Appointment of Chairperson to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland – March 2018

Following a Public Appointment Service (PAS) advertising campaign, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D., has appointed Mr Martin Higgins as Chairperson of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. This appointment is from 21st February 2018 to 20th February 2023.

Mr Martin Higgins spent 20 years working as a civil servant in the Department of Health, and subsequent years within the health agency “family”. This has given him a keen insight into the executive/political interface and how to influence policy formulation and its implementation.

As Principal Officer in the Department’s Food Unit, he led the drafting of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act 1998 and oversaw the development of the FSAI (the first farm-to-fork integrated food safety regulator in Europe).

As the first Director of Corporate Services with the newly established FSAI, he worked closely with the CEO and the Board in developing the initial strategy and the organisational structure to support its implementation.

From 1999 to 2014, Mr Higgins was Chief Executive of safefood – the Food Safety Promotion Board – an all-island body established under the Good Friday Agreement.  He led the organisation from its inception, building its reputation as an innovative communicator promoting food safety and fostering cooperation across the island and beyond in research and scientific collaboration.

He has been a Board Member of the FSAI since June 2016.

Professional Qualifications include:

  • Accountant Member (CPFA) of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (1997-2015)
  • Certified Diploma in Accountancy and Finance (CDipAF) – ACCA
  • Professional Certificate in Governance at IPA Dublin (2015)
  • Professional Certificate in Regulatory Affairs – International Centre for Parliamentary Studies London (2011)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute