Emily O'Reilly

Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman, EU (keynote address)

Emily O’Reilly was elected as the European Ombudsman in 2013. She is an author and former journalist and broadcaster who became Ireland’s first female Ombudsman in 2003 and in 2007 she was also appointed Commissioner for Environmental Information and Freedom of Information Commissioner.

As former political editor, broadcaster and author, her career attracted significant domestic and international recognition including a Harvard University Fellowship in 1988 and multiple national awards.

She has written three critically acclaimed books on Irish politics and media and is a current member of the International Advisory Board of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.
Ms O’Reilly is a graduate of University College Dublin with a Degree in European Languages and Literature (1979) and holds a Graduate Diploma in Education from Trinity College Dublin (1980). She was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Laws by the National University in Ireland in 2008 for her work in promoting human rights throughout her career as a journalist and through her work as Ombudsman. In 2014 she was conferred a second time with an Honorary Doctorate of Law from University College Dublin in Ireland.

In the course of her journalistic career, she won two awards: Journalist of the Year and Woman Journalist of the Year.

Ms O’Reilly is a keen plain language advocate. In 2006 she launched NALA’s Plain English Mark. She addressed several conferences on the theme of plain language where she highlighted how its lack contributed to inefficiencies and distress for users of her Office and public services.