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Board of Directors

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Board of Directors

The Irish Emergency Alliance is governed by a Board of Directors, which includes the Chief Executives of all seven of our member organisations and three independent Directors. The vast majority of our work is done by existing staff from our member organisations. There is one additional part-time paid resource with the alliance, the Appeals Directors, who coordinates the work of the alliance. This collaboration model helps ensure costs are kept to a minimum. Our priority is delivering aid and support to those who need it, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The Board has ultimate responsibility for directing the work of the organisation; defining its values, vision, and strategic goals, and ensuring the organisation remains true to its charitable purpose.

The Board ensure the organisation is fully compliant with the Charities Regulator Governance Code and complies with the Charities Act 2009.

The Board has two Sub-Committees, a Finance and Audit Committee and an Executive Committee

Independent Directors

Liz O’Donnell (Chairperson)

Liz O Donnell was born in Dublin, educated at Trinity College Law School. She was first elected to Dublin City Council for the Progressive Democrats Party in 1990.

She served as TD for Dublin-South for fifteen years in the Irish Parliament. During that time, she served as Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (1997-2002) and was on the Irish Government team in the multi-party talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and had a continuing role in Anglo Irish affairs until 2002. Liz was also Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish Aid programme and Human Rights and oversaw a significant increase of the aid budget.

Liz was a longstanding member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, British Irish Parliamentary Body, the Committee of Procedure and Privileges and a member of the Commission of the Houses of the Oireachtas. She was Deputy Leader of the Progressive Democrats when she retired from politics in 2007.

After politics, Liz worked in journalism, broadcasting and public affairs consultancy. She was appointed by the Government as Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority in 2014 a position she still retains. She worked until 2020 as Policy Communications and Government Affairs with MSD(Human Health) Ireland, the multi-national healthcare company. She has two adult children and lives in Dublin. She is a Director of Chernobyl Children International.

Alan Moore (Company Secretary)

Alan is a highly experienced senior manager, with strong academic background and more than 20 years post-qualification experience as a Chartered accountant. He has extensive management experience in Ireland and internationally working in the international NGO sector along with strong business background in environments which have been challenging and diverse. 

Alan is the CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation (ILCUF), and a senior board member and treasurer of the European Microfinance Platform. He has previously worked extensively in Asia and is a former board member and treasurer of Dóchas.

Daryl Upsall, President of Daryl Upsall International

Based in Madrid, Daryl has 38 years working with over 240 non-profits in 70 countries. Known for his leadership and innovation; for pioneering digital fundraising and as a co-creator of face to face fundraising during the 1990s when leading Greenpeace International fundraising.

Daryl is President of Daryl Upsall International a global consulting and recruitment agency serving the non-profit sector worldwide since 2001. He is co-owner of Spain's leading telephone fundraising agency, The Fundraising Company SL; the face to face fundraising agency International Fundraising SL and the integrated social/media digital fundraising agency SL.

Daryl has spoken at conferences in 34 countries and writes for the leading non-profit journals. He is a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Fundraising and former Vice-Chair, the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Gwen Dempsey

Gwen is the Director of Ireland Programmes and has been with Trócaire since 2016. The Director of Ireland Programmes is responsible for the strategic direction and success of Trócaire’s Global Brand and Communications, Public Engagement & Fundraising across the island of Ireland. Gwen’s background is in Marketing and Strategy with over 20 years’ experience with blue chip companies including ARYZTA, Bord Na Mona and Cadbury Trebor Bassett. Gwen is also a board member of the Charities Institute of Ireland.

Kieran Garry

Kieran is a highly experienced media consultant with over 25 years’ experience in national journalism and PR. He established GPR Communications in 2019 having worked with a leading Irish PR firm for more than 10 years. Prior to that he was a Radio Editor and Producer on several flagship news and current affairs programmes in RTÉ and Today FM, as well as Deputy Station Editor of Newstalk.

He previously worked as a teacher in a secondary school in rural Zimbabwe for three and a half years as part of the Irish Aid programme to that country. He holds a Masters in Journalism from DCU and a BA and PDE from NUIG.

Member Organisation Directors

Caoimhe de Barra (Trócaire)

Caoimhe de Barra is CEO of Trócaire, a social justice organisation working in partnership with local development and humanitarian actors, to support people and communities to tackle the root causes of poverty, injustice and violence and to use their own power to create positive and lasting change. Trócaire is the overseas development agency of the Irish Catholic Church.

Caoimhe has lived and worked in several sub-Saharan African Countries, including Mozambique and Malawi, over her 25 year career in development. Her areas of specialisation are in: leading strategic change; governance & human rights; gender equality; and humanitarian preparedness and response.

Caoimhe is on the Board of CIDSE, an international family of Catholic social justice organisations working for transformational change to end poverty and inequality.

Feargal O’Connell (CEO, Self Help Africa)

Feargal has spent nearly two decades in senior roles at non-governmental organisations including Concern Worldwide, the International Rescue Committee and most recently Sightsavers Ireland, where he was CEO.  
His work has taken him to Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Sudan and Nigeria, while he has also worked for periods in New York and in Ireland. 
Feargal has developed expertise in risk, crisis and change management through leading programmes on health systems strengthening, climate change and resilience initiatives, as well as front-line emergency response in fragile and conflict settings.  
He is passionate about ensuring that programme learning, and data is brought to bear in effective policy dialogues that seek to address the fundamental global issues that are driving poverty and vulnerability. 
Feargal holds a Bachelor of Arts from University College Dublin and a Masters in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Leeds.

Gillian Barnett (World Vision Ireland)

Gillian Barnett is the CEO of World Vision Ireland. She has over 20 years of experience in the charity sector, with a specialism in fundraising and communications. Throughout her career, she has significantly grown income in a number of small, medium and large organisations, to fund vital work. This has involved developing meaningful partnerships with supporters, and ensuring maximum impact for beneficiaries.

Gillian is driven by her Christian faith and believes that all children deserve hope and a future. She is passionate that children are kept high in the political and public agenda so that their voices are not lost. She has a keen interest in supporting vulnerable children,  and has held a number of voluntary roles including counselling, and working with children with physical and learning difficulties.

Prior to joining World Vision Ireland, Gillian was at World Vision UK and has held a number of senior positions at the MS Society, ChildLine and Rennie Grove Hospice Care. She has a BA Hons degree, and holds the Professional Diploma in Marketing.

Karol Balfe (ActionAid Ireland)

Karol Balfe is CEO of ActionAid Ireland and oversees the organisation’s work on women and children’s human rights. Karol has worked for over 18 years in the fields of international human rights, development and peacebuilding. Prior to working with ActionAid, Karol worked with Christian Aid for nine years as Global Head of Peacebuilding, Head of Programmes and as an Adviser on Governance, Human Rights and Peacebuilding and worked on a range of human rights issues with Amnesty International Ireland and prior to that with Oxfam. Karol has a Masters in Globalisation and has worked extensively with civil society partners in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Paul O’Brien (Plan International Ireland)

Paul is CEO of Plan International Ireland, an international NGO dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls.

With a career spanning 35 years in development and humanitarian work, he has lived and worked in a number of developing countries, including Kenya, Sudan, Liberia, Bangladesh and Tanzania.

Paul currently serves on the board of Dóchas and is Chair of the Board of the Plan International EU office in Brussels.

He has studied agriculture and development and holds an MBA from University College Dublin.

Rosamond Bennett (Christian Aid Ireland)

Rosamond is the CEO of Christian Aid Ireland, an international NGO focusing on peacebuilding, gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, and emergency response. She is also a board member of Christian Aid Kenya based in Nairobi and a former Chair of the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. Rosamond is a human rights activist with a focus on women’s empowerment, particularly in the area of peacebuilding.

She is also the Chair of DU Dance, a dance development agency, working with young people from disadvantaged areas and ethnic minority backgrounds in Northern Ireland, Palestine, and Ethiopia.

Sean Copeland (Tearfund Ireland)

Sean is the CEO of Tearfund Ireland, an international NGO focusing on lifting communities out of poverty for good. Tearfund works through the church community.

Originally from the USA, Sean has worked in Ireland for twenty-five years building and developing businesses of all sizes. Working with start-ups, SME’s and larger enterprises Sean has specialised in establishing new businesses, creating new sales channels, identifying partnership opportunities, and leveraging key relationships to drive revenue and growth. 

Alongside his business career, Sean has served in leadership, pastoral, and mentoring roles within the Church