Niamh Hodnett to become Ireland’s first online safety commissioner

18 Jan 2023

Image: © Oulaphone/

A solicitor by profession, Hodnett joins three others in being appointed to Coimisiún na Meán, the body that replaces the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Niamh Hodnett is set to be appointed Ireland’s inaugural online safety commissioner.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, TD announced yesterday (17 January) the names of individuals she intends to appoint to the new Coimisiún na Meán after the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act was signed into law last month.

Jeremy Godfrey, current chair of Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, has been named executive chair of Coimisiún na Meán. Meanwhile, Rónán Ó Domhnaill will be media development commissioner and Celene Craig will be broadcasting commissioner.

The Online Safety and Media Regulation Act is designed to regulate online services and reduce the availability of harmful content. It was approved by the Government in January 2022.

The Act will dissolve the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and establish Coimisiún na Meán as the body responsible for overseeing the regulation of broadcasting and video-on-demand services and introducing the new regulatory framework for online safety.

“Coimisiún na Meán will be central to safeguarding all of us, and in particular children, as we interact with and use online spaces,” said Martin.

“It will also have a central role in ensuring the media sector here in Ireland remains viable, independent and capable of delivering public service objectives by implementing many of the recommendations made by the Future of Media Commission.”

All four named individuals will take up their duties in mid-February and their upcoming appointments follow an open competition run by the Public Appointments Service.

Hodnett is a solicitor by profession. She has previously worked as the chief legal and regulatory officer of the National Lottery since April 2022. Before that, she held various legal and regulatory roles at Three Ireland, ComReg, Matheson and An Post.

As online safety commissioner, she will be empowered to hold online services to account for “how they tackle the availability of some of the most serious forms of harmful online content” and oversee the introduction of an individual complaints mechanism.

“Jeremy, Niamh, Rónán and Celene will bring a wealth of professional experience and regulatory expertise to their roles,” Martin said.

Godfrey said that he will work with the other commissioners to “ensure a thriving, safe and diverse online and media landscape” in Ireland.

“In particular, it will be a priority that citizens in Ireland and across the European Union should have a high level of protection from illegal and harmful content,” he said.

“We look forward to putting in place robust and effective regulatory mechanisms, as well as expanded broadcast and media funding schemes, so that we achieve these goals.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic