Our Board Members

Members of Barnardos Board

  • Chair: David Begg 
  • Treasurer: Gerry Murphy
  • Grainne Burke
  • John O'Reilly
  • Helen Kelly
  • Phelim O'Leary
  • Miriam Hughes
  • Jane Forman
  • Gary McGann

Our Board Members have all signed up to our Board Code of Conduct

Detailed Terms of Reference for all Barnardos Board Sub Committees are also available.

David Begg, Chair 

David BeggDavid Begg is the Director of TASC, the Think-Tank for Action on Social Change. He was formerly the General Secretary of the Trade Union Centre in Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

Prior to taking up his current position in 2001 he was CEO of Concern Worldwide, an Irish based humanitarian aid and development agency with operations in 27 developing countries and with offices in Britain and the United States.

Other positions held by David Begg include:

  • Director of Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrying airline since 2008;
  • Governor of The Irish Times Trust, the newspaper of record in Ireland from 2002 until October, 2012;
  • Director of the Irish Central Bank 1995-2010;
  • Member of Ireland’s National Economic and Social Council (a tripartite body which advises Government and Social Partners) since 2001.

He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Dublin City University.  David became a Barnardos Board member in 2013.

Gerry Murphy, Treasurer

Gerry is from Co. Wicklow and is a Chartered Accountant (FCA), an AITA Chartered Tax Adviser and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). 

He is Managing Director of GDAC Partners Limited (GDAC), a Chartered Accountancy practice specialising in the provision of Financial Planning and Advisory services to corporate and private clients.

Prior to the establishment of GDAC, Gerry held a number of senior executive positions in both industry and finance. Most recently he was Group Finance Director of Jacob Fruitfield Foods. Prior to that, Gerry held a number of roles in financial services including CEO of the HypoVereinsbank group operations in Ireland and Assistant Treasurer at Intel Corporation.

Gerry acts as non-executive Director to a number of international financial services companies, he also became a Barnardos Board member in 2012.

Grainne Burke

Grainne BurkeGrainne Burke has held management roles in voluntary organisations working with children and families for over 30 years. She has a strong interest in the development of outcomes focussed and needs led services for children and families in Ireland.

She held a senior management role as an assistant director of children's services with Barnardos for 26 years. She has had responsibility for the setting up, development and delivery of a wide range of targeted services for children and families experiencing significant disadvantage in urban and rural settings including family support, early years, teen parent support, bereavement counselling and residential childcare.

Within Barnardos she was part of the management team that led out on the development and delivery of the National Springboard Family Support Initiative and was a member of the National Evaluation Committee for this Initiative.  She led and hosted with colleagues across sectors and with young people, the strategic development of the organisation Empowering People in Care EPIC (formerly IAYPIC) from its inception through to its strategic launch as an independent organisation.

She has held the role of chair on interagency committees including Fingal County Childcare Committee and Dunlaoghaire Rathdown Drugs Task Force.

She is currently working in a senior management role with youngballymun which is an area based approach to addressing child poverty in this urban area.

She has a Masters Degree in Equality Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Mediation and Conflict Resolution from University College Dublin. She has previous qualifications in nursing and has worked abroad in Australia in this field of work.  Grainne became a Barnardos Board member in 2013.

John O’Reilly

John, from Dublin, is a Chartered Accountant,  He retired as CEO of Paddy Power PLC in December 2005 having been with the company since its inception.  He served a variety of roles and was fundamental in the development of the business and its diversification into new business channels.

Since his retirement, John has taken a keen interest in the charitable sector with a particular emphasis in the area of homelessness. John became a Barnardos Board member in 2013.

Helen Kelly

Helen KellyHelen Kelly has over 25 years of banking experience with Barclays in London and Dublin. Helen has spent the last 9 years providing specialist banking services to large Irish corporates and was appointed Head of Large Corporates – Ireland in Jan 2009. She leads a team of Relationship Directors who deliver banking solutions to many of Ireland’s largest companies (public and private), semi-State entities and key players in niche sectors with a strong predominance in the agrifood sector. Prior to returning to Ireland in 2004, Helen had a variety of roles in Corporate Banking in London.  

Helen joined the Board in 2014.

Phelim O’Leary

Phelim O'LearyPhelim O’Leary was born in Cork, where he attended Presentation Brothers College, and subsequently UCC, where he graduated in Psychology and Economics.

He trained at Irish Marketing Surveys, and thereafter joined Lansdowne Market Research where he became Director of Qualitative Research.

In 1985 Behaviour & Attitudes Limited was founded by Des Byrne, Graham Wilkinson and Phelim.  It went on to become Ireland’s leading independent market research agency.

Phelim is a specialist in qualitative research, and has been at the forefront of the development of the methodology in Ireland.  He has presented many papers on the subject, including one on innovation to ESOMAR (the global market research body).

In addition to carrying out many domestic qualitative studies in his role as a Director of Behaviour & Attitudes, he has managed and conducted many qualitative projects internationally.

He is also a big rock music fan.

Miriam Hughes

Miriam HughesMiriam is from Dublin and is a seasoned Marketer and Communications Specialist. She has over 15 years experience in client marketing from FMCG brands like Kit Kat and Nivea to Financial Services and has a breadth of experience across the Agency side where she has been for the last 15 years.  She began her marketing career in AIB Financial Services and moved on to a brand position with Smith & Nephew. She was Marketing Director of Nestle in Ireland and before joining DDFH&B in 1999; she was Head of Communications, Sales & Marketing at the Bank of Ireland.  At BOI, she was responsible for all above, below the line and internal communications programmes for the bank.

Miriam’s current role at DDFH&B covers all elements of a truly integrated communications strategy. They are currently the only group that concurrently holds four Grand Prix, one for every communication discipline: advertising, digital, activation and Media. DDFH&B have many award winning campaigns like Rainbow for the National Lottery, the Big Switch for Bord Gáis, the Fáilte Ireland Fun Starts Here and Supervalu Hello. Miriam and her team have also worked on a pro bono basis for the Jack and Jill Foundation, and Laura Lynn’s Sunshine Home just to name a few.

Miriam is a graduate of UCD and holds a BComm and MBS in Marketing.  She is a past president of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and past chairman of the Advertisers Association of Ireland.  She was also a past board member of the Irish Hospice foundation and a current council member for the IMI.

Jane Forman

Ursula KilkellyJane is currently a Programme Executive with The Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland. Jane has a background in vocational training and education and has fulfilled a number of senior management roles including general management, programme development and business development with the Rehab Group and FAS. She spent ten years as Chairperson of the Tallaght Partnership and has significant board experience in the community and voluntary sector. She holds an MA in French language and literature from St Andrew’s University in Scotland and also holds an MBA from The Open University. She recently secured an IoD Diploma in Company Direction.

Gary McGann

Gary McGannGary McGann is the former Group Chief Executive Officer of the Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG), one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging solutions in the world.

Before joining the (then) Jefferson Smurfit Group in 1998 he held various executive positions at senior VP or CEO level in Irish industry in both the private and public sector. In 1968 he joined the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office as an auditor. He joined LM Ericsson Limited as Management Accountant in 1978 and later became Group Financial Controller of the Irish companies of LM Ericsson Group. He joined Gilbeys of Ireland Group as Group Finance Director in 1988 and was appointed Chief Executive in late 1991. He was also Chief Executive of their IFSC Company “Grand Met Finance Ireland” which he helped found in 1990. In early 1994, the Irish Government appointed him as Group Chief Executive of Aer Lingus, a position he held until 1998. He joined the Smurfit Group as Chief Financial Officer in August 1998. He was appointed President & Chief Operations Officer in December 1999, and was elected to the Group’s Board in January 2000. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in November 2002.

Gary is Chairman of Aon Ireland and Paddy Power plc. He is also a Director of Green Reit plc, Sicon Ltd (Sisk Group), a Director and former President of IBEC (Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation), and a Director of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. He is also a former member of the ERT (European Round Table of Industrialists) and Chairman of CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries).

Gary obtained a Bachelor of Arts from U.C.D., is a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Accountants (FCCA), and holds a Masters degree in Management Science (MScMgnt). He is also an Honorary Fellow of the National College of Ireland.

Gary is married to Moira and they have 3 daughters and two granddaughters. He enjoys golf, music and theatre.



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