Niamh Lenehan has been appointed to the position of CEO-designate for An Rialálaí Agraibhia (The Agri-Food Regulator), a new, “soon-to-be established” independent statutory office.
The Meath native’s appointment, which the DAFM has announced this week, follows a “competitive” Public Appointments Service (PAS) recruitment process.
Lenehan will commence her position on an interim basis as head of the Unfair Trading Practices Enforcement Authority based in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
She will formally become CEO-designate of An Rialálaí Agraibhia on the enactment of the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill and will become CEO on its establishment day.
An Rialálaí Agraibhia, under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will have two primary functions:
- A price and market analysis and reporting function;
- A regulatory enforcement function concerning the enforcement of prohibited unfair trading practices.
Niamh has extensive experience working in the public sector, where her roles have encompassed quality assurance and regulation in both the education and the personal insolvency sectors.
Her most recent professional role has been with the Insolvency Service of Ireland, where she has led initiatives in the areas of policy and regulation.
She also previously held management roles with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).
Niamh has a doctoral degree in education from Maynooth University in addition to qualifications in Agricultural Science (Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science from University College Dublin and a Master’s Degree from Kansas State University, USA).
She also holds a professional certificate in Corporate Governance from the Institute of Public Administration.
The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill, which establishes the new office, is currently at Report Stage in Dáil Éireann, according to the DAFM.
The enabling provisions in the Bill will provide for the transfer of responsibility of Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) enforcement functions from the Department’s UTP Enforcement Authority to the remit of An Rialálaí Agraibhia, which is expected to occur at the time of commencement of the Act.
According to the DAFM, the Bill provides for mechanisms for the regulator to examine and make recommendations on any aspect of the agri-food supply chain, including the collection and analysis of price and market data to improve transparency and address information gaps in the supply chain.
In a statement, the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said:
“I am delighted to announce that Niamh Lenehan will be the CEO-designate of An Rialálaí Agraibhia.”
“In Niamh, I believe we have found a tremendous professional who brings all the skills and experience to be a success as the first CEO of the soon-to-be established Agri-Food Regulator office.”
“This is a really important role, and it will be a very influential part of our entire agri-food sector in the coming years.”
“Niamh has strong agriculture and farming links as well as being a success in regulatory and policy roles in her career. I wish her well in her new post,” the minister concluded.