Current Council

The former Gaisce Council comprised of 13 members. Gaisce Council members are appointed for a three year term and comprise President’s Award Leaders, Gaisce awardees, business supporters and those with relevant experience. The nomination of Council includes the appointment of a Chairman. Gaisce are currently recruiting for new council members for the 2015-2018 term.

John Concannon (Chairman)

John is the Director of Ireland 2016, the 100 year anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Before taking on that mantle, John was Director of Market Development with Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland from 2009 until 2014. He was responsible for the domestic marketing of Ireland as a tourism destination and developed the successful ‘Discover Ireland’ consumer brand and marketing programme. He also headed up online and digital strategy, international business tourism, festivals and events, the ‘Visit Dublin’ division, and ‘visitor and trade engagement’ as well as the international publicity function for Ireland. In 2010 John was awarded the accolade ‘Irish Marketer of the Year’ for his work relating to the marketing of Ireland as a tourist destination.


Andrew Madden

Andrew is a campaigner and advocate for making a lasting difference for children.

He spent over 15 years campaigning for the safety, welfare, and protection of children, and was the first person in Ireland to go public about clerical child sexual abuse in 1995. He led a successful campaign to effect the establishment of the Murphy Inquiry, and worked closely with the Inquiry and Government. The Murphy Report was published in 2009. In 2003, he published his own story, ‘Altar Boy, a Story of Life After Abuse’. Andrew has also worked for over 13 years as an IT Trainer and Consultant, developing and delivering IT training programmes at all levels in both the Public and Private Sector

Justin McAleese

Justin is a chartered accountant and Head of Investor Relations at Ryanair.

In 2015, Justin was actively involved in the campaign for marriage equality, serving as joint co-ordinator of the Yes Equality campaign in the Dublin Bay South constituency. Justin is a recipient of Gaisce Silver and Bronze awards, is an alumnus of the Washington Ireland programme and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Master of Accounting Degree from University College Dublin.

Carmel Nic Airt

Carmel has held positions as a teacher and member of management in various schools.

She is the founder of Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, the first multi-denominational Gaelscoil in Ireland outside a major city with more than 300 students and over 30 members of staff. Carmel is a campaigner for the rights of all children to an education befitting their ability irrespective of background, cognitive or physical ability is currently undertaking a PhD in Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh.


Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop

Ellen is the CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, working towards delivering DRCC’s mission of preventing and healing the trauma of rape and sexual abuse in Irish society.

The DRCC’s work is supported by a dedicated Board and Staff who deliver on the day to day governance and frontline services of the Centre. Ellen’s other interests are music, art and mythology, and the West of Ireland. Ellen is also involved in the running of the Annual Summer School on Clare Island, Co Mayo, together with the Bard Team.


Aonghus Sammin

Aonghus Sammin is the principal of Bradán Consulting based in Galway and Dublin.

He is a qualified accountant with 20 years business experience. Originally from Mayo, he has travelled widely and worked overseas before setting up Bradán Consulting in 2006. Bradán provides accounting and consulting services to SMEs and Not-For-Profits. Aonghus chairs the Governance and Finance committee of Gaisce. He is married to Deirdre and has two daughters, Molly and Katie. He is also a long suffering fan of Liverpool FC and Mayo GAA.


Miriam Dollard

Miriam Dollard is the Head of Protocol in the Department of the Taoiseach.

In her current role she co-ordinated the State Ceremonial element of the 1916 Centenary Programme.  She has also worked in the Corporate Affairs and European Union Divisions of the Department.  She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University College Dublin and a Higher Diploma in Education from Trinity College Dublin.

Norma Smurfit

Norma is a formidable fundraiser for a wide range of charitable organisations throughout Ireland.

In 1990 She set up First Step to assist new businesses, which has since lent in excess of €10 million supporting 2,100 projects nationwide, in turn creating 5000 employment opportunities. She has also founded the Irish Famine Commemoration Fund, which distributes funding to organisations working with homeless and disadvantaged youths. She was also the creator of “Spring Clean for Charity” day in Dublin, Cork and Limerick which has raised thousands of euro for St. Vincent de Paul, Focus Ireland and Barnardos. Most recently, Norma has founded Change for Charity, an initiative designed to raise money for charity by putting copper coins that might otherwise get lost to good use. Gaisce is one of the beneficiaries of the initiative.

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