Tony Heffernan leads DHR Communications’ work on monitoring the public affairs and political landscapes. He keeps clients informed of relevant legislative developments and Oireachtas debates. He has an unrivalled knowledge of the media and political systems in Ireland, and extensive contacts among journalists and politicians.
Tony also works on public consultations and provides strategic advice to clients. Tony’s consultation management work encompasses overseeing the development of stakeholder databases; securing media profile for consultations and launches; preparing key staff for public meetings, Joint Oireachtas Committee appearances and media briefings.
In his work with DHR, Tony draws on a highly successful career in political communications, spanning three decades. Prior to joining DHR, he served as Media Director for Michael D Higgins’ successful presidential election campaign in 2011. In this role, he liaised with local, national and international media, responding to queries, arranging print and broadcast interviews, and preparing the candidate for high-profile media appearances.
Before the 2011 presidential election, Tony worked for 29 years in the Oireachtas, holding a number of positions. He was one of the longest-serving backroom political staff members and was highly regarded by politicians and journalists for his keen political insights and understanding of media relations.
He served as Deputy Government Press Secretary with the Rainbow Government between 1994 and 1997. In this role, he dealt on a daily basis with the Taoiseach, the Attorney General and other senior Ministers. He was a member of the three-person team in charge of the media profile of the Government, with responsibility for drafting press statements and speeches for Ministers and advising them on media strategy and appearances. He regularly briefed the national and international media on behalf of the Government, particularly in regard to Northern Ireland.
An Irish Times columnist described Tony’s retirement from the Oireachtas in April 2011 as “the end of an era around Leinster House” and said of him, “He is known to possess one of the sharpest political noses of anyone in the business and has a prodigious memory”. The former Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore described him as having extremely sound political judgment and said he was unrivalled in his work.
He is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland.
When he is not working, Tony is a loyal follower of Shamrock Rovers. He is also a keen reader of fiction and non-fiction; enjoys a nice meal and a few pints with friends; and a good argument.