National Board 2019

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.

Bríd Cannon – Chairperson

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.

James Kelly – Honorary Treasurer

James 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.

Cliona O’Farrelly – Honorary Secretary

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.

Katie O’Houlihan – Youth Secretary

Katie is a World Religions graduate of TCD and a MSc. in Violence, Conflict and Development Studies candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She joined Amnesty as a university activist, taking an active role in advocacy and fundraising as part of DU Amnesty, Trinity’s Amnesty society. In 2017, she directed Jailbreak, Ireland’s largest student-run charity event. Since its inception, the event has collectively raised over €285,000 for Amnesty International and St. Vincent de Paul. In 2018, she represented Irish Youth in the annual Global Assembly, Amnesty’s international governance meeting. She has a keen interest in intersectionality, grassroots solutions and inclusive approaches to development frameworks.

Razan Ibraheem

Razan is a Syrian-born journalist. She came to Ireland to do her MA (ELT) at the University of Limerick. Her deep sorrow for the tragic situation and the mass displacement in her homeland has led her to volunteer in Greece to help refugees. The people she met and the stories she heard from Syrian refugees changed her perspective on life. She gave a speech with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in Ireland. In 2015, she was invited by the UN to a high-level meeting on global responsibility sharing for pathways for admission of Syrian refugees. She has been involved in several cultural, humanitarian and journalism projects and events in Ireland. Razan was awarded the International Woman of the Year by Irish Tatler in 2016.

Sadhbh Sheeran

Sadhbh joined the National Board in 2017 and was elected as youth secretary. She represented the Section at the Regional Forum 2018, co-facilitating a session on youth in governance. She is a graduate of Environmental Science at TCD and will pursue a masters at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. Sadhbh was a member of DU Amnesty, Trinity’s Amnesty Society, where she held several committee positions, including Chairperson. She has volunteered and worked for Oxfam Ireland’s street campaign team. She is a member of the Washington Ireland Program class of 2019.

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.

Donal Prior

Donal 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.