Gillian Buckley has been named as the Irish Venture Capital Association's new chairperson - the first woman to hold the title in its 35 year history. 

Ms Buckley is an investment manager with the Western Development Commission. She takes over from Neil McGowan, director of MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland, who has completed his term of office. 

A Limerick native, Gillian Buckley joined the WDC to establish its investment fund negotiating the original €32m exchequer allocation with the Government. 

She devised its strategy which has allowed the fund to become self-financing since 2010 and has overseen the investment of more than €60m in over 200 SME, community and micro enterprises.  

Ms Buckley noted that the four most senior roles in the association - chairperson, director general, vice chair and manager - are now held by women. 

"The programme for Government recognised the strategic role that venture capital has to play in the Irish economy in these challenging times and post Brexit.," Ms Buckley said.

"The IVCA looks forward to working in partnership with Government to further develop the sector to support more world class start-up and scaling Irish companies," she added.

The Irish Venture Capital Association is the representative organisation for venture capital and private equity firms in Ireland. 

An independent DCU report this year found that Irish venture capital and private equity firms have invested €5 billion in Irish SMEs since 2003 and, through syndication, have attracted in a further €3 billion in funding from international firms.