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Irish People in the EU

There are Irish people working throughout every level of the European Union, in addition to those working in the Irish Representations of the Commission and the Parliament.

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Ciarán Nicholl
Ispra Sector Head, Internal and External Communications Unit, Programmes and Stakeholders Relations Directorate, Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Originally from Aughavas, Co. Leitrim.

About your job: Managing and coordinating communications activities from events management (e.g. VIP visits, exhibitions, workshops, etc) to producing publications (e.g. JRC annual report, brochures, flyers, posters, etc) and setting and contributing to the unit's strategic objectives. Multi-national working environment and the fact that our independent S&T work helps provide stability and peace in the EU. We are extremely dynamic with several projects (tasks) running in parallel.

Why the EU? I believe in the EU and its vital role in ensuring sustainable peace and stability in Europe. Communicating the work of the European Commission is very much needed. Recent referenda on the constitution have shown that people simply do not know what the EU and its institutions are doing. Communicating science and technology is also a challenge, but with my scientific background, I believe I can help 'translate' complex scientific issues into easily understandable messages.

How do you think Ireland has benefited most from the EU? I think the structural funds (and the wise and intelligent use of them) helped kick-start the Celtic Tiger.

Based: Ispra in Italy (north of Milan on the banks of the Lago Maggiore – beautiful place!)

Languages: German - I had a very good basis from Moyne Community School in Longford and afterwards I lived in Germany for 5 years. I did my PhD (at Heidelberg University) through German.
Dutch - lived in northern Belgium for 7 years
French (basic) - lived in Brussels for 4 years
Italian (basic) - I moved to Italy 1.5 years ago
Irish - used to be fluent but unfortunately I never get to practise

Books/Music: Music album: this varies with mood and time - at this very moment (morning) I'd play Andrea Bottchelli's greatest hits but this evening I might choose U2 or the Doors or Air or….