A bit about me
As a volunteer, activist and Councillor, I've spent the past 30 years working to advance principles of sustainable development, community empowerment and equality at local and national level.
In February 2020, I was elected to Dáil Éireann for the first time as T.D. for the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency and spent the following months deeply involved in negotiations around the Programme for Government. In June 2020, the Government was formed and, in July, I was appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform. This title was updated to Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform in 2023.
My work incorporates a range of important issues, including nature, wildlife and biodiversity, water quality and freshwater ecosystems, protection of the marine environment, built heritage and national monuments, and electoral reform.
Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform sits within the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and I work closely with my colleagues Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien T.D. and Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O'Donnell T.D. on matters of shared interest, including the Towns Centres First policy.
The bodies, agencies and organisations under my Ministerial brief include:
National Parks and Wildlife Service
National Monuments Service
Irish Landmark Trust
National Biodiversity Data Centre
One of a family of ten children, I have happy memories of my early years growing up within the walls of James Stephens Military Barracks and have lived in Kilkenny City for most of my life. I am married to Jennie, an outdoor pre-school educator and community worker with minority groups, and father to our four wonderful children - Colm (20), Tristan (19), Stephen (11) and Kitty (9).
I was an elected member of Kilkenny County Council from 2004 to 2020 and a member of Kilkenny Borough Council from 2004 until it was abolished in 2014. I served as Mayor of Kilkenny from 2009 to 2010, driving an ambitious policy-led agenda.
Before that, I had a whole other life as a community and environmental activist, a Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland and a key activist in the environmental movement in Ireland.
In 2011, I contested the leadership of the Green Party after John Gormley stepped down as party leader. I have held a number of portfolios within the Green Party, including Spokesperson for Environment and Spokesperson for Local Government, Community and Rural Affairs.
My professional work has spanned many diverse fields: graphic designer, landscape gardener and community educator. In recent years, I was a project worker with a Kilkenny-based suicide prevention project where I led the development of the first County Suicide Prevention Plan, the template for which has now been replicated across the State.
My academic background is in graphic and industrial design and rural development. I am currently studying towards an MA in International Development at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth.
I am also a musician and artist, taking my place in the vibrant culture and arts scene in Kilkenny. I have had the privilege of playing in some influential bands down the years and - if you've read this far - you deserve to know that I am probably the only T.D. in the history of the State who has played support for John Cooper Clarke, Kinky Friedman and Tommy Ramone.
Malcolm with his family in the Castle Park, Kilkenny