National Board

The National Board of Amnesty International Ireland is our membership elected governance body. Members of the board serve in an entirely voluntary capacity and do not receive any pay or remuneration.

Chairperson –  David White

David was co-opted in November 2012 and subsequently elected to the EC at our Annual Conference in 2013. David is a member and former coordinator of the Amnesty International Dublin West Local Group and was a founder member and coordinator of the Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories Group. David has been involved in many Amnesty International campaigns over the years, including administrative detention cases, Control Arms, Stop Violence Against Women and Denied: 40 Years of Human Rights Abuses in the Occupied Territories. A native of Waterford, David is an engineering manager with Intel in Leixlip, and has recently returned to Ireland after a two year assignment in China. David was previously a member of the Executive Committee from 2008 to 2010.

Honorary Treasurer – James Kelly

James was co-opted on to the Executive Committee in February 2014. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He has 30 years of experience in the banking sector, working both locally and internationally providing leadership in finance, operations and technology. James has a particular interest in children’s rights and in the issue of legal capacity.

Honorary Secretary – Cliona O’Farrelly

Cliona first joined Amnesty International in 1975 as an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin where Inge Clissman (daughter of Helmut Clissmann one of the founding members of Amnesty International Irish Section) was group co-ordinator. Cliona has been an active member of the Wexford group for 18 years. She was co-opted onto the Executive Committee of Amnesty International and was subsequently elected to the EC in the early 2000s and served three two-year terms.

Cliona is a science graduate of TCD and has a PhD in Immunology. She has many years’ experience in scientific research, university teaching and public understanding of science; she is currently Professor of Comparative Immunology and is on the board of TCD. She was a member of the Irish Council of Bioethics from 2005-2008 and was on the board of the Irish Cancer Society from 2006-2012. Every year, she walks the VHI Women’s mini marathon in aid of Amnesty International.

Vice Chair – Brid Cannon

Bríd has been involved in the voluntary sector for over 11 years, in organisations including the Free Legal Advice Centres, the National Youth Council of Ireland and also the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras which she chaired for 5 years. A law graduate of TCD, Brid is qualified at the New York Bar and also has over ten years’ experience working in financial services. She has a keen interest in the issues of corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusiveness and the impact of financial services on the wider community.

Sadhbh Sheeran

Sadhbh is an Environmental Science undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, graduating in June 2018. She has held the position of Treasurer and Chairperson of DU Amnesty, Trinity’s Amnesty society. Sadhbh was one of the organisers of the Jailbreak 2017, Ireland’s largest student-run charity event. Jailbreak 2017 raised €56,000 for Amnesty International and Saint Vincent de Paul. Jailbreak challenges hundreds of 3rd level students nationwide on a 36-hour rat-race that could take them anywhere in the world. The event has been nominated as ‘Charity Champion’ of the year at the 2017 Student Achievement Awards. Sadhbh is a member of Amnesty International’s ‘I Welcome’ working group. As well as her work with Amnesty, she is a volunteer activist with Oxfam Ireland and volunteer team leader for their summer 2017 campaign season. Sadhbh was also a founding member of TCD’s Strike for Repeal campaign.

Niall Cowley

Niall is the Founder and Managing Director of We the People, a communications collective specialising in behaviour & attitude change and public information campaigns for the non profit and public sectors. Over his 17 year career, Niall has worked as Director of Communications for a UK children’s charity and has been a consultant for the UK Government and the European Commission on a number of high profile campaigns. Niall has been an international spokesperson on Children’s Rights and has Co-Chaired the 8th European Forum on the Rights of the Child. Niall returned to live in Dublin in 2015 after 18 years living in London and Berlin.

Dr Shane Darcy

Shane is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway, where he teaches international criminal law and business and human rights. He is on the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal and the Editorial Committee of Criminal Law Forum. He has participated in human rights trainings, conferences and workshops in several countries including South Africa, China, Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, the United States and Russia. Shane was co-opted onto the National Board in August 2014, and runs the Business and Human Rights in Ireland blog.

Donal Prior

Donal Prior works for Diageo PLC, where his career spans more than three decades. He has a background in Human Resources and Manufacturing, and holds a Masters in Strategic HR. He is Global Capability Director for Diageo’s manufacturing operations, having worked in HR Director roles for a number of years. Donal was co-opted onto the National Board in July 2014.

The National Board is elected by membership at annual conference who in turn appoint an Executive Director responsible for operational management of the organisation.

Colm O’Gorman

Colm O’Gorman is the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland. He is the founder and former Director of One in Four, the national non-governmental organisation that supports women and men who have experienced sexual violence.

In this role Colm was instrumental in the establishment of the Ferns Inquiry, the first state investigation into clerical sexual abuse. The inquiry investigated the management of child sexual abuse concerns and allegations by the Catholic Church and by State authorities. Prior to his role with One in Four Colm worked as a psychotherapist in his own practice in London.

He has made a number of documentary films, including the BAFTA awarding winning “A Family Affair” (2000), “Suing the Pope” (2002) and “Sex Crimes and The Vatican”, which he presented for BBC Panorama in 2006. In 2005, Colm O’Gorman helped to establish Gorey Educate Together National School; a multi-denominational, co-educational, child centred and democratically run primary school. Colm was one of the lead campaigners in the Marriage Equality Referendum held in May 2015.

Colm has also served as a member of the Irish Senate, having been appointed as a Senator in May 2007. He is a regular media commentator and contributor, essayist; writing and speaking extensively on social justice and human rights. He is also the author of a best-selling memoir, Beyond Belief (Hodder & Stoughton 2010). Colm lives in County Wexford with his family.