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Tourism Ireland
Tourism Update

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Karen Sugrue Hennessy and Paul Gallagher appointed to the board of Tourism Ireland
Appointments announced today by the North South Ministerial Council
 Mon 8th April 2024

Pictured: Karen Sugrue Hennessy, CEO of Real Leaf Farm and Paul Gallagher, General Manager of Buswells Hotel in Dublin.

The North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) has today announced the appointment of two new Directors to the board of Tourism Ireland: Karen Sugrue Hennessy as Director and Vice Chairperson and Paul Gallagher as Director. Each will serve a five-year term.

Tourism Ireland’s Chairman Christopher Brooke said: “On behalf of the board of Tourism Ireland, I warmly welcome our two new board members, Karen Sugrue Hennessy and Paul Gallagher. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise and I look forward to working with them as Tourism Ireland continues to increase the value of overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, sustainably supporting economies, communicates and the environment by inspiring visitors and strengthening strategic partnerships. I wish them well in their roles.”

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin, TD said: “I would like to wish both new members well as they undertake important roles in supporting the tourism industry on the island of Ireland. These new appointees bring a considerable depth and breadth of experience, which will be of great benefit in guiding Tourism Ireland in promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a sustainable tourism destination at a time of significant challenges facing the tourism sector.”

The meeting of the North South Ministerial Council also saw the appointment of Alice Mansergh as Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Ireland. Minister Martin said: “I welcome the appointment of Alice as Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Ireland, having filled the position in a designated role since 18 September 2023. Alice brings with her a wealth of experience from both the private sector and from her role on the board of Fáilte Ireland, which I am sure will benefit Tourism Ireland in the years ahead.”

Karen Sugrue Hennessy is the CEO of agri-tech company Real Leaf Farm, which is leading the development of sustainable hydroponic farming in Ireland and the UK. She has a track record of over 25 years of leading organisations and delivering game-changing transformation in both the private and public sector – across food, design, sustainable agritech and finance. She has a strong commitment to sustainability and ESG and is dedicated to driving growth and value for businesses. Karen also has experience in scaling food businesses, having spent nine years in Glanbia plc where she was responsible for acquiring Glanbia’s first nutritional businesses. Karen is a board member of the Port of Waterford (POW) and is Chair of the POW Green Committee and Audit Risk Committee. Previous directorships include Chair of Showcase Ireland Events Limited, Vice-President of the Bureau of European Design Associations and Board Member of Kilkenny Carlow Education Training Board. A qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Director, Karen holds an MBA from UCD Smurfit School and recently completed the Business Sustainability Management programme at the University of Cambridge.

Paul Gallagher is the General Manager of Buswells Hotel in Dublin. He holds an MSc in business and hospitality and is a Fellow of the Irish Hospitality Institute. He is a Past President of the Irish Hotels Federation and past Chairman of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC). Paul chaired Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Partnership and was a member of its Brexit Taskforce. Paul is a non-executive Director of The Convention Centre Dublin and Vice Chairman of Original Irish Hotels. As well as serving on the Government’s Advisory Group on Small Business, he served as a member of Ireland’s Tourism Recovery Taskforce in 2010 and the Grow Dublin Taskforce in 2008. Paul was appointed to the Tourism Recovery Oversight Group by Minister Catherine Martin in November 2020.

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