Minister Patrick O’Donovan, TD
Minister of State, Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
A native of Newcastle West in Co. Limerick, Minister O’Donovan was elected to the Dáil at his first attempt in February 2011. Prior to becoming a TD, he qualified and worked as an industrial chemist before then qualifying as a teacher. He served as a member of Limerick County Council from 2003 to 2011. Following Minister O’Donovan’s election to the Dáil in 2011 he was selected to be a member of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, whose role it is to promote co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland and build on the close relationships established in recent years between politicians throughout Britain and Ireland. During the 31st Dáil the Taoiseach also appointed him to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Transport and Communications, and the Public Accounts Committee. Minister O’Donovan was re- elected to the 32nd Dáil in February 2016 and was appointed by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD as the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport. In June 2017 he was appointed Minister of State at the Departments of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD.
Iain Patterson
Chief Officer, UK Cloud and former Director, Common Technology Services, Digital Government Services
Iain Patteron is Chief Digital Officer, UK Cloud which is the primary high security cloud partner of choice for the Public Sector, including Central government, NHS and Local Government Iain is the former Director of Common Technology Services, Digital Government Service (UK) Iain was the Director of Common Technology Services at the Government Digital Service and was responsible for working with government departments to provide the right technology that helps the public sector deliver great services. Technology that meets user needs makes cross-government collaboration easier and costs less. Technology that will help civil servants to work more flexibly and efficiently. During his time as director of CTS, Patterson created a central source on standards and best practice for internal government IT for the unbundling and exiting of large technology contracts, as well as providers of common tech solutions and routes to market. Iain was seconded to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority in 2013, where he was Chief Technology Officer, leading their digital transformation. This included making the Tax Disc Digital and successfully exiting a 12 year outsourced IT contract bringing both the responsibility and capability for managing the IT back in house.
Ruth Buckley

Head of ICT and Business Services, Cork City Council

Ruth is currently Head of ICT and Business Services for Cork City council a large urban local authority in southern Ireland which serves a diverse population of 230,000 people. She has worked in a variety of change management and strategic leadership roles over a 25 year period in both the private and public sector. She is also currently Deputy Chief Executive for Cork City Council. Over the last 10 years Ruth has held a number of leadership roles in other organisations including, Vice president of the Major Cities of Europe, Chair of the Heads of Information Systems Liaison group and has recently stepped down as Chair of the Cork Smart Gateway. The gateway is collaboration between Tyndall Research Institute, Nimbus and both Cork local authorities., Ruth is also a founder member of the Water systems and services innovation centre based in Nimbus. In 2015 Ruth co-founded the ‘I wish’ not for profit organisation with two business women, Caroline O’Driscoll Partner with KPMG and Gillian Keating Partner with RDJ. See . This year over 4000 transition year students attended two events (Cork and Dublin) designed to introduce young girls to careers opportunities in STEM via an interactive exhibition featuring STEM employers and role models. Her career has spanned both private and public sectors and her education includes a BSc in Computer Science from University College Cork and an MBA from Henley Management College. She is PMP and IPMA certified for over 18 years and studied leadership in state and local government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Robert Watt
Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Robert Watt is Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. The Department has responsibility for public expenditure policy, capital spending and Public Private Partnerships and overall management and reform of the Irish public service. With the Department of Finance it manages the budget process and advises the Government on economic and budget policy. Robert is leading a major public sector reform programme in areas such as procurement, shared services, digitalisation and civil service renewal. The Department is responsible for the Government’s open and transparency agenda and is leading on the reforms of the Freedom of Information Act, Regulation of Lobbyists, Whistleblowers and the Open Data Partnership. The Department is also driving the Civil Service renewal project which aims to modernize the Irish Civil Service. Robert is an economist and has experience in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in a range of roles within the Department of Finance as well as previously working as an Economic consultant. He is a member of the board of the NTMA.
Cathal Ryan
Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Ireland
Cathal Ryan is an Assistant Commissioner with the Office of the Data Protection CommissionerIreland. A qualified lawyer with significant commercial and regulatory experience Cathal heads up the Office’s Public Sector and Health Consultation Unit. This Unit is responsible for overseeing the Office’s function of proactively providing data protection awareness and best practice guidance to all public and health sector bodies to ensure their activities are carried out in compliance with data protection law. Cathal is also a member of the Article 29 Working Party Group and regularly contributes to published opinions in respect of data privacy and processing of personal data. His current areas of involvement include data protection impact assessments and codes of conduct under the General Data Protection Regulation.
Jos Creese
“The most influential and innovative CIO in the UK” and former public sector CIO
Jos has worked for county, district and unitary councils as well as central government. For over a decade until 2015 he was CIO and CDO for Hampshire County Council. He is a past president of both Socitm and the the BCS (2015), the Chartered Institute for IT. Jos worked on national government digital programmes and has led large-scale mergers, international IT programmes and the start-up and subsequent sale of a tech business. His work has included developing technology, information and digital strategies across the public sector, especially to support transformation and shared Services underpinned by commercial models. In 2010 he was listed as the ‘most influential and innovative CIO’ in the UK in the ‘Silicon 50’ CIO survey and included in the ‘Top 100 CIO’ list since its inception until becoming a consultant. Having held various CIO and non-executive director positions, Jos is now an independent consultant, providing expert advice to public and private sectors on digital and IT strategy – helping the public and the private sectors to work better together. This includes helping local public service to sharpen their commercial and business practice, and helping the private sector to understand what is needed in a fast-changing public sector.
Richard Corbridge
CIO, Health Service Executive
Richard Corbridge is a globally recognised expert in healthcare strategy and technology, with over 20 years experience in the Health and Clinical Research Information sectors. Richard has a passion for business change and benefits management in health and very much insists on a focus on engagement and benefits being brought to technology implementation. Since December 2014, Richard has been the Chief Information Officer for the Health Service Executive in Ireland and Chief Executive Officer for eHealth Ireland. In these two years, Richard has implemented a unique identifier for health, fully digitized the referral process, put in place Irelands first clinical information officers council, began the first epilepsy genomic sequencing programme globally, started the implementation of a national lab system and a national maternity EHR. He has also brought a focus to the delivery of a number of key strategic programmes including the beginning of ePharmacy for Ireland, digital cancer care and a cloud first strategy. He has also managed a reform of the Irish healthcare technology system that has seen a plethora of awards and recognitions for the team. All of this with a budget of just 1.2% of the Irish spend on healthcare. Before that, Richard led the delivery of a wide range of systems and processes in the NHS with a focus to aid the provision of healthcare and clinical research. These ranged from the first primary care messaging system in the NHS, to the modernisation of the information systems’ infrastructure for the delivery of clinical research throughout England. For the last three years Richard has been named in the top ten most influential CIOs in Europe list by CIO magazine. He was listed by Computer Weekly as the rising star of the IT Industry at the end of 2015 and in 2016 he was named ‘Person of the year’ by Ireland’s Tech Excellence magazine. In 2016 he was listed in the top 25 in the global HIT100 list, as well as being listed in the top 100 global influencers for digital health by Hot Topics magazine. Richard was named by the Huffington Post as one of the most ‘Social CIOs’.
Arjan El Fassed
executive director, Open State Foundation, Netherlands
Arjan El Fassed is executive director of Open State Foundation, a leading digital transparency organization in the Netherlands. Open State Foundation opens up public information as open data and makes it accessible to re-users. El Fassed is an advisor to Online Censorship that seeks to encourage social tech companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as they make decisions that regulate speech. Arjan is a former member of parliament in the Netherlands. He is an expert on open data, internet politics and civic tech. He lead advocacy both at international humanitarian agencies such as Oxfam International as well as human rights organisations in the Middle East. He is the author of ‘Niet iedereen kan stenen gooien’ (Not everyone can throw stones -2008), and was engaged with successful online initiatives and was placed on Twitter’s suggested user list which earned him more than 200k followers.
Barry Lowry
CIO, Irish Government
Barry Lowry has been the Chief Information Officer for the Irish Government since April 2016 with the primary task of taking forward the Public Service ICT Strategy, which sets out ambitions for developing the use of shared services, digital services and data to better serve the people of Ireland. Barry was previously the Director for IT Shared Services and Strategy and Head of the IT Profession within the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Barry has worked in ICT within Government for more than 30 years and has been involved in a host of challenging ICT projects and initiatives including the first Northern Ireland Driver Licensing and Planning Application computer systems, the NI Animal and Public Health Information System and the creation of IT Assist, the award-winning ICT shared service centre for the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Barry is a Fellow of the Irish and British Computer Societies and in 2011 was chosen as the BCS Northern Ireland IT Professional of the Year.
Tim Willoughby
Head of Digital Services, An Garda Síochána
Tim Willoughby is Head of Digital Services and Innovation at An Garda Siochana. He is responsible for the Mobility Programme and has responsibility for Enterprise Architecture. Tim has previously worked in the Local Government Sector in a number of Senior Management and Technical Roles initially starting as Civil Engineer. Tim has a Masters in Innovation from the University of Ulster.
Seamus Carroll
Head of the Data Protection Unit, Department of Justice
Seamus Carroll is Head of the Data Protection Unit in the Civil Law Reform Division of the Department of Justice and Equality. He represented Ireland during the EU Working Group negotiations on data protection reform which resulted in the General Data Protection Regulation and the Law Enforcement Directive. He has acted as Chair of EU and Council of Europe Working Groups on data protection issues.
Brendan Dowling
CEO, Consumer Data Protection
Brendan Dowling is the Founder and CEO of Consumer Data Protection, the world’s first Consumer Data Protection (CDP) cloud technology, that allows Consumers take control of their personal data and relationships with Enterprise, while allowing Enterprise to freely engage with Consumers, across various communications channels, while being compliant with the latest Data Protection legislation (GDPR). Brendan is a serial technology entrepreneur in the telecoms and media industry, having built and exited a number of internationally traded companies, such as imagine mobile (the first MVNO) and DVM (one of the first mobile digital content stores). Brendan is well known for his thought leadership on technology innovation and is a regular speaker at conferences, business schools and government sponsored events. He is a member of the Global Irish Economic Forum and author of “Accelerating Company Growth”. Brendan qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG Dublin, then moved to PWC London, he holds an MBA from UCD and a B. Comm from UCC and has been a serial entrepreneur for over 30 years.
Derek Hynes
Operations Manager, ESB Networks

Derek is the Operations Manager for ESB Networks. He graduated in 2000 from Trinity as an electrical engineer. He has worked for 17 years in ESB Networks across a range of roles. He has post graduate qualifications for IPA, City and Guilds and DCU. As Operations Manager he is responsible for the safe operation of the electricity network in Ireland. He is responsible for the management of ESB Networks Distribution Control Centres and the operational IT systems that are used to monitor the status of the network. He is the ESB Networks representative on the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group. He is also responsible for the Future Networks team who are working on delivering a more sustainable and reliable electricity network.

Hugh O’Connell
Political Correspondent, Sunday Business Post
Hugh O’Connell is political correspondent with the Sunday Business Post. He is the former political editor of and has previously worked for BBC Radio 4, FIFA, and Newstalk. He holds a BA First Class Honours degree in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University. A regular contributor to television and radio, he also occasionally lectures in journalism.
Alex Brown
Director, Veritas Technologies
Alex Brown has over 15 years of delivering Information Management and Governance solutions and services to the market many of which have been spent with Veritas. During this time he has held a number of consultancy and product management positions giving him a unique view of how Veritas customers and the wider market has evolved its needs and demands. He has spent a considerable amount of this time visiting customers and gaining insight into their concerns and using that to guide product engineering efforts. Alex is currently responsible for helping Veritas customers figure out how to solve some of the governance problems that GDPR compliance will raise.
Patricia Doyle
Head of Content Design, Digital Cabinet Office, UK