Eamon Gilmore is the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights (since March 2019) and has also served as EU Special Envoy for the Columbian Peace Process since October 2015.
Eamon was Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2011 until July 2014 in a coalition government which succeeded in steering Ireland from an IMF bailout to become one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. During this time, he also led Ireland’s successful Presidency of the European Union, was President of the EU’s General Affairs Council and was Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE. Eamon Gilmore oversaw and renewed Ireland’s development aid programme and developed a new Government policy to actively engage with the 70 million members of the Irish Diaspora throughout the world.
He was leader of the Irish Labour Party from 2007 to 2014 and led the party to its best ever election results in the general and presidential elections of 2011. He was one of the longest serving members of the Irish Parliament (Dáil Éireann), from 1989 to 2016, being elected in six successive elections to represent the constituency of Dun Laoghaire.
Eamon is a former Union leader and active advocate for social rights and a champion of the liberal agenda. He has campaigned for women’s and LGBT+ rights, playing an active role in the legalization of contraception, divorce, abortion and same sex marriage in Ireland.
Eamon has long been a campaigner for peace. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, he managed the Northern Ireland Peace Process on behalf of the Irish Government.
Since his resignation as leader of the Labour Party in 2014, Eamon has been actively involved with the EU on its external work. In 2016, he was appointed adjunct professor at the School of Law and Government in Dublin City University. In 2017, he was Visiting Practitioner Professor at the School of Public Policy in the Central European University, Budapest. He has also lectured at universities, think tanks and public policy conferences throughout Europe, the UK, the USA, Latin America, China and Africa. He has written two books; “Inside the Room” tells of his experience in Ireland’s Crisis Government (2011 – 2014).
Eamon has been honored with awards for his leading role in the promotion of human rights. In 2015, he was named by the Washington based "Foreign Policy" Magazine as one of the 100 leading Global Thinkers for his role in Ireland's Marriage Equality Referendum, which approved same-sex marriage. In 2017, Eamon was shortlisted for the European Innovation in Politics Award for his role in the same sex marriage campaign, and also for his idea in 2010 to establish the Constitutional Convention (later the Citizen's Assembly), which recommended the holding of the referendum.
The Government of France has made him an Officier of the Legion d'Honneur. Colombia has honoured him with the Order of San Carlos (Gran Cruz) for his work on the Colombian Peace Process.
In his current role as EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon will act to enhance the European Union’s effectiveness, presence and visibility in protecting and promoting human rights in the world.
Eamon grew up on a small farm in Caltra, County Galway. He was educated at Garbally College, Ballinasloe and at the National University of Ireland, Galway, which has conferred him with an Honorary Doctorate in Laws.