THE Irish Government has appointed two new officers to oversee engagement with and the preservation of Irish culture in Britain and the US.
The Cultural Officer positions, which fall under the Irish government’s Global Ireland 2025 Strategy, will be taken up by Kelly O’Connor in London and Nik Quaife in New York.
The posts were announced by Ireland’s Minister for Culture and the Arts, Catherine Martin this week.
Ms Martin's department confirmed: “The core mandate of these two new positions is to enhance the promotion of Irish arts and culture in the US and Britain, working to achieve the strategic objectives of Culture Ireland in the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and of the Department of Foreign Affairs.”
Minister Martin explained: “These appointments will play a key part in enhancing cultural promotion, collaboration and exchange, and strengthening cultural engagement with our diaspora.
“They will provide a hugely valuable new resource for Irish artists, arts organisations and cultural institutions in supporting their international ambitions.”
Ms O’Connor, the Cultural Officer for Great Britain, who will be based in London, is the founder of Irish Film London.
She is also a member of the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Community Advisory Board.
Welcoming her appointment this week, Irish Ambassador to Britain, Adrian O’Neill, said: “The Embassy has always been delighted to host cultural events showcasing the wonderful talent of Irish artists.
"With Kelly’s appointment, we plan to broaden and deepen that cultural offering in the years ahead.”
Mr Quaife has worked with many of Ireland’s leading artists and arts organisations since 1999, including through his own arts PR company.
He has also worked for ten years with the Irish Arts Center NYC in various roles in marketing, PR and fundraising.
Commenting on the new roles, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “This new partnership initiative between our two departments will help enrich our key bilateral relationships with Britain and the United States, and increase Ireland’s visibility, reach and reputation on the global stage.”
The positions, which were advertised nationally and internationally earlier this year, attracted extensive interest.
Four other priority locations for the appointment of Cultural Officers, which were specified in the Global Ireland 2025 framework, were Beijing, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo.
Additional locations may also be added.
The timing for these further recruitments is under ongoing consideration.