eamon gilmore 15

Eamon Gilmore

  • Senior European Diplomat
  • Former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland (Tánaiste)
  • Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Former Leader of the Irish Labour Party
  • Member of Parliament (TD) for 27 years
  • Extensive experience in international organisations, national and local government and with civil society and business organisations. Unique knowledge, from every perspective, of decision-making, strategic planning, communications, and crisis management. A successful mediator.
  • Academic experience.  Author of two books.

About Eamon Gilmore 

As EU Special Representative for Human Rights (March 2029 - February 2024), he has met Presidents, Prime Ministers and senior Government officials, from all parts of the world, to discuss and progress one of the most sensitive and difficult topics in international relations. He has represented and spoken for the EU at Ministerial Meetings and at multilateral fora such as the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council. He has been centrally involved in the EU’s responses to crises including Ukraine, Middle East, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Belarus and many others. He guided the implementation of the EU’s 5-year Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which has a budget of 1.5 billion Euro, and, for the first time, a Global Sanctions regime. He was also involved with the development of new EU legislation on Human Rights Due Diligence for business; and for Digital Services and Markets and Artificial Intelligence.

As EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia (October 2015 - February 2024), he has worked with three Colombian Presidents and Governments, of widely differing political persuasions,  firstly at the negotiation of the 2016 Peace Agreement which ended one of the world’s bloodiest conflicts, and then on its  implementation. This included the successful reintegration into society, of former guerrillas, through projects funded by the EU; and the establishment of the world’s most innovative and effective system of Transitional Justice.  He has engaged with, and earned the confidence of, former combatants, business leaders, the international community and civil society over the past 8 years and he has been formally honoured by the Colombian Government for his efforts.



  • Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister)  (2011-2014)
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade  (2011-2014)
  • Minister of State for the Marine  (1994-1997)
  • Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament) (1989-2016)

As Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), he shared the leadership of the two-party Coalition Government which brought Ireland out of its worst recession, to become the fastest growing economy in the EU and one of the most successful in the world. He also led social and constitutional reform, including Same-Sex Marriage (approved by referendum), and legislation on abortion, divorce and other personal freedoms.

As Foreign Minister, he managed the Northern Ireland Peace Process and improved British-Irish relations (he was responsible for organising the late Queen Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland and for the return State Visit by the President of Ireland to the UK). He led the restoration of Ireland’s international reputation following the financial/economic crash; updated Ireland’s foreign policy, expanded Ireland’s diplomatic presence in the world and encouraged the appointment of women ambassadors. He renewed Ireland’s strategy on Development Co-operation and launched new initiatives in Africa.

As Trade Minister, he co-ordinated and led Ireland’s Trade and Investment strategy as a central part of Ireland’s successful exit from the IMF/ECB/EU Bail-Out.

As Marine Minister, he modernised the governance and management of Ireland’s sea-ports, oversaw a massive investment in port and associated infrastructure, and encouraged new shipping activity, to address economic peripherality. He also introduced innovative marine environment legislation and fishery conservation measures, and developed marine research.



  • President of the EU General Affairs Council  (2013)
  • Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)   (2012)
  • Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe  (2004-2007)

As President of the General Affairs Council, he negotiated the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework (the 7 year EU Budget from 2014 to 2021), between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States. The negotiations were particularly challenging during this period of fiscal retrenchment in Europe, and it was also the first time that the Parliament was involved.

As Chair of the OSCE, he gave particular attention to the “frozen conflicts”, negotiated the holding of elections in Kosovo, initiated work on “freedom of speech online” and launched a reflection process on the purpose and future of the OSCE itself.



He led the Labour Party to its greatest ever electoral successes in the General and Presidential Elections of 2011, and in the Local and European Elections of 2009. Following his election as Leader in 2007, he overhauled the organisation and management of the Party, so that for the first time, Labour was organised and contesting elections in every constituency, with its biggest ever membership, and strongest ever financial resources. He led Labour into a Coalition Government in 2011, in order to get Ireland out of the financial crisis and to enable the economy to recover. While this objective eventually succeeded, it required difficult but necessary decisions at the time, many of which were unpopular. Following a decline in Labour support in the Local and European elections of 2014, he resigned the Leadership of the party.



  • Councillor, Dublin County Council  (1985-1993)
  • Councillor, Dun Laoghaire Borough Council (1985-1993)
  • Councillor, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (1993-2003)
  • Chairperson, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Area Committee (1993/1994)

Local Government in Dublin was re-organised in the early 1990s. He was involved as a parliamentarian, in legislating for these reforms; and as a Councillor in implementing them. He chaired the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Area Committee which oversaw and co-ordinated the amalgamation of the Dun Laoghaire  Borough Council with part of the former Dublin Country Council, to create the new Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.



  • Trade Union Branch Secretary   (1978-1989)
  • President, Union of Students in Ireland  (1976-1978)
  • President, University of Galway Students’ Union (1974/1975)

Following a successful period as a Student Union leader, he was recruited by Ireland’s largest trade union (ITGWU) to work as a full-time official, serving initially as Acting Branch Secretary in Galway, and as Branch Secretary in County Kerry (the Union’s biggest industrial branch). In 1981, he was appointed to lead the Professional and Managerial Branch in growing the Union’s organisation and representation of “white-collar” staffs.



  • Adjunct Professor, School of Law and Governance, Dublin City University   (Appointed 2016)
  • Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest. (2017)
  • Visiting Lecturer at several universities and Think-Tanks in UK, US, Ireland and elsewhere on topics including Governance, Economics, Human Rights, Peace Building and Politics.
  • Lecturing at the European Diplomatic Academy, College of Europe, Bruges. (Since 2022)



  • “Leading Lights” (People who’ve inspired me), 2010, Liberties Press
  • “Inside the Room” (The Untold Story of Ireland’s Crisis Government), 2016, Irish Academic Press.



  • Galway University Foundation  (Since 2020)
  • International Advisory Board, Alpbach Forum, Austria  (Since 2020)



  • Honorary Doctorate in Laws, University of Galway  (2017)
  • Legion d’Honneur (Officier), Government of France  (2017)
  • Order of San Carlos (Gran Cruz), Government of Colombia  (2018)
  • “100 Leading Global Thinkers”, Foreign Policy Magazine, Washington DC  (2015)



  • Caltra National School, (through Irish)  (1960-1967)
  • Garbally College, Ballinasloe (scholarship)  (1967-1972)
  • University of Galway (Degree in Psychology)  (1972-1976)
  • Institute of Public Administration, Dublin  (1976/1977)