Our board members
Kevin Griffin - President Down Syndrome Ireland
Kevin Griffin from our Kerry Branch is the President of Down Syndrome Ireland. Kevin worked with Eircom based in Killarney and is now retired. Kevin has eight children, the youngest of whom Cathal, aged 27, has Down syndrome. He has been a member of our board for five years and has worked tirelessly to improve services at local and national level and to promote further inclusion for people with Down syndrome. Kevin has always believed in the volunteer ethos and has involved himself in local voluntary organisations, in particular, his local GAA club both as a player and at official level. He was involved in setting up the Kerry Social Farming initiative for people with disabilities and continues as an active member. Kevin also serves
Amanda Cahir-O’Donnell - National Secretary
Amanda Cahir-O’Donnell is passionate about empowering people with disabilities, and their families, to live life to its full potential. She lives in the Curragh, Co. Kildare and is married to Keelan O’Donnell. They have one wonderful child Conor, aged 17 with Down Syndrome, who sees no limits to his ambitions. Since 2003, Amanda has been involved with Down Syndrome Ireland (and Kildare), as an active fundraiser and advocate . Amanda is a Published Author, Award-Winning Executive Coach, Team Coach, Educator and Leadership Facilitator. She originally qualified with an Honors Degree in Primary Education. This was followed by a Master’s Degree in Educational Management in Trinity College Dublin, in 1996. Other qualifications achieved by Amanda include: Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (NCI); Fellow of the
Gerard O Carroll - Kerry Branch
Gerard has been a member of Kerry Branch DSI for almost 20 years and has served on the National Council and on branch Committees. He is married to Dominique and has two sons, Lucca 16 and Yann 20. Yann has DS, has benefited from services and opportunities offered by DSI at national and branch level, and is currently completing a PLC. Gerard works as a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences in the Tralee campus of Munster Technological University. He has presented and written articles and book chapters on the themes of Inclusive and Special education and has provided training seminars and workshops to educators. He serves on many boards in education, health, social services, child care, disability services etc. He is a strong
Liam McLoughlin - Dublin Branch
Liam McLoughlin M.Ed., H.D.S.GC., lives in Dublin and is the parent of Maeve, who has Down syndrome. Liam is a retired teacher and Guidance Counsellor and a lifelong advocate of inclusion and the rights of people with a disability to access education and a meaningful life.
Marian Flanagan - Dublin Branch
Marian lives in Dublin and has a thirteen year old daughter with Down syndrome. She has a degree in English Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast, a H.Dip. in Arts Admin from UCD and a Diploma in Legal Studies and BL Degree from King’s Inns. She is a practicing barrister, having previously worked in the cultural sector. As a consultant, she worked on organisational reviews and strategic planning for various arts charities. Marian is particularly interested in promoting a rights based agenda for persons with disabilities and believes that early intervention and meaningful access to education are the fundamental first steps on the journey towards achieving those rights for our members. She currently serves on the Boards of Management of a local national school and a
John Upton - Waterford South Kilkenny Branch
John Upton lives in Waterford where he works for the HSE as a Medical Physicist. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Master’s Degree in Physical Sciences in Medicine in 1993, and took up his current post in University Hospital Waterford in 1995. He is married to Maura and they have three children; Sarah & Ann who are in college in Dublin, and seán who attends Secondary school in Waterford, and who has Down syndrome. John has been active in the Waterford & South Kilkenny Branch of DSI since Seán’s birth in 2002, serving as Committee Member, Treasurer, and Chairperson, at various times over the years. He joined the Board of DSI in 2017.
Bernadette Connolly - Galway Branch
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.
Fiona Dunny - Kildare Branch
Fiona lives in Co. Kildare and is married to Paul. They have 4-year old twins, Tim and Saoirse. Tim has Down syndrome. Fiona has been a committee member with the Kildare branch since 2018 and is a representative for their Early Development Group. She is also a ParentLink volunteer. Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University College Dublin and has held numerous posts in Finance, Recruitment, Compliance and HR in the private sector in both Ireland and the UK. She currently works as a Business Manager within an Irish SME.