Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Our Board

Mr. Pat Rabbitte – Chairperson

Mr. Pat Rabbitte has served as a public representative for 30 years. He is a former Irish Labour Party politician who served as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2011 to 2014, Leader of the Labour Party from 2002 to 2007 and Minister for State for Commerce, Science and Technology from 1994 to 1997.

As a member of the Cabinet from 2011 to 2014 serving as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources he held responsibility for key State, commercial and utility companies and major employers including the ESB, Eirgrid, Bord Gais and Bord na Mona.

As Minister for State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment with responsibility for Commerce, Science and Technology during his tenure as a junior Minister, Mr. Rabbitte was involved in enacting legislation which extended the role of the credit union movement.

Mr. Rabbitte was Chairperson of the Cabinet Sub Committee on the Misuse of Drugs which established the National Drugs Strategy in 1997.  In 1993 he was the Chairperson of Dublin County Council.

He is currently a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Mr. Rabbitte was appointed Chairperson of Tusla by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. He tenure commenced on the 1st January 2019.

Professor Anne O’ Gara - Deputy Chairperson

Professor Anne O’Gara has had a long and distinguished career of service in Irish education. She was appointed President of Marino Institute of Education (MIE) in August 2006, having previously worked as a Primary Inspector with the Department of Education and Skills and as Assistant National Coordinator of the Home-School-Community Liaison Scheme. Early in her career Anne taught in national schools on the northside of Dublin for more than twenty years. She retired from her role as President of MIE in August 2018.

Anne’s academic qualifications include a B. Ed (1978), M. St. in School Leadership (1999) and Ph.D. (2005). She successfully completed a number of leadership programmes including the Institute of Public Administration, Leadership Challenge Programme and the Innovation Academy Trinity College Dublin, Executive Breakout 2015. In February 2014, Anne was awarded the title of Adjunct Professor in the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in recognition of her experience and leadership in the field of teacher education in Ireland.

Anne holds and has held a number of representational positions. She served two terms as a member of The Teaching Council and was a Director of the Central Applications Office (CAO) from 2009 to 2018. She is regularly invited to contribute at conferences and educational colloquia. Her research interests include education and the law, inclusive education, partnership with parents in education and leadership and change management.       

Mr. Rory O’Ferrall 

Partner and Head of Corporate Recovery, Deloitte &Touche up to 2008; Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and Fellow of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.  Public Interest Director Irish Nationwide Building Society, 2009 – 2011; Director Quinn Group (ROI) Limited April 2011 – July 2012; Director Quinn International Property Management Ltd and a number of companies within the 'Property' Group April 2011 – present. Former President of the National Youth Council.  Considerable expertise in strategy, forward planning, change management and reorganisations. Rory is Chair of the Tusla Audit Committee.

Mr. Paul White

Paul A. White, is a founding member of Ireland’s largest indigenous ICT company DCC Technology, he has held Group, Board and Senior Executive roles for DCC Plc in France, the UK, and Ireland, he has worked with Plc’s, established companies and start-up businesses, focusing on business development, mergers, acquisitions and business restructuring.

Paul is a graduate of the postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Michael Smurfit Business School, he has achieved Chartered Director (C Dir) status with the IOD (UK & Irl).

He is a founder member of the Corporate Governance Association of Ireland (CGAI), a member of the Institute of Directors (Irl & UK), the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers (IMCA) and a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland (FMII)

Currently employed as a Corporate Governance adviser with Governance Ireland Ltd, Paul is a SWiFT 3000 Corporate Governance Assessor, A lead QMS auditor for (ISO 9001), a Non-Executive Director, business adviser, investor and mentor, he currently specialises in board effectiveness reviews, mediation and Corporate Governance services.

A former Board and Audit Committee member of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, he is currently the Chair of the Children’s Medical Research Foundation Crumlin and an Audit Committee member at the Office of the Attorney General.

Ms. Deirdre Kiely

Deirdre is an experienced accountant, auditor and business adviser with over 30 years’ experience in private practice working with corporates and public interest entities. She runs her own accountancy and business advisory firm, Kiely & Co, having previously been a partner and head of the Audit, Advisory and Assurance Department at top 10 accountancy firm, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks. Deirdre also has experience at board and audit committee level. She served on the board of Barnardos between 2006 and 2012 and chaired its audit committee. She is presently a board member and audit chair of the Social Finance Foundation, Vice-President of CPA Ireland, a Director at Cork Fertility Centre, a member of the Charity Appeals Tribunal and a member of the audit committee at the Department of Health.

Deirdre is a fellow of both the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA Ireland) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). She is a qualified Barrister, an accredited mediator and a qualified financial advisor. She holds an honours degree and masters in law from University College Cork.

Mr. Liam Irwin

Liam spent most of his career in Revenue. He served in various roles including Collector-General, Deputy Secretary / Accountant General and for almost 10 years, until his retirement in January 2018, as Revenue Commissioner. He represented Revenue in a range of  external engagements, including at EU, OECD and World Customs Organisation and with business and professional bodies in Ireland. He was appointed to the Board of Tusla in 2018.

Mr. Sean Holland

Sean Holland began his career in social care working in homeless projects in Nottingham and Belfast before training as a social worker at the University of Ulster. After qualifying in 1986 he worked in a variety of posts in the HPSS in Northern Ireland in residential, fieldwork, training roles and management roles.

In 2001 Sean was seconded to the Strategic Planning Branch of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to work on the development of a 20 year strategy for the HPSS in Northern Ireland, “A Healthier Future”.

Following the publication of “A Healthier Future” Sean was appointed to the Social Services Inspectorate and became Assistant Chief Social Services Officer in 2008.  Sean was appointed Chief Social Services Officer in July 2010.  Sean was appointed Deputy Secretary of Social Services Policy Group in January 2012.

In addition to his work in Northern Ireland, Sean has undertaken work on child care social work in the Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Albania and Iceland.

As Deputy Secretary Sean sits on the Departmental Board of the Department of Health.

Ms. Avril McDermott

Avril is a Human Resource and Organisational Strategist with extensive experience across multiple sectors.  Avril was HR Director of Hewlett Packard for over 15 years where she had responsibility for both the Irish and International business units across Singapore, USA and EMEA. 

Previously she held various managerial roles in An Post including Communications, Training and Head of Employee Relations.  She is a Fellow of the CIPD and holds a Postgraduate Qualification in Corporate Governance from UCD.

Currently she is Managing Director of AMHR+ Consultancy which offers bespoke services for small medium and large scale organisations.  She is the current Vice Chairperson of the Board of Clúid Housing, which is Ireland’s largest housing association.  

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