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7 Nov 2024

Understanding and Influencing the Oireachtas – Online 07/11/2024

Target Audience

Anyone involved in advocacy or looking to influence policy or legislation in an area of work relevant to their non-profit organisation.


Ever wondered how can our organisation secure a legislative or policy win? This workshop has been developed to share an insider-outsider perspective on how to succeed in influencing policy or legislative change for your organisation. The workshop will inform and provide a practical roadmap.

Overview of workshop 

Part 1: Understanding – knowledge building

  • The Oireachtas
  • The legislative calendar and process
  • Seanad Commencement Matters and Dáil Topical Issues
  • Parliamentary Questions
  • Tips on how to inform and influence TDs and Senators 

Part 2: Influencing – how to effect change

  • Defining your issue and policy/legislative solution
  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Identify the target audience and who to influence
  • Stakeholder mapping and building partnerships/alliances
  • Creating effective communications

Ending: Questions and Answers – draw on Jillian’s expertise for your organisations’ campaign.


Delivered virtually via Zoom.


Jillian van Turnhout

The workshop is led by Jillian van Turnhout who is a former independent Senator who, in her five years, was successful and recognised by both TV3 and the Irish Times as ‘Senator of the Year’. In addition, Jillian is a former Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance and, in this role, spent seven years successfully advocating for policy and legislative change. Before her time in the Seanad, Jillian worked and volunteered on many successful campaigns. Since her time in the Seanad, Jillian has successfully influenced legislative changes in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

Jillian's governance expertise emanates from over twenty-five years serving and chairing Boards and reporting to Boards as a CEO. Jillian is a Chartered Director (IoD UK) and certified in international corporate governance through the INSEAD International Directors Programme and an Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Direction with distinctions in governance, strategy and leadership.

She is a former Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance; former Vice Chair (Director) of European Movement Ireland; former Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides; and former President of the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Jillian has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France and an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.


Understand how to influence and effect change.


Carmichael’s Autumn/Winter 2024 Scheduled Training Programme is kindly sponsored by BoardEffect.

BoardEffect is part of Diligent, the leader in modern governance. BoardEffect delivers an agile board management solution optimised for governance leaders of nonprofits, higher education institutions, community healthcare organisations, and credit unions with the right tools, analytics, and insights to drive more efficient, transparent, and secure governance.


€80Nonprofit Organisation
€70Carmichael Resident Organisation
€90Statutory Organisation
€90Corporate Organisation


Jillian spoke very clearly, she answered all questions thoroughly. The material (slides) were very clear.
Tips for engaging with politicians, detailed explanation of legislative process and opportunities to influence.
Helpful how the infrastructure of the Oireachtas was explained.
Jillian's wealth of knowledge and experience and willingness to share.
I thought what really struck me was the level of detail around advocacy, based on Jillian's experience both in the Community sector and in the Oireachtas, and I also loved the time devoted to strategy, and some of her personal anecdotes richly capture the ins and outs of advocacy in the Irish system.
Jillian was very responsive to questions which added more depth.

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