Within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister of State for Training, Skills Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D. oversees the implementation of Innovation 2020, the Government's Strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology.
This includes the research and innovation programmes of Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions and Ireland's membership of international research organisations including the European Space Agency. The Minister's responsibilities also extend to European research and innovation programmes including Horizon 2020 and the development of the European Research Area.
Minister Halligan is responsible for Ireland's intellectual property regulatory regime, which is aimed at promoting and rewarding creativity, supporting innovative activity and improving the business environment to build IP capacity at firm level and reflects the international IP law environment and best practice.
A native of Waterford, Minister Halligan is a lifelong trade unionist and community activist who worked with container freight company Bell Lines for several years before entering politics on a full-time basis. He was first elected to Waterford City Council in 1999 for the Workers’ Party and subsequently ran as an Independent candidate in the 2009 Local Election, topping the poll in his electoral area and, during that term, serving as Mayor of Waterford from 2009 to 2010.
He was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011 as an Independent Deputy for the Waterford constituency and, since then, has been a member of a number of Committees including the Committee on Procedures and Privileges, Public Service and Oversight and European Union Affairs.
He co-founded the Independent Alliance in January 2015 and this grouping of like-minded Independent politicians entered Government in May 2016, with John appointed Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation at the Department of Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills. He was reappointed Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development in June 2017.
Within the Department of Education and Skills, Minister Halligan’s areas of responsibilities cover the activity of SOLAS, Skillnets and the Education and Training Boards in so far as it relates to the provision of further education and training, including the implementation of the Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-19 and the management of the National Training Fund, the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Fund. With Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D., he is jointly responsible for implementation of the recommendations of the Review Group on Apprenticeships. His responsibilities also cover school transport services.
The father-of-three is a lifelong member of Amnesty International and has a keen interest in science and nature.