Our board members
Gerard O’Carroll - President Down Syndrome Ireland
Gerard has many years of service on boards in the disability, education, health and charity sectors. This experience in governance, mediation and service coordination also involved a position on the board of a national charity undergoing major restructuring and reorganisation. He has been an active member of the Kerry branch of DSI for almost twenty years. Roles include secretary, education and therapy coordinator and currently coordinator of the DSI Ability programme. Since joining the board of DSI two years ago, he has contributed to a new strategic plan and a new constitution that is essential for the future of DSI as a national charity. Gerard’s son, who is now 22, has benefited throughout his life from DSI initiatives at branch and national level. It is Gerard’s
Bernadette Connolly - Connacht Director
Bernadette works as National Co-ordinator of The Irish Pilgrimage Trust a charity which offers holidays to young people with special needs in Ireland and in Lourdes France. Bernadette lives in Clarinbridge in Galway and is married to Mike. They have 2 children; Máire and Eoin. Máire is 16 years old and has Down syndrome and Eoin is 15 years old. Bernadette was involved in the Galway Branch when Voices for Galway was set up to bring speech therapy services to members of the Galway Branch and served as Treasurer for several years.
Eithne Uí Ghallachóir - Connacht Director
Eithne lives in Gort a' Choirce and is married to Joe. We have 3 children and our youngest daughter, Máire, was born with Down syndrome. Máire is almost 21 yrs and she was born into a Gaeltacht household and was reared with Gaeilge being her first language:- she is now bi-lingual, both in spoken and writing terms; but being a native Irish speaker often proved challenging for service providers who had to engage with her. Máire attended our local rural Scoil Náisiúnta and Pobalscoil. Máire is now about to begin the next part of her life journey which, we find as parents, is less unsure and uncertain of the path which went before:- a new challenge has to be met. Eithne is a new Board
Paul Radford - Leinster Director
Paul is our Leinster Director.
Sylvaine Ni Cheallachain - National Secretary
Sylvaine served for 7 years on the committee of Down Syndrome Dublin, from 2012 to the end of 2019. For six of those years she served as branch secretary, taking minutes in meetings, answering members’ queries, liaising with the National Office, writing regular newsletters to members informing them of events and managing the branch’s social media. In 2013, she created a Facebook group for parents and guardians of children and adults with Down syndrome, to give them a place to share experiences and information in a supportive, private space. This group has grown to have over 2,200 parent members. As a parent of a teenager with Down syndrome, she believes that she brings a level of understanding of the challenges faced by children with Down
Nichola Aylward - Treasurer
Nichola is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland. She has an Honours degree in Business Information Systems and is currently completing an LLB Law Degree. Nichola served as Treasurer on the committee of the DSI Waterford and South Kilkenny Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland for over 7 years. She worked with the branch committee, branch members and National Office during that time to effectively and efficiently manage the financial and governance needs of the Branch in the best interests of branch members and their families. Nichola worked with the branch committee to create a Juniors Club for younger members, to run a Parents Conference, to offer extensive new education and life-enhancing activities to Branch members and to offer new SLT, Physio