Irish president appoints seven members to Council of State
Irish President Michael D Higgins has announced seven new appointments to the Council of State (an Chomhairle Stáit).
The Council of State is established by the Constitution of Ireland.
The new appointments include traveller rights activist Dr Sindy Joyce who recently became the first from her community in Ireland to gain a PhD.
Also included is disability activist Sinéad Burke, who was named by British Vogue as one of the 25 most influential women in 2018.
The seven new members, announced on Thursday, will work as advisers to the president for his second term.
They council has the authority to provide for the temporary exercise of the duties of the president, in the event that these cannot be exercised by either the president or the presidential commission.
They sit alongside a number of people including current and former taoisigh, former Irish presidents, the chief justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke and the Attorney-General Séamus Woulfe SC.
Ms Burke said on Twitter that she was "incredibly honoured" to have been included in the new appointments.
She added that she was looking forward to "amplifying voices on issues of equality, access and education".
Other appointees include Dr Cara Augustenborg, a fellow in environmental policy at University College Dublin and former journalist and Irish language commissioner Sean Ó Cuirreáin.
Rev Dr Johnston McMaster, a Methodist minister and assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin, is also appointed. He is a regular contributor to 'Thought for the Day' on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.
Dr Mary Murphy, senior lecturer at Maynooth University also joins the council.
The seventh new appointment is Maurice Malone, chief executive of the Birmingham Irish Association.