About IReL


The Irish Research e-Library is a consortium of Irish research libraries. Established in 2004, it provides participating member institutions with access to a wide range of licensed e-resources, open access publishing agreements with over twenty publishers, and open research infrastructure. IReL is hosted by Maynooth University. 

IReL has endorsed the NORF Action Plan, in particular its goal that by 2030 Ireland will have implemented a sustainable and inclusive course for achieving 100% open access to research publications.

IReL’s successes  

Expanding access

Since 2004, IReL has provided Irish universities with access to a world-class electronic library service. IReL was established by the university librarians, initially to expand their libraries access to science, technology & medicine resources, but later grew to include the humanities and social sciences.  

IReL’s membership has also grown from the initial founding universities to include publicly funded technological universities, colleges, and research institutes.

Opening up research

From 2020, IReL signed the first of its open access publishing agreements and has now expanded this to support over twenty such agreements, making Ireland a global leader in the provision of these services. The agreements allow researchers in IReL member institutions to publish their work open access in over ten thousand journals. 

What is open access?

The Budapest Open Access Initiative defines open access to literature as its “free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers…”

The Irish National OA Monitor tracks the number of OA publications IReL enables, year by year:

Coordinating trustworthy research infrastructure 

IReL is increasingly involved in managing vital open research infrastructure. IReL leads the Irish ORCID and Datacite consortia, and manages the NORF-funded Irish Open Access Monitor.


“The IReL service has been a key element in transforming the landscape for scientific research in Ireland. In terms of value for money it is hard to think of a better investment” 

– Professor Ray O’Neill, Maynooth University 

“This is absolutely essential. Without it we will be severely affected and research will suffer tremendously. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that this be continued even if it were to be at the expense of other things.” 

– Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin 

“At RCSI we want to maximise the visibility of our research, it’s a key way of strengthening our reputation and impact, and Open Access has proved a valuable way of doing this. The IReL agreements have been of great benefit, allowing many of our researchers to publish and promote their findings to a wider audience, including partners and public around the world.”  

– Professor Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 

“Thanks to IReL’s negotiation and support for transformative agreements, Ireland now stands as a global leader in Open Access. We rank sixth amongst benchmarked countries, alongside renowned innovators in education such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.” 

– Professor Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University & Chair of IReL Governance Committee

IReL Members

How to access IReL resources

Staff and students of participating institutions can access IReL resources on or off-campus via their library’s website.  

How IReL is managed

IReL is overseen by its Governance Committee comprised of representatives from members and funders. The Maynooth University President chairs the Governance Committee and MU, as IReL’s host, has overall governance responsibility for IReL, providing dedicated financial and professional support. 

IReL groups

IReL Governance Committee

  • Prof. Eeva Leinonen, MU, Chair 
  • Caitríona Ryan, HEA 
  • Anna Lundén, National Library of Sweden 
  • Susan Reilly, IReL 
  • Jack Hyland, IReL, GC Secretary 
  • Sharon Bailey, UG 
  • Coral Black, UCC 
  • Dr Liam Brown, TUS 
  • Allison Kavanagh, TU Dublin 
  • Cathal McCauley, MU 
  • Prof. Rachel Msetfi, MU 
  • Dr. Johannna Archbold, ATU 
  • DFHERIS representative, seat currently unfilled

IReL Advisory Committee 

  • Brendan Jennings, Technological University Dublin (Chair) 
  • Monica Crump, University of Galway (Vice-chair) 
  • Peter Brown, Irish Research Council 
  • Arlene Healy, University College Dublin 
  • Ashling Hayes, University of Limerick 
  • Gianpierro Cavalleri, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 
  • Geraldine Canny, South East Technological University 
  • Jean Ricken, Munster Technological University 
  • Susan Reilly, IReL (ex officio) 

Terms of Reference for the IReL Advisory Committee

IReL Negotiations Group 

  • Susan Reilly, IReL, Chair 
  • Jack Hyland, IReL 
  • Aaron Binchy, IReL, Secretary 
  • Amanda Halpin, DCU 
  • Michaela Hollywood, MU 
  • Karen McCormack, MTU 
  • Christoph Schmidt-Supprian, TCD 
  • Hardy Schwamm, UCC 
  • Kathryn Smith, RCSI 
  • Maura Stephens, ATU 

Terms of Reference for the IReL Negotiations Group

IReL Executive 

  • Susan Reilly, Director 
  • Jack Hyland, IReL Manager 
  • Aaron Binchy, IReL Officer 
  • Aidan Mullen, Financial and Compliance Controller 
  • Dr. Catherine Ferris, Open Scholarship Officer 
  • Annika Lindh, OA Analyst 
  • Dolores Mee, Communications Officer