John Horgan (academic)

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For other people named John Horgan, see John Horgan (disambiguation).

John S. Horgan (born 26 October 1940) is the Press Ombudsman in Ireland. An author and former Labour Party politician who served from 1969 to 1981 as a senator and then as a Teachta Dála (TD),[1] he was Professor of Journalism at Dublin City University before taking up the ombudsman post in 2007.

Political career[edit]

Horgan began his career in 1962 as a journalist on the Evening Press newspaper, and later worked as a staff journalist on the Catholic Herald[2] and on The Irish Times, where he wrote about religion and education.[3]

He was elected in 1969 as a member of the 12th Seanad Éireann representing the National University of Ireland constituency. He was re-elected in 1973 to the 13th Seanad, and at the 1977 general election he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for the Dublin County South constituency. After boundary changes for the 1981 general election, he was not re-elected in the new Dublin South constituency, and was also unsuccessful at the February 1982 general election. He did not stand again.[4]

However, after John O'Connell resigned as one of the two Labour Party Members of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency, Horgan was appointed on 21 October 1981 to take his place. He served in the European Parliament only until March 1983, when he resigned to take up an academic post.[5]

After politics[edit]

Horgan was appointed in 1983 as a lecturer in what was then the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin, which in 1989 was elevated to university status and became Dublin City University (DCU). He was DCU's Professor of Journalism in 1989, a position he held until his retirement in 2006, and was also a member of the Interim Radio Commission, the Commission on the Newspaper Industry, and the Forum on Broadcasting.[3]

Press Ombudsman[edit]

In August 2007 he became Ireland's first ever Press Ombudsman after being appointed to the position by the Press Council of Ireland.[6]

The newly formed Press Council was launched on 11 January 2008. Its Code of Practice[7] sets out the standards expected from newspapers and periodicals published in Ireland, and members of the public can raise a complaint about articles which directly affects and involves them, and which they think breach the Code of Practice.[8] The Ombudsman's role is to mediate and, if necessary, adjudicate on cases where the complainant has not reached agreement with the publisher. More complex cases may be referred to the full Press Council.

The new system was launched partly to provide an alternatively to a growing incidence of increasingly costly litigation, and to head off the threat of a new privacy law. On 9 January 2008, the Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan announced that a proposed new privacy law would be postponed for two years to give the Press Ombudsman "an opportunity to establish himself and the credibility of his office".[8]

On 28 March 2014, Horgan announced that he would step down as Press Ombudsman on 1 September 2014.[9]

Published works[edit]

Books by John Horgan include:


  1. ^ "Mr. John S. Horgan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "Prof. John Horgan confirmed as Ireland's first Press Ombudsman". Office of the Press Ombudsman. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Paul Cullen (15 August 2007). "State's first Press Ombudsman appointed". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "John S Horgan". Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  5. ^ Walker, Brian M. (ed) (1992). Parliamentary Elections in Ireland 1918–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 0-901714-96-8. 
  6. ^ "Ireland's first Press Ombudsman named". RTÉ News. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "Code of practice for newspapers and periodicals". Office of the Press Ombudsman. Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Brian Hutton (3 January 2008). "New press watchdog aims to cut costly court battles". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 February 2008. 
  9. ^ "Press Ombudsman to retire". Irish Examiner. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 

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