NUJ’s new top team

  • 02 May 2023

Natasha Hirst has taken over as the NUJ’s president and Gerry Curran and Fran McNulty are the joint vice presidents.

Natasha said:

"It's a real honour to be elected to serve as president. Being an NUJ member meant that I had support around me when life was hard. Becoming an NUJ activist gave me a voice and provided opportunities to make a real difference for myself and others. 

“I hope to encourage new and diverse activists into the union to shape our work. Our industry has many challenges ahead and our younger members are key to building a stronger union that can respond to an industry that has drastically changed in recent years. I've been fortunate to work alongside some incredible colleagues in our fight to protect our members' rights and I'm excited to continue to do so."

Natasha has been a super active member as chair of the equality, photographers’ and development councils. She spoke to many motions during DM2023, including one to ensure the union will work to encourage employers to adopt domestic abuse policies.

“Nine years ago," she told delegates, “I was living in a women’s refuge and was unable to work for almost three years. It was the NUJ which helped me to rebuild my life and get my career back on track.”

Natasha works as a freelance photographer based in Cardiff. Originally from a science background, gaining a PhD in physical chemistry, she has published in the physical sciences and later in the social sciences for her research on disability and employment. She became active in the NUS disabled students' campaign while at university and served as NUS Wales president 2003-04. She spent four years as equality officer for the Wales TUC and two years as a political researcher and constituency photographer for the former first minister of Wales. 

She now specialises in social justice, political and campaigns photography and is the chair of Disability Arts Cymru and chaired a working group as part of the Welsh Government Disability Rights Taskforce. She is deaf and neurodivergent and was educated in mainstream schools, learning British Sign Language as an adult. From domestic abuse victim to union president

Gerry Curran has acted as an advisor and media liaison for the Courts Service in Ireland, and to five Chief Justices. He is a well-regarded and prominent figure in the media industry having started a career in broadcasting 30 years’ ago. In the past 25 years he has served on local, branch, Irish and NUJ-wide committees in a variety of capacities.

He said:

“I will try to use my time as a vice president of our great union to further the collective goal of bettering peoples working lives in many ways. I feel energised at the possibilities of change, in the world, in my work, and in our union. This is where I think the ‘in it together’ approach of the NUJ can best use my talents and efforts, to harness various sources of energy in the union towards our common goals.”

Fran McNulty is an award-winning journalist and has been an active member of the NUJ for almost 20 years. A television presenter and reporter with Irish National Broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) Fran presents Prime Time, Ireland’s most watched current affairs programme. He has also presented some of Ireland’s biggest radio programmes including Morning Ireland, the News at One and This Week.

He has reported from all over the world for RTÉ, from South Africa, to Palestine. He has covered stories as varied as papal conclaves and Westminster politics. As a presenter Fran’s stories focus on social justice issues and the impact of poverty and deprivation in some communities. He began his career with Shannonside Northern Sound Radio where he worked as a reporter, editor and presenter.  He is a native of County Longford and now lives in Dublin.

Franhas held numerous officer roles within the union at RTÉ, including chair of the RTÉ Branch of the NUJ. He sits on the Industrial Relations Tribunal in the national broadcaster, a disputes resolution tribunal for the station. A member of IEC, and NEC for some years, Fran is an active recruiter for the union. He said: As vice president, I aim to build on the work of the union in promoting the importance of press freedom, especially in a rapidly changing media landscape.” His first love is the west of Ireland where he spends as much time as possible, rambling across the hills of Sligo and Mayo and paddling in the Atlantic. 

Former president John Barsby was re-elected unopposed as the NUJ’s honorary treasurer. John  is a former BBC journalist and long serving member of the national executive council.

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