As a team, we are dedicated to supporting our members and their families, in this section you will find all of our staff and their contact information.
Barry Sheridan - CEO
Barry is our Chief Executive Officer and is a skilled business development and programme manager with diverse experience in local development − including social inclusion programmes supporting young people, unemployed, and those most disadvantaged, to fulfill their potential. He has 10 years’ experience of successfully developing innovative business development strategy solutions across the public and private sectors, with an excellent track record in increasing funding and attracting sponsorship from corporates and through national / EU funding applications. A highly flexible, adaptable, and effective at managing multiple projects, dedicated teams, and stakeholders - Barry is currently completing MSc in Local Development and Innovation on part-time basis. You can contact him via email at Barry@downsyndrome.ie
Member Support Team
Nicola Hart - Member Support Team Leader
Nicola Hart is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist who has worked for over 20 years with people who have Down syndrome and their families. She has been working for Down Syndrome Ireland since 2010, first in a local branch, then in a national capacity.
Nicola became full time team leader for the Member Support Team in 2017. She continues to offer advice, training and support as National Speech and Language Advisor and has given up her direct Speech and Language Therapy work with the local branch in Kildare in order to concentrate on her national role.
Nicola believes strongly that research should inform practice, and represents Down Syndrome Ireland annually at the European Down Syndrome Research Forum. She is active in disseminating
Fiona McGrane - Research Nurse
Fiona McGrane (CNM11, RNID, RCN) was appointed as research nurse in Down Syndrome Ireland in July 2010. She is based at Trinity College Dublin, Department of Paediatrics National Children’s Hospital Tallaght. This post is supported by Down Syndrome Ireland. Fiona is a qualified paediatric nurse and also an intellectual disability nurse. She holds a diploma in social care awarded by Stockport University. Fiona has a broad experience in acute paediatric nursing and also with children and adults with an intellectual disability. Her role is to provide support and education and to conduct research in the area of Down syndrome. Fiona is available from Monday to Friday to provide advice, up-to-date information and education in relation to any medical queries that you may have
Fidelma Brady - Head of Education
Fidelma Brady is our Head of Education and is available to support you and your child in their journey through school from primary, post primary and special school.
She will also provide advice and information at each stage of educational transition and when difficulties arise.
Fidelma will also be available to provide support, information, advice and training for schools and teachers to assist them in the provision of appropriate education for children and young people with Down syndrome.
The development and delivery of conferences, workshops and training at regional and national level for parents and education professionals will also be a key focus for Fidelma.
A key component of our Member Support Team, she will continue to research, collect and disseminate
Aoife Gaffney - Head of Employment and Projects
Aoife Gaffney is our Head of Employment, she previously worked with the Waterford & South Kilkenny Branch of DSI in 2016/17 and has worked in our National Office since July 2017. Aoife has over 10 years experience working with children & adolescents with Autism, Down syndrome & other disabilities. Aoife works on our Ability Programme, securing partnerships with employers and providing training and support to ensure meaningful employment opportunities for adults with Down syndrome. She also works hands on with adults with Down syndrome, delivering intensive pre-employment training, prior to them beginning work, and providing ongoing support while at work. Aoife manages our Beauty in all its Forms Programme, which is a joint initiative with Alfaparf Milano and provides training to adults with Down syndrome,
Helena Connors - Adult Advocacy Officer
Helena Connors joined us in January 2018 in the new role of Adult Advocacy Officer. Helena has worked in various roles supporting people with disabilities for the past twenty years. She recently returned to college and completed an LLM in Disability Law and Policy. In addition to studying Irish Disability Law and Policy there was a strong focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
As Adult Advocacy Officer, Helena supports adults with Down syndrome and their families to have their voices heard and to act as a voice for people who don’t yet have the skills to do so. Helena can be contacted through our national office on (01) 5632450 or by mobile 086 4649 408 and by email at
Lisa Martin - Head of Adult Education
Lisa Martin is our Head of Adult Education and coordinates our Adult Education Programme. Lisa is a secondary school teacher and her career has focused on students’ literacy skills. Lisa has written our work skills adult education course which forms a key part of the Ability programme. She has also taught the Latch On literacy and technology programme in our Limerick branch for four years. She supports adults who wish to progress to further education or would like training in order to enter the workforce. Lisa can be contacted through our National Office on (01) 5632450 or by mobile 086 0126 669 and on email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Olive Buckeridge - Early Years Specialist
Olive Buckeridge has recently joined the Members Support Team as our Early Years Specialist. Olive is also an experienced speech and language therapist with a particular interest in early year’s development. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings and has most recently worked in Down Syndrome Ireland’s Limerick branch where she developed and provided specific intervention programmes. She has also provided specific training to preschool and primary school teachers to promote children with Down syndrome’s successful transition from preschool to primary school. Olive works with children and families to support them throughout their early years up to and including their transition to primary school. She is available to provide advice and support to parents from early development, early intervention services and early childhood
Regional Resource Officers
Our Regional Resource Officers help people with Down syndrome and their family’s access support locally.
Regional Resource Officers provide vital support and a point of contact for new parents as well as families who need help and support at local level at every life stage.
Mike Egan - Regional Resource Officer - Louth Meath Branch
Mike Egan started working with the Louth Meath branch of DSI as a part-time Regional Resource Officer in November 2016, having had over 10 years front-line and management experience in adult learning disability services.
His role in the Louth Meath branch is to act as an information and support officer for the members and committee, helping to ensure they are aware of their full entitlements and rights to get all the services and opportunities that they need. Where such services are not readily available, Mike works with the branch and DSI National Team to campaign for additional and improved services for members of all ages.
He has a particular interest in the possibility of individualised funding/personal budgets for people with Down syndrome to
Mary Frances O’Dwyer - Regional Employment Officer for Dublin
Mary Frances O’Dwyer is the Regional Employment Officer for Dublin. She works to bring together adults with Down syndrome that are looking to gain meaningful employment with employers who can provide such opportunities, across a range of sectors in the Dublin area. Mary Frances has a background in drama, and for over a decade has been working to support adults with disabilities, in various settings. She has worked in third-level institutions with students who have diverse needs, both in the classroom and in library support. She has taught classes in drama and literacy to groups of adults with intellectual disabilities in day services around Dublin, including guiding groups toward achieving QQI certificates in drama. For Down Syndrome Ireland, Mary Frances has previously worked with the
Central Support Team
Down Syndrome Ireland’s Central Support Team supports members, branches and the professional community connected by Down syndrome.
Annette O’Neill - Member Support Officer
Our Member Support Officer is Annette O’Neill. Annette provides support services to our members as well as with our branches around the country. Annette is also involved in organising and delivering our information events, conferences and our annual AGM. Other duties include the management of the membership database. Annette also handles Numicon inquires and liaises with our Numicon Trainers to deliver Numicon training which takes place regularly in branches, schools and education centres around the country. Numicon has proved to be an extremely effective tool in teaching Maths to people with Down syndrome. Annette can be contacted at by email at email@example.com or by phone on (01) 5632450 or mobile 083 4031 817
Anne-Marie Dolan - Senior Administrator
Anne-Marie Dolan is Senior Administrator and receptionist at our national office.
Anne-Marie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (01) 5632450.
Ross O’Neill - Junior Administrator
Ross O’Neill is our Junior Administrator. Ross has been working at DSI for 12 years and plays a central role at the National Office. His jobs include distributing in-coming post and ensuring that the post book is signed daily, issuing requests for 'student packs', photocopying and ensuring photocopier paper trays are filled, assisting with mailouts, greeting and looking after visitors to National Office and ensuring Visitor Book sign-ins. Ross also takes responsibility for setting up for meetings and conferences and clearing up after same. He takes in all deliveries and puts away as required. Ross weighs, franks, sorts and bags all out-going post and laminates posters and signs, as well as binding documents and publications. Ross also assists at fundraising events and assists all members
Payroll and Human Resources
Willie Lewins - Payroll and Human Resources Manager
Our Payroll and Human Resources Manager is Willie Lewins. Willie takes care of all salaries, wages and HR enquiries at national and branch level. Willie can be contacted at email@example.com or (01) 5632450.
Deirdre Saul - Chief Financial Officer
Deirdre joined Down Syndrome Ireland in December 2019 as the Chief Financial Officer. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants of Ireland. Having spent a number of years working in American international companies, she has now decided to bring her skills and expertise to the charity sector. She has volunteered with a number of charities and is involved in her local Credit Union and Scout Group. Deirdre can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 5632454.
Communications and Lobbying Team
Our Communications and Lobbying Team manages communications with the media, our members, professionals, the general public and the various teams within our organisation both locally and nationally. The team also compiles the Down Syndrome Ireland magazine, e-newsletters and manages the content of our website and social media channels. The team also highlight national issues which impact on people who have Down syndrome and their families in order to influence Government policies.
Cathy Gray - Head of Communications and Public Affairs
Our Head of Communications and Public Affairs is Cathy Gray. Having spent a number of years working as a journalist on both a local and national level, Cathy decided to apply her expertise and knowledge to the charity sector.
Since then, she has worked for a number of charities in marketing and communications roles. With a Masters in Journalism and Public Relations, she is passionate about helping people tell their story and empowering them to have their voices heard.
Cathy joined Down Syndrome Ireland as Head of Communications and Public Affairs in March 2016.
Cathy can be contacted at email@example.com or 0860463702.
David Oglesby - Digital Communications
David Oglesby is our Digital Communications Officer, he brings a number of digital marketing and design to the role on the communications team. David has a background in videography, digital/graphic and print design, his career so far has seen him work for a number of non-profit organisations, working on a number of high profile digital marketing campaigns. David can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 414 4487
Down Syndrome Ireland has a very small, but very active fundraising team. 86% of the money needed to run services has to be raised through fundraising. Meet our team:
Mark O’Doherty - Head of Fundraising and Retail
Our Head of Fundraising and Retail is Mark O’Doherty.
Having spent twenty years’ working in the private sector with companies specialising in branding, advertising and marketing communications, Mark decided to apply his experience and skill set to the non profit sector. In 2010, he applied for and won a much coveted place on the Vodafone Foundation’s World of Difference Programme. Since then, he has worked in Fundraising and Communication roles with a number of charities. Mark believes in leading by example and has participated in two parachute jumps and two Camino walks to date for charity.
He recently completed a Masters in Management: Community & Voluntary Services. Mark joined Down Syndrome Ireland as Head of Fundraising and Retail in March 2016.
Kathleen Fitzsimons - Corporate Fundraising Manager
Our Corporate Fundraising Manager is Kathleen Fitzsimons.
For the past 15 years, Kathleen has been working in the Charity Sector. In Tesco Ireland HQ she introduced and ran the Tesco Charity of the Year and helped to raise over 4.5million for national charity organisations. She has worked directly for a number of charities for the past 10 years and joined Down Syndrome Ireland in 2012 and introduced a number of new fundraising initiatives.
Kathleen is very passionate about the work she does and really enjoys working to support people with Down syndrome and their families.
Kathleen can be contacted at email@example.com and (01) 5632456 / 087 418 0175.
Down Syndrome Ireland has a growing number of Charity Shops which are an integral part of our annual fundraising activity as they provide much needed sustainable income on a regular basis.
Barbara McCarthy - Charity Shop Manager
Barbara joined Down Syndrome Ireland in July 2017. She brings over 20 years experience working in retail in the charity sector and to our shop in the GPO where she is Manager. Barbara enjoys working with her dedicated team of volunteers as they work together to develop a strong customer base, all the while promoting the values of Down Syndrome Ireland. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 0274178.
Gerry Moore - Charity Shop Manager
Gerry joined Down Syndrome Ireland in March 2015 as a Charity Shop Sales Assistant, after many years in the Retail and Hospitality sectors. Applying skills learned in both areas helped him attain the Shop Manager’s position, first as part-time, but now as a full-time Manager in our Finglas shop. Ensuring customers are happy and returning is what keeps Gerry going, whilst hopefully increasing sales and building awareness about Down syndrome with the general public. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on 086 411 2603.
Celine King - Charity Shop Manager
Celine is the shop manager in our Templeogue shop. She joined Down Syndrome Ireland at the end of 2019 after spending a decade working in retail in the UK, for a large charity. Celine's main goals are to ensure that customers are happy and enjoy their shopping experience with us, and to build a good rapport with them. Our cause is very close to Celine's heart as she has a brother with Down syndrome. Through her shop management work, Celine sees the benefit and real difference that can be made to the lives of so many people with Down syndrome and their families.
Down Syndrome Ireland receives valuable support to fund two team positions through the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community & Voluntary Sector (SSNO).