As Secretary General, Declan Hughes advises government and leads the department and its offices and agencies in promoting the creation of high-quality and sustainable full employment; by championing enterprise, supporting and incentivising a competitive and innovative research and enterprise base, negotiating international trade agreements, and promoting fair and competitive employment and markets.
Declan has served as a Board member of IDA Ireland, SFI and Enterprise Ireland. He was also a member of National Competitiveness Council, the Interim Public Procurement Reform Board and Food Wise Implementation Committee and Chair of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund Committee. He has served on EU and OECD committees.
Declan joined the department in 2014 as Assistant Secretary, heading the Strategic Policy Division and subsequently had responsibility for policy development and funding programmes for Inward investment and Enterprise Innovation and for Indigenous Enterprise, SMEs, and Entrepreneurship Divisions. He was formerly on the Executive Committee of the enterprise, trade and science and technology advisory agency, Forfás. He has led a range of national and regional policy and funding initiatives, including on ecommerce, enterprise and trade strategies, skills and research prioritisation, regional enterprise plans, the Action Plan for Jobs and Brexit and COVID-19 business supports.
Declan is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate and holds a Masters and Postgraduate Diploma from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD. He has completed executive programmes at Wharton School of Business, Roffey Park Institute and Singapore Civil Service College. He is a member of Institute of Directors.