Fergus Finlay is the Chief Executive of the charity Barnardos in Ireland. He was a senior member of the Irish Labour Party and is also a weekly columnist with the Irish Examiner and the author of a number of books.
Having worked in government press secretarial roles in the 1980s, Finlay served as an adviser to Dick Spring from 1983 to 1997. During this time he was involved in campaigns that led to the election of Mary Robinson as president, a large increase in the number of Labour TDs in 1992 and the dropping of the constitutional ban on divorce in 1996. He resigned from Labour in 1997, becoming a director of Wilson Hartnell Public Relations, heading the company's public affairs unit. In 1997 he also started presenting the Network 2 show Later On 2 with Frank Dunlop former Press Secretary of Fianna Fáil. In April 2010 the Sunday Business Post said he is "one of the great backroom operators of Irish political history, a strategist, tactician, and media briefer par excellence."
Finlay is also credited with helping to organise the visit of the Special Olympics to Ireland.
In 2009, Finlay was listed in 59th place on a list of "most influential people" in Irish society put together for Village magazine.
On 9 September 2010, Finlay announced that he would seek the Labour Party nomination to contest the 2011 Irish presidential election to elect the successor to Mary McAleese as President of Ireland. Michael D. Higgins eventually won that nomination. Finlay congratulated Higgins on his victory, saying he was "looking forward" to Higgins' Presidency.