Joanne Sweeney-Burke has 12 years extensive communications experience and her career includes broadcast and print journalism, industry PR and lecturing, marketing executive and CEO in various business roles. She is also a Digital Marketing professional with an acute interest in Online Reputation which she describes as “a new phenomenon by which employers, educators and peers create an opinion on us.”

She has completed a research Masters Degree in Digital Marketing focusing specifically on The Role of Social Media in Law Enforcement – An Irish Case Study. With vast experience working with An Garda Síochána, albeit on the outside, Joanne was very aware as to how difficult it might be to gain access to internal strategic communications information. However, she hoped that her academic research, the first in-depth study of the An Garda Síochána’s use of social media would be of interest to the force while also informing it of the international context. She graduated with 74% in her Masters Degree in November 2014.


She is interested in social media and law enforcement and social media and teens and has written extensively on these matters. Visit Young Minds Online for more information on teens and the social web.

She has recently published her first book Social Media Under Investigation – Law Enforcement and the Social Web.

Joanne’s very first job after graduating in 2001 was as a broadcast journalist with Ireland’s most listened to local radio station, Highland Radio, in her home county of Donegal. She was the chief court and Tribunal reporter and covered very many criminal trials. During the three years that she worked with Highland Radio she spent years reporting on and studying proceedings at the Morris Tribunal – a public inquiry into allegations of corruption against a number of members of An Garda Síochána (the Irish Police force) in the Donegal Division.

Very often Joanne was the sole journalist sitting through and reporting from proceedings in Donegal Town. The Tribunal moved to the Northwestern County for a period of two months. During this time Joanne not only reported on it for her employer Highland Radio, but also for regional, national and international media outlets.

It was during this time that Joanne also pursued a Masters Degree in Journalism having gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations, Print and Broadcast Journalism two years previously from NUI Galway. The research project involved producing a radio documentary and writing a series of investigative articles.

Joanne chose to study the impact of the Morris Tribunal on County Donegal and graduated with first class honours. She therefore has always had an interest in such themes as law enforcement and the media and law enforcement and communications. Moving on from a career in journalism, Joanne is now self-employed and works in the area of digital marketing, Online PR and is a skilled trainer, consultant and strategist.

One of the many clients she worked with is the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), the representative body of higher-ranking Gardaí in An Garda Síochána – advising them on public relations and digital communications including social media. She has also worked on a project basis with the Garda Síochána Retired Members Association (GSRMA), an organization that represents 7,500 retired members of An Garda Síochána.

This website extends Joanne’s interest in law enforcement and combines it with the relatively new arena of social media communications. It is a natural extension of her previous academic and professional work.