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26 Oct 2023

Understanding and Influencing the Oireachtas – Online 26/10/2023

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.

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.

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

Jillian van Turnhout has successfully held a variety of leadership roles in Ireland and the EU across business, public affairs and voluntary sectors. She has served as a Director, CEO and Public Representative and has built a strong public reputation for integrity and sound judgement.

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.

Jillian's current Board work includes serving on the Board of The Arts Council Ireland and Trustee (Director) of One in Four. In addition, Jillian chairs the Governance Committee of One in Four and is a member of the Governance Committee of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). 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.


Carmichael’s Autumn/Winter 2023 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


Gillian has a wonderful warm presenting style while covering a very challenging broad topic.
The knowledge-based bit at the beginning was great for making sure everyone was on an even playing field and could follow what came afterwards.
Very practical and sensible content.
Presented a huge amount of information in an accessible way, with examples and anecdotes that brought it to life. The trainer had a huge amount of expertise on the topic.
The approachable nature, honest experience of the presenter, information was professional, helpful and detailed yet tips were given like a friend. Would recommend.

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