John Callinan is set to become Ireland’s most powerful civil servant following his appointment as secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach and secretary general to the Government.
The Cabinet approved the appointment on Tuesday on the recommendation of the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, with the dual role making Mr Callinan the country’s top civil servant from May 3rd.
He will replace Martin Fraser, who has completed 11 years in the role and will become ambassador to London this summer.
Mr Callinan has served as the second secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach since 2016, with responsibility for the International and EU Affairs Division and the Britain/Northern Ireland Division including the Shared Island Unit.
During this time he was the Taoiseach’s “sherpa” (senior EU advisor) and he played a key role in the Brexit negotiations.
Mr Callinan joined the Department of the Taoiseach in 1998, and has been a member of the department’s management board since he was appointed assistant secretary general in 2007.
He has worked closely with five successive taoisigh and has held leadership positions across all major policy areas of the Department.
Prior to joining the Taoiseach’s department, Mr Callinan worked in a number of areas of the Revenue Commissioners. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he also spent four years at the European Commission in Brussels.