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Audit Committee

An independent Audit Committee oversees the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s systems of accountability.

What the Audit Committee does

The Audit Committee provides an independent appraisal of our:

  • Risk management and internal control systems
  • Audit and evaluation arrangements

It follows up the recommendations from evaluations and audits and sees that they are implemented.

It also reports to the Secretary General and works with the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The Audit Committee publishes an annual report on its work (Download below).

Audit Committee Members

The Audit Committee’s membership have backgrounds in audit, risk management, overseas development assistance, and public administration. The Committee usually meets at least six times a year.

The current members are:


  • Mr Jim O'Brien (appointed July 2014 and as Chairman with effect from July 2016) is a retired civil servant, having last worked at Second Secretary General level in the Department of Finance


  • Mr Anthony Hegarty (appointed September 2018), retired in 2012, is a Chartered Accountant and is a former Chief Financial Management Officer and Head of the Financial Management Sector Board of the World Bank.
  • Ms Mary Sutton- Mary is former country director for the Republic of Ireland at The Atlantic Philanthropies, and prior to that worked in Irish Aid and Trócaire. Appointed as a Committee member March 2017.
  • Noeline Blackwell (appointed July 2017) is a solicitor and the CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.
  • Mr. Bill Cunningham- Bill is a retired Chartered accountant and former senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bill also chairs the Audit Committee of the Pensions Authority and holds a number of non-executive directorships in the public, not-for-profit and private sectors. Appointed to Committee June 2020.

Download the 2019 Annual Report of the Audit Committee

PDF download of the 2019 Annual Report of the Audit CommitteeDownload PDF (1,793KB)


Download the 2018 Annual Report of the Audit Committee

PDF download of the 2018 Annual Report of the Audit CommitteeDownload PDF (467KB)