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Oonagh Breen

School of Law
01 716 4144
University College Dublin, School of Law, Sutherland School of Law Belfield Dublin 4

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Oonagh B. Breen graduated from University College Dublin with first class honours (BCL, 1992, LL. M., 1995). A Tutorial Scholar (1992) at UCD, she was called to the Irish Bar in 1997. Graduating second in her class, she was awarded the Society's Exhibition Prize and a Bar Council Bursary. A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Government of Ireland Research Fellowship, Oonagh commenced studies at Yale Law School in 2003 as a Lillian Goldman Scholar. In 2004, she obtained her LL. M. from Yale and in 2006 she was awarded her J.S.D. for her doctoral dissertation on comparative perspectives on the legal regulation of charities and the role of state-nonprofit partnership in public policy development. From 2004 to 2006, she held a National University of Ireland's Travelling Studentship award. Oonagh has held visiting appointments at De Paul Law School, Chicago, University Missouri Kansas City, University of California, Davis, Brooklyn Law School, and Southern Illinois University. She has been the external examiner for the Law Society of Ireland's Final Examinations Part 1 in Equity since 2001. In 2009, Oonagh was a Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University. In 2016, she was a Potter Foundation Fellow at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at QUT, Brisbane.Dr Breen specialises in the area of comparative charity regulation and nonprofit-state collaboration in public policy formation and development. A co-author of the Law Society's Report, Charity Law: The case for reform (2002), she was appointed by the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to write an external report on the submissions received during the Department's charity law reform consultation process in 2004. She has worked with nonprofit representatives, the Law Reform Commission, the Charity Regulator and the Irish Government on issues relating to the reform of charity law. Since 2005 she is the Irish rapporteur for the United States International Grantmaking Project, which facilitates international grantmaking by US foundations. Named as an emerging scholar by ARNOVA in 2006, Oonagh was awarded a University President's Award for Teaching & Learning in 2007 and in 2008, she received a Distinguished Research Award from ICNL/CORDAID for her work on the European regulation of nonprofit entities. Oonagh is a frequent contributor at international conferences and colloquia on the topic of charity law reform and has published extensively in this area. She is currently a Board Member of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) and the Chair of the International Centre for Not for Profit Law. Her recent co-edited and co-authored book, Regulatory Waves Comparative Perspectives on State Regulation and Self-Regulation Policies in the Nonprofit Sector is published by Cambridge University Press (hardback 2016, e-version 2017).


  • BCL
    University College Dublin1989 - 1992
  • Barrister-at-Law
  • J.S.D.
    Yale University CT
  • LLM
    University College Dublin
  • LLM
    Yale University CT