US Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill to join Irish politicians and activists to discuss leadership in politics

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– High-profile panel to discuss what shapes good political leaders –

US Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill will join Jim O’Callaghan TD, former TD Olwyn Enright and activist Ailbhe Smyth for an online event exploring the question ‘How do we Cultivate Good Political Leaders?’ on Thursday, 10th June at 1pm.  

The event will take place as the second session of The Better Leadership Forum, an initiative from LIFT Ireland aimed at instigating a high-profile public debate on leadership in the media, politics, business and the public sector.

The Line-Up

The panel discussion will be moderated by journalist, broadcaster and author Alison O’Connor, while the speakers are:

  • US Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who represents New Jersey’s 11th District.  Formerly a Navy pilot and a federal prosecutor, she is a member of the Democratic Party, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, defeating Republican Jay Webber. She was re-elected in 2020 by a slightly narrower margin.
  • Jim O’Callaghan TD, who has served as a Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Bay South since 2016 and was formerly a member of Dublin City Council.  He is currently Fianna Fáil’s Director of Elections for the by-election in Dublin Bay South.
  • Activist and academic Ailbhe Smyth, who served as strategic advisor for the Marriage Equality referendum campaign and co-director of the Together for Yes campaign for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. In 2019, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
  • Olwyn Enright, a former Fine Gael TD (2002 to 2011) for the Laois-Offaly constituency. Her father, Tom Enright, was a member of the Oireachtas from 1969 to 2002; and her husband is sitting Fine Gael TD, Joe McHugh.


The panel will explore issues such as: how Ireland’s constituency base and party whip structure impact on politicians’ individual autonomy and personal leadership; and alternatives to electoral politics, such as mass civil movements and the citizens’ assemblies.

Commenting in advance of the event, CEO and Founder of LIFT Ireland Joanne Hession, said: “There is a difference between strong political leadership and good political leadership. Our political leaders must focus on what is good for the people they represent. How they do that comes down to the values that they hold.

“I’m looking forward to a discussion on how we can develop Irish politics and put the good of Ireland and the people who live here at the heart of political decision-making, across parties and political structures. We also want to illustrate – through this event – that political leadership comes in many different shapes and forms. It’s not always about who heads up Government or a certain political party; political leadership can also come from ordinary citizens, activating and mobilising for change.”

Registration for The Better Leadership Forum ‘How do we Cultivate Good Political Leaders?’ event is now open at: The event is open to anyone to attend, free of charge.


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