Our board members
Marian Flanagan - President Down Syndrome Ireland
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
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
Alan Martin - National Treasurer
Alan is an experienced senior consultant with a number of the Big 4 accounting practices providing taxation and business strategy advice to organisations across the island of Ireland. During his time in professional practice, he has advised on all aspects of government, commerce and charitable activity, having assisted many government organisations, businesses and charitable bodies in developing appropriate systems and procedures to meet their legal obligations, their charitable remit whilst delivering an efficient service to users. Most recently he took time away from full-time work and studied for a Masters's at UCD which he successfully completed. Currently living in Northern Ireland as a result of the Covid pandemic, he will be returning to live in Dublin as soon as circumstances allow. Alan has many years
Gerard O Carroll - Munster Director
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 Director
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.
John Upton - Muster Director
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 - 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.
Fiona Dunny - Leinster Director
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.
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.