the Earth Ireland since 2005.

Shane Coleman (BESS, Politics and Economics, 1990); presenter of Breakfast programme on Newstalk radio, former political editor there, also contributor to Irish Independent and author of a number of books on Irish politics, including Bertie Ahern and the Drumcondra Mafia.

Mary Corcoran (BESS, Political Science and Sociology, 1983); Professor of Sociology NUI Maynooth.

Carmel Crimmins (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1999); Specialist Editor, Top News at Reuters.

Teresa Crowley (BESS, Political Science, 1993); Director, The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin.

Rahul P Dave (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1981); corporate lawyer, Delhi.

Paschal Donohoe (BESS, Political Science, 1996); Minister for Finance since June 2017, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform May 2016–2020, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from July 2014 to May 2016, Minister of State for European Affairs July 2013 to July 2014, Fine Gael TD for Dublin Central since 2011.

Donal Donovan (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1973); former member of Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, former deputy director of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Maria Doyle Kennedy (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1986); screen and TV actor (The CommitmentsFather Ted, The Tudors, Downton Abbey and many others), singer, musician, composer.

John Duggan (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2000); Managing editor of news for the sports brand 'Off the Ball'.

Gabriel Fagan (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1982); chief economist Central Bank of Ireland 2014–17.

Rachel Fehily (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1990); barrister, family law mediator, playwright and writer.

Joe Ffrench (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1993); HR director, Microsoft Ireland.

Cathal Fitzgerald (BESS, Political Science, 2004); senior economist, National Economic and Social Council.

Nicholas Fitz-Gerald Browne (History and Political Science, 1971); better known as Nicholas Best, writer.

Gerry Foley (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1982); broadcaster, book festival chair, formerly UTV Ireland western correspondent, Political Editor ITV Tyne-Tees Television and reporter on RTÉ television's Today Tonight.

Michael Forbes (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1979); former Irish Ambassador to Armenia, Bulgaria and Georgia; former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, former Irish Ambassador to Israel

Heledd Fychan (History and Political Science, 2003); Plaid Cymru MS (Member of the Senedd) for South Wales Central, 2021–.

Carmel Galvin (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1990); Senior Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Autodesk, San Francisco.

Gary Gannon (History and Political Science, 2012); Social Democrats TD for Dublin Central 2020–.

David Gavaghan (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1980); Belfast Climate Commissioner, Northern Ireland Chair of Confederation of British Industry 2016–18, Chief Executive of Belfast's Titanic Quarter 2012–15.

Paul Gillespie (History and Political Science, 1960s); Irish Times columnist and former foreign policy editor.

Brian Goff (BESS, Political Science and Sociology, 1981); co-founder and director Emerald Green Baby Ltd, former managing director of La Croissanterie, co-founder of Insomnia Coffee Company, chairman Clontarf Rugby Club 2011–14.

Will Goodbody (BESS, Political Science, 1999); RTÉ Business Editor, formerly the station's Science and Technology Correspondent.

Olwyn Hanrahan (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2000); Head of Business Architecture, Allied Irish Banks.

Mary Harney (BESS, 1975); TD 1981 to 2011, Tánaiste 1997–2006, former leader of Progressive Democrats and government minister.

Anna Harrington (History and Political Science, 2014); medical doctor specialising in geriatrics, England.

Brian Harvey (History and Political Science, 1975); space writer, author and broadcaster.

Seán Haughey (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1985); Lord Mayor of Dublin 1989–90, Fianna Fáil TD 1992–2011 and from 2016–, and Minister of State 2006–11.

Conor Healy (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1994); Senior Risk Management Officer in the Economics and Policy Group of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank Group.

Christine Heffernan (History and Political Science, 2001); Group Communications Director, Tesco, previously Director of Corporate Affairs Tesco Ireland.

Macartan Humphreys (History and Political Science, 1994); Professor of Political Science, Columbia University, New York; director Institutions and Political Inequality unit at WZB, Berlin.

Lorna Jennings (History and Political Science, 2005); managing director, Dublin, for Hanover Communications.

Orla Keane (BESS, Political Science and Sociology, 2002); Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland, Washington DC since September 2021.

Darragh Kelly (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1991); stage, screen and TV actor (The House, Judge John Deed, Young Indiana Chronicles, Paths to Freedom and many others).

Nan Kennelly (BESS, Political Science, 1981); Assistant Chief of Protocol for Diplomatic Affairs, US State Department.

Garrett Keogh (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1978); screen, film and TV actor (RawEast EndersThe Clinic and many others).

Desmond King (BESS, Political Science, 1979); Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government and Professorial Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Scott LaValla (Philosophy and Political Science, 2011); rugby player Stade Français 2011–15.

Mark Little (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1990); CEO and co-founder of Kinzen; former managing director of Twitter in Ireland (2016); former CEO of Storyful, former presenter of RTÉ's Prime Time.

James Lloyd (History and Political Science, 2003); managing director and Asia-Pacific head of Spring by Citi.

Clayton Love (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1986); Managing and Creative Director at Sentrix Global Health Communications Europe.

Fiach MacConghail (BESS, Political Science and Sociology, 1988); CEO of The Digital Hub, Director Abbey Theatre 2005–16, chairperson of the We The Citizens initiative 2011, member of Seanad Éireann 2011–16.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic (History and Political Science, 2003); Foreign Affairs correspondent, Irish Times, author of The Supreme Court (2016).

Elizabeth McCullough (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1988); Irish Ambassador to Denmark, 2021–; formerly Director, EU strategic policy, Department of the Taoiseach, and Head of Press Office, Embassy of Ireland, London.

Gail McElroy (History and Political Science, 1994); Professor in Political Science and Dean of Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity College Dublin from 2019.

Gavin McLoughlin (Law and Political Science, 2013); broadcaster and deputy business editor at Newstalk.

Kieran McLoughlin (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1988); President and Chief Executive of American Ireland Fund 2010–18.

Luke McManus (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1994); film director and producer.

Hamish MacRae (Political Science and Economics, 1966); commentator at and former associate editor of The Independent, UK Business and Finance Journalist of the Year 2006.

Nichola Mallon (BESS, Political Science, 2002); SDLP member of Belfast City Council 2010–15, Lord Mayor of Belfast 2014–15, MLA for Belfast North from 2016 to 2022, Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure from January 2020 to May 2022.

Shane Martin (BESS, Political Science, 1996); Anthony King Professor in Comparative Government, University of Essex.

David Meredith (BESS, Political Science, 1981); Director of the Irish Board of Speech and Drama.

Angie Mezzetti (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1981); broadcaster and producer, former journalist RTÉ.

Sara Morris (BESS, Political Science, 1989); Head of Communications in Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Oliver Morrissey (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1982); Professor of Development Economics, University of Nottingham.

Ed Mulhall (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1978); Managing Director of RTE News and Current Affairs 2001–12.

Vinay Nair (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 2000); CEO and founder of Lightful, a social media management platform for the beyond-profit sector, specialising in philanthropic fundraising.

Kevin Norton (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2002); Partner, Deloitte Ireland.

Simon Nugent (BESS, Political Science, 1987); independent consultant; former CEO Private Hospitals Association; former policy advisor to Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte from 2011 until July 2014.

Seán Ó Huallacháin (BESS, Political Science, 1982); Senior Counsel, Law Library.

Seán Ó Riain (BESS, Political Science and Sociology, 1990); Professor of Sociology NUI Maynooth.

Joanna O'Riordan (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1995); Research Officer, Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and editor of the IPA journal Administration.

Averil Power (BESS, Political Science and Business, 2000); Chief Executive Irish Cancer Society; previously CEO of Asthma Society of Ireland, Independent Senator (formerly Fianna Fáil) 2011–16 on Industrial and Commercial panel.

Simon Pratt (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1987); managing director of Avoca.

Mario Rosenstock (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1993); actor and comedian (Gift Grub, The Mario Rosenstock Show, The Special One and many others).

Grainne Saunders (BESS, Political Science and Business, 1999); Global Marketing Manager, William Grant & Sons.

Marie Sherlock (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 2004); Labour Party Senator 2020–, previously economist, SIPTU.

Patrick Smyth (BESS, Political Science, 1979); Irish Times writer (former Europe Editor, Foreign Editor, Opinion Editor, Washington correspondent).

Joanne Spain (Philosophy and Political Science, 2002); novelist (as Jo Spain: With our Blessing and other in the DI Reynolds series, The Confession (2018), Dirty Little Secrets (2019) and many other best-sellers); former Sinn Féin economic advisor.

Linda Specht (BESS, Political Science, 1982); US diplomat, foreign policy advisor with US Strategic Command.

Dato Albert Talalla (History and Political Science, 1957); former Malaysian Ambassador to the United States.

Etain Tannam (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1987); Associate Professor, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin.

Oisín Tansey (BESS, Political Science, 2000); Professor of International Politics, King's College London.

Fiona Tierney (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1983); non-executive director eir Ireland, Irish Management Institute, Trocaire and others, former CEO Public Appointments Service 2012–18.

Robert Walpole (BESS, Political Science and Economics, 1988); film producer (eg I Went Down), co-founder of Treasure Films, winner of an IFTA award 2010 for The Eclipse.

Alex White (BESS, Political Science, 1981); Senior Counsel; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from July 2014 to May 2016; runner-up in Labour Party leadership election July 2014; Minister of State in the Department of Health October 2012 to July 2014; Labour TD for Dublin South 2011–16; former radio and television producer at RTÉ.

Stephen White (Political Science and Modern History, 1967); Emeritus James Bryce Professor of Politics at University of Glasgow, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Applied Politics in Moscow, Fellow of the British Academy, the most prolific author on Russian and Soviet themes in these islands, Prof White died in November 2023.

Note: The information in this page is based on the most recent information available to us. The department would be pleased to hear of any updates, amendments, or notable omissions, as well as any news about alumni; please send these to the department's Executive Officer at