Our Board of Directors consist of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, treasurer and nine other members.
Chair: Pat Carey
Pat was a TD for nearly 14 years and has extensive experience in public policy at national and international level and has chaired or been a board member of many organisations. Pat is the first independently appointed Irish Red Cross chairperson.
As a minister Pat was responsible for community development policy, social inclusion, Irish language policy, cross-border matters in the area of language, culture, waterways and rural development, the National Drugs Strategy and family, equality and integration policy. Pat also had responsibility for charities regulation and developing dormant accounts.
Vice-Chair: Tom Horwell
Tom joined the Irish Red Cross in 1981 and has held several senior roles within the charity, including Regional Director of Units (RDU) for Dublin North East and Chair of the National Youth Working Group from 2001 to 2008. Tom continues to be an advocate for Red Cross Youth and for the development of the Society’s young members. Tom is employed by the National Ambulance Service as an Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer for operations. Prior to this, he was the Senior Tutor in the National Ambulance College in the Phoenix Park for 11 years. Before joining the National Ambulance Service, Tom was a business studies teacher.
Tom has been the Louth Area General Assembly Representative for the last number of years. He has also served on the Executive Committee and chaired the Nominations Committee. His reason for seeking a Board-level position is to take a more active part in the change process affecting the Irish Red Cross.
Secretary: Barry O'Donovan
Barry joined the Bandon Branch of the Irish Red Cross as a youth member in 1992 and became a National Youth Working Group member just six years later. In 1999, Barry headed to Barcelona, Spain for six months working for the European Voluntary Service with La Cruz Roja (Spanish Red Cross) in a centre for refugees and asylum seekers.
In 2002, Barry was elected as Honorary Secretary of the Irish Red Cross Bandon Branch and in 2008 was co-opted to the Cork Area Committee. Over the last four years, Barrt has served as Cork Area Vice-Chairman and Cork Area Honorary Secretary. In 2012, Barry served as a member of the Organisational Capacity Assessment Team and a member of the Strategy Development Team.
Treasurer: Sheila Callan
Sheila Callan is a General Assembly member representing the Dublin Borough Area and is the Dublin Borough Area Chairperson. Sheila previously served on the Board and has been the Area Treasurer and Branch Treasurer. Sheila is also a former member of the Finance Working Group.
Sheila has completed seven missions overseas for the Red Cross and was the Country Director for the Society’s operations in Sri Lanka for a year and a half.
During her working life Sheila has worked within the financial team and completed a Women in Management Course in IMI. She is currently doing a Charity Law, Governance and Trusteeship with the Law Society.
Board Member: Kieran Meehan
Kieran joined the Irish Red Cross in 2005 and was one of the founder members of the North Clare Branch, serving as Branch Chairperson until 2009. At area level he has been Branch Chairperson for five out of the last six years. He was first nominated to Central Council (now General Assembly) in May 2011 and was seconded on to the Training Working Group during the latter stages of 2011. He has a particular interest in the provision of training and development for Branch officers and the use of technology to aid the Society’s training and volunteer work.
In the first aid sphere, Kieran completed his Emergency Medical First Responder (EMFR) training in 2007 and qualified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in 2011. During 2007 he also completed his instructor training and has taught Branch First Aid and Cardiac First Response (CFR) courses. He is currently an Irish Water Safety lifesaving instructor.
Professionally Kieran has been a post-primary teacher for the last 20 years. He has undertaken postgraduate studies in the areas of educational management and leadership and school development planning. The latter focused on developing skills in the areas of facilitation, presentation and observation, while this course also looked at policy formation and development. Kieran has a special interest in school and organisational culture and on developing cross-curricular links in schools. He is also serving his third (three-year) term on his school board. Kieran is also chairperson of the Parents Association in another school.
Kieran believes he can make a positive contribution at Board level to further develop the Society, drawing on his wide range of experience and his skillset.
Board Member: Colin Wilson
Colin Wilson was appointed to the Board of the Irish Red Cross in 2015. He has a B.SC (Mgmt) from Trinity College Dublin and the Dublin Institute of Technology, a postgraduate diploma in Enterprise and Innovation (DIT) and a postgraduate Diploma in Legal Studies (DIT). He is an AITI Chartered Tax Adviser with the Irish Taxation Institute. He is an adviser member of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Tax Enquiry Panel.
Colin is also a member of the Institute of Directors. He was appointed by Government to the Dormant Accounts Board in 2007 and appointed to its Audit Subcommittee in 2008. Reappointed to the Dormant Accounts Board in 2010, Colin was made Chairman of its Audit Committee in 2012. Colin was also an adviser to the Irish delegation to the Convention on the Future of Europe.
Colin’s daily work involves the provision of relevant advice to individuals, self-employed, self-assessed, family firms, companies and organisations. He is the Managing Director of Wilson Taxation, a Dún Laoghaire based firm of Chartered Tax Advisers.
Colin has also contributed articles to national Sunday newspapers on taxation and related matters.
Board Member: Darren Ryan
Darren, a member of the Clonmel Branch, became an Irish Red Cross member in 1992, joining the youth section. Darren progressed through the structure of the Irish Red Cross in Clonmel and has served as Branch Chairperson, Asst. Unit Officer and is currently the Clonmel Branch Honorary Secretary, as well as holding positions on the Tipperary Area Committee. Darren has always been an Irish Red Cross Youth champion, holding the role of National Youth Working Group Chairperson from 2008 to 2014. Darren currently serves as Chairperson of the Irish Red Cross National Safeguarding Committee, a position he thoroughly enjoys. Darren is a Government Nominee to the Irish Red Cross General Assembly.
Darren chaired the Society's Strategic Development Team which oversaw the introduction of the Irish Red Cross Strategy "The Way to 2018". Darren is involved in many community and voluntary groups in Clonmel and south Tipperary, and most recently has been appointed to the Government's National Consultative Forum on Youth Mental Health.
Professionally, Darren is currently a Childcare Manager and had worked for many years in the disability sector. He holds qualifications from UCC and more recently from NUI Maynooth, where he completed a Level 8 in Child Protection and Welfare.
Board Member: Maura Lowry
Maura is the Roscommon Representative on the General Assembly and was previously on the Central Council. She is a founder member of the Ballaghaderreen Branch and set up the Roscommon Area Committee in November 2012. Maura is a member of the Health and Social Care Working Group and is the Area Director of Units for Roscommon. She is an EMT, is CISM-trained and is a Peer Supporter. Maura is also a member of the Board of Directors of her local playschool.
Board Member: Sean Mason
Sean Mason is a director of Ove Arup & Partners Ireland, a leading Irish and international consulting engineering company. Sean is a qualified and chartered civil engineer and a Fellow of Engineers Ireland, with 30 years experience in engineering design and consultancy. He has worked mainly in Ireland, but also in the UK, US, mainland Europe and Hong Kong.
Sean has been involved with various humanitarian and development organisations for many years. He is project director for Arup’s charitable development work in Pajule, Northern Uganda. He also served as chair of Engineers Ireland’s Developing World Protocol, where engineering consultants, contractors and local authorities provided technical expertise and support to the main Irish aid agencies (NGOs) involved in overseas development work; this was coordinated through Engineers Ireland.
Sean has also previously been a soup runner for the Dublin Simon Community, and served on the Greystones conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Sean is married with four children, and lives in Greystones, County Wicklow.
Board Member: Brian Byrne
Brian has been a member of the Irish Red Cross for 37 years. In that time he has held various positions at Unit, Branch, Area and National levels including; Deputy Area Director of Units, Area Chairman, member of the Training Working Group and member of the National Unit Management Committee. Brian is the General Assembly representative for Dublin Borough, a member of the Finance Working Group, and Dublin Borough Area Treasurer.
Brian has been employed by RTÉ for over 30 years and presently works in the Radio Advertising Production Department. He is also a member of RTÉ’s Advertising Copy Clearance Committee, ensuring compliance with all statutory requirements. He has also held the voluntary positions of Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the RTÉ Credit Union and Treasurer of the RTÉ Childcare Co-operative.
Board Member: Julie O’Brien
Julie joined the Irish Red Cross in 2004. She is a member of the Bailieborough Branch in Cavan. Since joining the Irish Red Cross, Julie has been actively involved in the Society at both Branch and Area level.
Julie is the current chairperson of the Bailieborough Branch, the Area Treasurer for Cavan, and is the current General Assembly Representative for Cavan. Julie is also on the Finance Working Group and the
Health and Safety Forum. At all these levels, Julie has taken on responsibilities to always help seek to progress the Society with a view to securing its long-term future.
Julie holds many First Aid qualifications. She is an EMT and holds many other qualifications including CFRC, CFRCI, CFRA and OFAI. Julie is also a People Moving and Handling Instructor. Julie is the current Deputy Area Director of Units in Cavan.
Professionally, Julie is the owner of her own healthcare-training company, teaching various healthcare and childcare courses in adult education. Julie has served on the Board of Management at both Killinkere National School and Bailieborough Community School.
Board Member: Cepta Dowling
Cepta Dowling is from Dublin and holds a master’s degree in social enterprise and innovation (2014) and a bachelor degree in further education management (2003), both from DCU. Having taken time out from her employment with AnCO to rear her three children, Cepta returned to the workforce in 1997 to start another phase of her career with FÁS. She subsequently moved to Northside Partnership where she held responsibility for researching and implementing many innovative projects. Cepta has a wide range of experience, in areas which include human resources, policies and procedures, business start-ups, project management and, in recent years, governance and compliance. Since her retirement in 2013, Cepta has worked as a consultant in the community and voluntary sector. She is married to Jim, has three adult children and three grandchildren.
Board Member: Mareike Eccleston
Mareike is the General Assembly Representative for the Waterford Area. Having joined the Irish Red Cross Portlaw Branch in 2011 to establish a Cardiac First Response Group and Public Access Defibrillators, Mareike has served as Branch Secretary and Area Treasurer. She was involved in the youth group and this was followed by the position of Deputy Unit Officer and now Unit Officer. As an active member of the uniformed unit, Mareike progressed to the level of Emergency Medical Technician and instructor to CFR Advanced Level, as well as Community Psychological Provider. Mareike is passionate about utilising and sharing these skills not only when providing medical cover for events but also in a variety of Health and Social Care activities, including welcoming migrants in the reception centre in Waterford, providing support to the local soup kitchen and taking part in hospital visitations and more.
Professionally, Mareike has a strong hotel and catering background as well as childminding and secretarial experience. She currently works in customer service. Community support and resilience are very important to Mareike who has been active in various other community organisations and projects since arriving in Ireland from Germany. Her husband and two children are also active members of the Irish Red Cross. Mareike has recently joined the Board of Directors with the aim of continuing on and contributing to the tremendous progress made within the Irish Red Cross in recent years.