The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland
John O’Keeffe is the Chief Executive Officer of The Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland, a national research body supported by the Heritage Council. A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast (BA (Hons) Archaeology 1995) and the University of Ulster (PhD Archaeology 2008), John worked for over 22 years with the Department of the Environment and Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.
From 2007-2020 John was a Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments and an Assistant Director with Historic Environment Division. In those roles John lead on all aspects of statutory functions with regards to archaeology and the historic environment, from strategic and operational spatial planning, the conduct of archaeological excavation, public engagement and the conservation of historic monuments. John led the conservation of historic monuments in State Care from 2007-2020, which included minor maintenance and major interventions to conserve and present these monuments to the public.
John has a keen interest in conservation standards, professional practice and public engagement. He has lectured widely, especially in adult education, about archaeology and local history, and served on many working groups and committees as an expert contributor on matters of policy, practice, academic development and public participation in the historic environment. From 2016-2020 he was a lead organiser and contributor to the Way Forward for Archaeology in Northern Ireland Working Group, and has been an active contributor to the work of the European Archaeology Council.