Irish Institute Alumnus, Mr. Ruairi McKiernan, and former Fulbright Commission Member, Prof. Gearoid O Tuathaigh, were named as Presidential appointees to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins.

The Council of State is the body established under the Constitution to advise the President in the exercise of his powers. Presidents can convene the council to consider legislation, but are not bound by its recommendations.

Aside from the seven appointed members, former presidents, taoisigh and chief justices sit on the council, along with ex officio members.

Mr. Ruairi McKiernan is founder of the national youth organisation He is also a founder and organiser of the Possibilities 2011 Social Summit.  He is a committed community activist and social entrepreneur.  He has received numerous awards for his work, including a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award, a Net Visionary Award, and a Junior Chambers International Award.  After eight years as chief executive of, he recently stepped down to develop new social innovations.  Mr. McKiernan participated in the ‘Education for Citizenship’ program hosted by Boston College’s Irish Institute in January 2010.

Prof. Gearoid O Tuathaigh is professor emeritus in history at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  He is also a former dean of arts and member of the Irish Fulbright Commission.  He is an established author – in both English and Irish – and has published widely on modern Irish history.