Daragh O Brien, FICS

Managing Director, Head of Strategy & Research

Daragh O'Brien

About Daragh

Daragh is the Founder and Managing Director of Castlebridge and a Twitter addict. He also has an amusing story as to why his surname has no apostrophe.

He has been a pioneer in the field of information management for over two decades, and has worked with a number of professional bodies in the sector, including DAMA International. In 2005 Daragh was recognised as a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society for his contributions in the fields of Data Quality and Data Governance. In 2019 he was recognised by the All-Ireland Business Foundation as a Thought Leader in Governance, Strategy, and Ethics for Information.

He is also a contributing member to the Leaders’ Data Group, an independent think-tank of industry professionals working to develop better practices in data management and data literacy from a practical, pragmatic, and technology independent perspective.

Prior to founding Castlebridge, Daragh worked for over a decade for a leading Irish telecommunications company in roles as diverse as Call Centre operations, Single View of Customer Programme management, and Regulatory Compliance and Governance. He a regular presenter and trainer at conferences worldwide and is much sought-after by Irish media for his expertise in data law, regulatory affairs and information ethics.

Apart from his consulting and education work, Daragh is a faculty member at the Law Society of Ireland and the Sutherland School of Law in UCD, an advisor the Digital Rights Ireland and a contributing research partner to the Adapt Centre in Trinity College Dublin. Daragh was an active contributor to the Innovation Value Institute’s IT-CMF framework and various IEE/ISO standards in data management. Daragh was the Data Protection Officer for the Presidential campaign of the sitting President, Michael D. Higgins in 2018, the first election in the EU carried out under GDPR.

He is also a featured columnist with The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN.com) and is in constant demand from national and international media for his thoughts and commentary on data-related issues. In 2016, he was ranked by Onalytica as the 24th most influential person on Twitter in Information Security (including Data Governance and Data Privacy).


  • Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies, UCD
  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • QQI Level 6 Accredited Trainer
  • CDMP-Associate, DAMA International
  • Various project and programme management certifications

Awards & Recognition

Blog Posts by Daragh

Last night, RTÉ's Investigations Unit aired a story about the Department of Health and data gathering practices in respect of vulnerable persons (autistic children and young adults) on whose behalf litigation was initiated historically to get access to necessary services, but where those cases have fallen dormant. I participated in this programme as an expert on data protection law and practice. As RTÉ describe it, the Department has built "secret dossiers on children with autism". This

I was going to write something completely different this week about data driven businesses. I was going to look at the future looking world of data literacy and data skills competencies frameworks. I've been doing a lot of work on that with colleagues over at the Leaders' Data Group. But, instead, I'm going to look at the importance of good data foundations for organisations. This is essential in today's data driven business environment. And for

The world is buzzing with a kerfuffle about WhatsApp's new Privacy Policy. Competing apps like Signal and Telegram have had a surge in users in the last few days (but organisations like the European Commission had defaulted to it long ago). Trade groups in India are wondering why Europe is being treated differently to the rest of the world (hint: It's the DPC putting a marker down in 2016). And I even wound up on

'Twas the Week before Christmas, and all through the Zoom, not a vendor was stirring, except the one pitching to a prospective client in an online meeting room...

Everyone's inbox is going to be full of twee festive themed emails and blog posts torturing the Holiday Season metaphors. My colleague Eoin has shared his end of year thoughts here. I try to avoid them as it can be a challenge twisting the structure and messaging of

Politico.eu ran a Brexit story yesterday that the EU Commission was working on an interim solution for cross-border data transfers to the UK. A short-term adequacy decision wrapped into the wider trade deal is being discussed. Not quite a "Privacy Shield", but a "Privacy Brolly". This is interesting as I first spelled out the need for some form of adequacy decision in the webinar I did with Tim Turner back in July 2016 and I

I was saddened this week to learn that my friend and mentor Larry English had passed away at the end of October.

I first met Larry almost two decades ago when I first entered the wonderful world of data quality, just a kid with a crazy dream. Or, more accurately, a frazzled project manager trying to get his head around how and why my employer seemed to have a 'SideShow Bob standing on rakes' approach to

It's that time of the year again when Krampus puts his satchel on, readies his gold and silver birch twigs and his whip, and gets ready to travel the world to punish all the naughty children.

In the spirit of Krampus and Krampusnacht, we thought we'd take a quick look at some of the recent regulatory actions taken by EU Data Protection Regulators in the past few months. The cases highlight the importance of things like

One of the impacts of the restrictions Covid-19 has brought to our lives is that Christmas seems to be coming a little earlier this year. All around my neighbourhood otherwise sensible people have been putting up their Christmas decorations and the festive cheer marketing messages are starting to appear in my inbox. It's only a matter of time now before the inevitable "Santa Claus and Data" themed blog posts start popping up.
Santa Data Management Post?

There is (finally) the glimmers of good news about potential vaccines for Covid-19. However, in 2021 managing change will be the harsh reality for organisations in 2021. Organisations will need to manage change in how their organisations manage and use data. There are a number of drivers for this need to manage change.

There will be the need to adapt and change in response to regulatory changes such as the fall out from the CJEU decision

The term "extended enterprise" is usually used to describe a network of interconnected businesses that pool resources and capabilities to deliver greater value to their customers. However, in the evolving organisational revolution underway in response to the public health risks of pandemics, I'd suggest that it also describes the reality of the future of work, specifically remote work. One of the key data transformation drivers over the past year in organisations of all sizes has

Two major stories emerged over the last few weeks that throw a spotlight on the importance due diligence in data. What I mean by this is actually having proper systems of control and governance over data in your organisation rather than simply paying lip service to it.

The first is the $400 million fine levied on CitiGroup for Data Governance failures by the Federal Reserve and the Dept of Treasury. The second is the recently released

Wexford County Council has had to start filing a flight plan for data if they want to put drone mounted cameras in the air. The Data Protection Commission has determined that, not withstanding the fact that the recorded images were not distinct enough to allow the identification of any individual, the deployment of drone mounted cameras as part of Wexford County Council's Easter Week response to Covid-19 travel restrictions constituted the deployment of a mass

In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod Beebelbrox (Galactic President, criminal, and all-round froody dude) has a unique approach to managing and mitigating risk. He has a pair of Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses. These glasses have a particular function. They help people maintain a relaxed approach to danger by turning completely dark and opaque at the first sign of trouble. In this way, the wearer is unaware of the impending danger,

Too many strategy leaders in today's organisations are viewing their organisations through a keyhole. This means they are ill-equipped to respond to crises. It means they are ill-prepared to take advantage of unforeseen events. That keyhole is the understanding of data and information processes and flows within the organisation. The shape of this keyhole is influenced by a variety of factors. The academic background of the leader influences it. Their experience in the day-to-day operations

In Ireland, and around the world, this is the time of year when children return to the classroom. Whether it is the nervous newbie entering primary education for the first time or the know-it-all young adult starting university, it's historically been a time of change, uncertainty, and adventure.

And into that mix this year we have to add the challenge of a global pandemic and the readjustment of the old logic of how the world works

Last week I wrote about the Bastard Son of Shield (BSOS) and how the announced 'talks about talks' between the EU Commission and the US Dept of Commerce would inevitably lead to another collapsible adequacy decision unless there was some fundamental rethinking of the situation on the United States side of the discussion of any replacement for Privacy Shield.

I believe it is essential now that both sides take this opportunity, an opportunity that has been

What is the value of data to your organisation? Can you put a monetary value on it? What would you base this valuation on?

If economics is the dismal science, infonomics is its grim-faced ginger haired cousin. Infonomics has been defined by its pioneering innovator, Doug Laney, as the:
discipline of managing and accounting for information with the same or similar rigor and formality as other traditional assets (e.g., financial, physical, intangible, human capital).
While the value of

The US Department of Commerce and the European Commission have responded to the striking down of Privacy Shield by issuing a joint press release. This release announces that:
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission have initiated discussions to evaluate the potential for an enhanced EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework to comply with the July 16 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schrems II case.
What does this mean for

Data Ethics, Data Quality, and Data Literacy are inextricably linked in a number of ways. And they can have a significant impact and influence when we begin to look at issues of accuracy in Data Protection. Of course, while accuracy in personal data is an obligation under data protection law, accuracy in how you present and report on data protection related issues, like regulatory fines, is an issue of data literacy and potentially data ethics.

Dermot Casey posted a question on Twitter today about books that leaders in information-driven enterprises should read, wondering if there were any others to add to the list.

Heres a bunch of books I recommended a few years ago to people who were going to be managing information driven enterprises. Still all great books. What else belongs on the shelf with them ? pic.twitter.com/77I0AalGdu
— Dermot Casey (@dermotcasey) July 24, 2020

I'm a big fan of Thought Readership.

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