Tom Dowling.

New appointment for former county manager, Tom Dowling

The former Meath county manager, Tom Dowling, has been elected chairman of the Board of the Discovery Programme - Centre for Archaeology and Innovation. Mr Dowling, of Oberstown, Tara, took up the position following nomination by the Heritage Council.

Mr Dowling, a Laois native, is a former chief executive of Meath and Carlow County Councils, having held senior management positions in Dun Laoghaire Borough Council and Clare County Council. He is a Chartered Director with extensive corporate governance experience. In his time in local government and following retirement, he has had a keen focus on community development, particularly as chair and founder of Co-operation Ireland’s Pride of Place competition. He has also engaged with the community and business sector as chair and advisor to Bank of Ireland’s Enterprising Towns Awards.

The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland is a publicly funded institution set up to pursue advanced research in Irish archaeology. The Discovery Programme’s mission is to identify research themes crucial to interpreting the archaeology of Ireland's prehistoric and historic past and to generate dynamic research around these themes. It conducts that research to the highest academic and technological standards and engages in appropriate cross-disciplinary discourse with cognate disciplines to address research questions. It disseminates the findings of its research widely to scholars and the public.

The Discovery Programme is primarily funded by an annual core grant from the Heritage Council. Current areas of activity involve the production of an analysis of surveys undertaken on the Hill of Tara in the past 15 years and implementing the CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) EU funded project.

Speaking on his election, Mr Dowling stated: “Having worked with and listened to communities all over Ireland I am always reminded that heritage and archaeology provide powerful sources of pride and inspiration for everyone. I am looking forward to leading the Discovery Programme in enhancing our understanding of Ireland’s past through the study of its archaeology, sites and monuments, and sharing that understanding with as wide an audience as possible.”

Virginia Teehan, chief executive of the Heritage Council said: "We were delighted to nominate a chair with such experience of corporate and community leadership. From his time as a local authority chief executive we know that he has a strong interest and commitment to Ireland’s heritage. His leadership will help the Discovery Programme with its work programme and in strengthening its research on Ireland’s archaeological resource. I also want to pay tribute to the acting chair, Mr Paul Walsh for his dedication and fine work in the past year."

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