Originally from a small rural village called Carraig na bhFear in Co. Cork, I came to Dublin to study 19 years ago, fell in love with a Donegal man and decided to stay!
My primary degree is in economics and political science from TCD and I have a MPhil in Regional, Urban and Environmental Economics (Land Economy) from Cambridge University. In 2005, I worked for the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. Upon returning to Ireland in 2006, I worked for DKM Economic Consultants and in 2007 I joined the Research Department in SIPTU; Ireland’s largest trade union.
I have served as a member of the Government’s Labour Market Council and the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare for the Minister of Social Protection. I was a member of the CSO’s High Level Consultative Group on the reporting of the National Accounts in 2016. This was established to propose new national accounting metrics and was chaired by Central Bank Governor Philip Lane. In 2015, I took a year out to work for the Labour Party in Government to head up the development of the party’s general election manifesto.
Prior to be being elected a senator, I was SIPTU’s Head of Equality and Policy. My work mainly covered macroeconomic and fiscal policy, labour market and economic regulatory issues. I also have a special interest in housing and health policy.
I have spoken at a host of national and international conferences, debates and seminars and press conferences hosted by trade union and public policy organisations such as the European Commission, Women in Tech, the ICTU, ETUC, GMB, NERI, the World Bank, Magill Summer School, Oireachtas committees and at Irish Government events during its hosting of the Presidency of the EU amongst others, on issues such as the Irish economy, the gender pay gap, public services and the European economic and political crisis.
I have spent more than a decade living, working and campaigning in the Dublin Central constituency and in 2019, I was honoured to be elected to represent the Cabra-Glasnevin ward on Dublin City Council.
I live in Phibsborough with my husband Ciarán and our children.