People helping each otherThe Wheel is a network of people and without the personal commitment of members, staff and volunteer board members we would not be able to work for the advancement of the sector.

Our membership comprises in excess of 1,300 community, voluntary and charitable organisations, as well a number of  academic bodies and for-profit organisations that are associated with the sector.

The organisation is governed by a board of 15 volunteers, who represent a broad cross-section of  the community and voluntary sector.

The Wheel currently employs over a dozen members of staff who are based in our offices at 48 Fleet Street, Dublin 2.

The Wheel's Founder, Dr Mary Redmond

The late Dr Mary Redmond founded The Wheel in 1999. Her vision was of a national network of charities, community & voluntary groups, social enterprises, clubs and associations joined together in common purpose.

"One of the most distinguished Irish citizens of her generation."

Discover more about the life and work of Dr Mary Redmond here.

Click on any of the headings below to learn more:


Deirdre Garvey - Chief Executive Officer

Deirdre Garvey is the founding Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel and since November 2000 has overseen The Wheel’s establishment and growth to the national network of several thousands it is today with over 1,300 member organisations. 
In The Wheel’s representational capacity, Deirdre has represented the sector’s shared interests on various fora over the years and currently serves as a member of the Charity Regulatory Authority's consultative panel on the Regulation of Fundraising (2016). Previously she has served on the Working Group on ‘Citizen Engagement in Local Government’ (2013); and was also a member of the Steering Group for the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and for the European Year of the Citizen in 2013.  Deirdre was a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) from 2003 to 2007, and an alternate member from 2007 – 2010 and a member of the Steering Group for the ‘Towards 2016’ national agreement in relation to Social Partnership from 2006 to 2010.
She was one of 12 people selected to represent the community and voluntary sector on the Implementation and Advisory Group of the Government's White Paper on Supporting Voluntary Activity which existed from 2001 through to April 2007. By Ministerial appointment, she was a member of The Electoral Area Boundary Committee which reviewed the local electoral area constituency divisions in 2008. 
Deirdre was the founding Chairperson of the Working Group which developed, and published the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations, (2008 – 2013) and is an active member of the Working Group still. She is an in-demand media and public speaker on the topics of excellence in corporate governance in non-profits, charities regulation and best practice in the non-profit sector in general. 

Prior to joining The Wheel, Deirdre was Director of Development (Fundraising) at The Barretstown Gang Camp in Kildare where she worked for five years. Before moving into full-time work in the community and voluntary sector, Deirdre worked in the private sector, holding several managerial posts in the hi-tech field in Germany. Having studied science for her bachelors degree in 1986, she completed a Masters in Business Administration in 2003. Email Deirdre.


Elizabeth Bolger - Director of Programmes

Elizabeth has been with The Wheel since 2005 in a variety of roles in the capacity-building & supports area, assuming her current role in 2016.  She is responsible for The Wheel’s training, publications, advice, support, help-desk and project management of specific projects.  Elizabeth began her professional career as a valuation surveyor.  

A career change to the area of HR & Project management followed, with work in a telecoms centre in Moscow, a conference centre in Navan, an agricultural project in Uganda and management of the Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre.  Elizabeth holds a CIPD Diploma in Personnel Management and a Masters in Strategic Management.  Elizabeth is active on her children’s parents association and the school Board of Management. Email Elizabeth


Ivan Cooper - Director of Public Policy

Ivan Cooper has been Director of Advocacy with The Wheel since 2005. Ivan is charged with progressing The Wheel's policy positions on cross-cutting issues affecting the community and voluntary sector, e.g. charity regulation, strengthening the sector, active-citizenship, standards and supports amongst others. He oversees the research programme which The Wheel conducts about the profile and scope of the community and voluntary sector in Ireland and he represents The Wheel on a range of fora, national and international. He is a member of the Dialogue on Democracy and is a former member of the management committee of the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF).

Formerly Administration Manager with the Crisis Pregnancy Agency, Ivan has worked in a number of positions in the public, private and community and voluntary sectors in Ireland and Scotland, including a period as CEO of Wicklow Chamber of Commerce and Manager of a community group under the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme. Email Ivan


Gert Ackermann - Communications Coordinator

Gert joined The Wheel as Communications Officer in March 2008. Originally from South Africa, he studied Political Science, Journalism and Digital Marketing and cut his teeth in broadcasting, corporate communications and book publishing.

Gert is responsible for The Wheel's communications strategy, media relations and publications.   Email Gert

Paul Meade - Information Coordinator

Paul joined The Wheel as Information Officer in February 2008 and serves as the primary researcher and content manager for Fundingpoint, The Wheel's online database of funding grants. He also is also editor of NewsWheel (formerly Focalpoint), The Wheel's flagship member e-publication and the Fundingpoint Newsletter (Ireland's most widely read monthly fundraising newsletter).

In addition to writing most of The Wheel's promotional emails, Paul is also responsible for developing and/or managing a number of key sector websites (including,, and In his spare time Paul is a qualified therapy dog handler and volunteers regularly in the community with his trusty Labrador, Oscar. Email Paul


Alex McMahon - Finance and Renewals Officer

Alex McMahon joined The Wheel as our Finance Officer in February 2008. Alex previously worked as Finance & Administrations Officer for The European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland for over 11 years.

Prior to EAPN Ireland, Alex worked in her local community Ballymun, as Community Development Officer with The Community Action Programme and Ballymun Women's Centre. Email Alex 


Femi AtoyebiFemi Atoyebi - Information Systems/ Direct Marketing Officer

Femi Atoyebi, originally from Nigeria, started in November 2011 as The Wheel's Information Systems & Direct Markting Officer. He is also the Data Protection Officer. He holds a Masters degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing from the Dublin City University.

Femi has worked for many years in public broadcasting and in corporate / consumer marketing communications in a FMCG.

He coordinated a series of webinars and roadshows including providing strategic communications and marketing support for the stakeholder engagement and public consultation process leading up to the development of the Governance Code for Ireland’s Community and Voluntary sector. Email Femi.


Deirdre Finlay - European Programmes Coordinator

Dee joined the team in August 2015 as our dedicated European Programmes Coordinator. A lively facilitator, she provides advice and training to members on EU funding, with a particular focus on the Europe for Citizens Programme for which she is the National Contact Point in Ireland. She also contributes to business development objectives at The Wheel, supporting EU funding applications.
With over 12 years' international work experience spanning the public, private and voluntary sectors, Dee holds particular specialisms in institutional funding and public engagement. Before working at The Wheel she was Head of Programmes at VSO Ireland, an international development NGO, while earlier in her career she held strategic marketing roles at Bord Bia and Dell.

With an MA in International Relations and a BA in Political Science, Deirdre is a self-confessed nerd, always upskilling and doing diplomas! She speaks fluent French and is a Director of Irish-Ugandan charity, Nurture Africa. Email Deirdre.


Danielle Martin - Policy Officer

Danielle Martin joined The Wheel in September 2016 as Policy Officer working directly with the Director of Public Policy.
Danielle is responsible for driving the on-going development, implementation and evaluation of The Wheel’s Active Citizenship programme researching, analysing and preparing policy position statements, papers and publications relevant for The Wheel’s members and our public policy work on their behalf.
Danielle joins us after spending the last five years working as a Political Advisor in Dáil Éireann and previously working in campaigning and advocacy with Front Line Defenders. She has a degree in Politics and a Masters in Law from Queen’s University Belfast. Email Danielle.


Johnny Sheehan - Membership and Regional Coordinator

Johnny joined The Wheel in April 2016 as Membership and Regional Coordinator. The main focus of his work is to drive the development, presence and participation in The Wheel’s programmes regionally, support the work of the National Rural Network and to support member engagement in The Wheel.
Johnny has more than 20 years’ experience working in the development, youth work and environmental sectors. He worked with Dóchas as Project Coordinator for the European Year for Development 2015 and with the National Youth Council of Ireland as Development Education Programme Coordinator from 2004 to 2012.
He was chairperson of Comhlámh from 2013-2016. He has a background in Environmental Science and worked as a volunteer in Central America during the 1990s. Email Johnny.


Tony Ward, Director of Finance

Tony is responsible for all finance and associated administration and compliance at The Wheel. Tony is a graduate of UCD (B. Comm.) and a qualified charted accountant - he has worked in a number of finance roles in the private and not-for-profit sector as well as senior roles in fundraising and business development.
Tony has significant volunteering experience and has served on numer of boards of directors and committees. In his spare time Tony likes to run competitively and has completed six marathons. Email Tony.

Jayne Tennyson - Events & Marketing Officer

Jayne Tennyson joined the Wheel in June 2015 as the Better Together Marketing Intern. Since December 2016 she has been working as part of the admin support team. Jayne began her current role as Events and Marketing Officer in June 2016.
Jayne is responsible for co-ordinating the Wheel’s specialist training workshops, events and conferences. Jayne also provides communication and marketing support for the Wheel events.
Jayne has a BA hons in Media Production from the University of Glamorgan. She has previously worked as video editor and production assistant with a community radio station and local news website. Email Jayne.

Hugh O'Reilly - Director of Business Development

Hugh joined The Wheel as Business Development Exective in 2010. After a brief sojourn away from the organisation, Hugh rejoined The Wheel as Director of Business Development in 2015.  
Hugh is responsible for directing, leading and supporting work areas on behalf of The Wheel and its members. The primary focus is to drive and implement a strategic and operational funding plan that meets income targets for The Wheel and funds programmes and services that support the sector.
He has over ten years in management and business development roles in Construction, Education, Arts, Fundraising Consultants and Community & Voluntary organisations.  Hugh has a Certificate in Fundraising, a BA in Design and an MA in Public & Political Communication. Email Hugh.

Levina Dixon - Finance Support Administrator 

Levina joined The Wheel in March 2016 as office administrator changed role in June to support finance department. Dealing with finance & membership queries and renewals.
She worked for the last 4 years as a drugs project worker.  Primarily with adults in addiction, developing and delivering harm reduction workshops, educational workshops, keyworking, careplanning, assessments & prison visits.  Levina worked also for 1 year with young people aged 14 – 21 in addiction.
Levina has a Certificate in counselling skills & social studies and a Diploma in addiction studies, both from NUI Maynooth. Email Levina.


Brian Walsh, Business Development Officer

Brian joined The Wheel in October 2016. He has over ten year's experience in the not for profit sector. In that time he has worked with a large service provider and built up experience in management and fundraising. He has also worked with charities as a volunteer and in data analysis.
As Business Development Officer he supports the growth of The Wheel's services to members, manages relationships with suppliers and manages ResourcePoint, The Wheels affinity programme for members. Brian holds a B.A. from NUI Maynooth, and a Higher Diploma in Organisational Behaviour from the Irish Management Institute. Email Brian.


Mairead O'Connor, Training & Advice Coordinator

Mairead O'Connor joined The Wheel in November 2016 as Training and Advice Coordinator. She coordinates the advice and capacity-building support services we provide to our members. As well as driving and supporting the overall training programme delivered by The Wheel, Mairead facilitates groups in various programmes and can deliver a variety of Wheel training for members. 
Mairead comes to us after spending the past 5 years in a training and development role in Grey Heron Media, working closely with Craol - The Community Radio Forum of Ireland coordinating a nationwide QQI certified Training initiative. She is also an award winning radio documentary producer. Email Mairead

Lauren Carroll, Office Administrator

Lauren joined The Wheel in August 2016. She works within the Programmes team as an Office Administrator. Lauren is involved in planning training events, meetings and conferences. She also offers administrative support throughout the organisation. 
Having returned to full time study as a mature student, Lauren recently graduated with a degree in Social and Community Development from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. Her previous work experience in the CV sector includes voluntary positions with Sankalpa Addition Service, The Aisling Project and Suas Educational Development. Email Lauren.

Emma Murtagh, European Programmes Officer

Emma joined The Wheel in February 2017 as European Programmes Officer and works with the European Programmes Coordinator to deliver advice and training to members about acquiring and managing EU funded projects.
Emma is an experienced EU project manager who is currently managing three international projects for the organisation ProActivate Ireland on a part-time basis in addition to her role at The Wheel. Prior to this, she managed two EU funded projects and assisted on three others for the language services company, Translex. Along with project management, Emma has a background in training and facilitation, editing, and communications and has worked on a voluntary basis with Samaritans and Fighting Words.
Emma has a BA in English and psychological studies and an MA in Literature and Publishing, both from NUI Galway, and is a certified trainer. Email Emma.

Carol Conway 

Elected April 2005, in May 2008 and in May 2011 
Carol is a Freelance Catalyst – working to help individuals and organisations achieve more of their potential. Current contracts include: Co-ordinator of Young Community Leaders – in initiative of the Northside Partnership to engage young people in leadership training and community leadership roles; Associate Programme Director for Common Purpose Ireland – a non-profit leadership development organisation; Associate for the Pacific Institute in Ireland – delivering courses in personal and professional effectiveness (including Investment in Excellence and STEPS); Programme Director for the Tangible Ireland Leadership series. Formerly she was CEO, Common Purpose Ireland (2000 – 2005), Project Co-ordinator, Doras Bui and Project Worker, Merchants Quay Ireland. Current board memberships include AIESEC in Ireland (2005 – present)

Mary Cunningham (CHAIR) 

Co-opted in 2007, elected in May 2008 & May 2011
Mary is Director and Company Secretary of the National Youth Council of Ireland, the representative body for voluntary youth organisations in Ireland.  She is a member of the Steering Group on Active Citizenship, the National Youth Work Advisory Committee, the National Assessment Committee for the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund and on the board of Pobal.  Previously the Director of Children in Northern Ireland and Regional Manager with Oxfam Ireland.  Also former Chairperson of the Northern Ireland NGO Forum, Joint Chairperson of the All Party Group on Children and Young People in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Company Secretary of Children in Northern Ireland. 

John Evoy 

Elected May 2014
John is the Project Director with International Men's Shed. He is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA). Prior to setting up the IMSA in 2011, John served as the manager of the Gorey Adult Learning Centre and a Project Co-ordinator for several adult and community education initiatives. He has also served on a number of interagency steering groups and sub-committees throughout his career, most of which pertained to adult and community education and Community development projects. Recognition of John’s leadership and achievements include: receiving a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Award in 2013; becoming an AONTAS Star Awards winner in both 2009 and 2011, and; becoming an Arthur Guinness Fund Awardee in 2011.

Sheena Horgan 

Co-opted in July 2013 
Sheena is a media & PR consultant specialising in youth/family & social marketing issues.  As an established and experienced marketer, she has advised many global and local organisations - RTE,  Failte Ireland, Aldi, Bord Bia, Coke, O2, Ulster Bank – regarding their marketing and CSR strategies and implementation.  Sheena is also widely published in UK & Irish trade magazines and newspapers, as well as speaking at various conferences on related topics.  In addition to co-producing two child-related documentaries, Sheena is the author of the e-book “Candy Coated Marketing”.  She writes a monthly ethical and social marketing column in Irish Marketing Journal, and is a regular broadcast contributor on programmes such as – Ireland AM, Newstalk Lunchtime, Global Village, The Right Hook and Tubridy - on ethical and youth/family issues.  

Vincent Keenan 

Elected May 2014
Vincent is Chief Executive of North and East Housing Association which is a well established social enterprise with a proven track record in the delivery of high quality homes and comprehensive housing management services in Ireland’s north-east. Previously he was Director of Housing and Community Services with NABCO (The National Association of Building Cooperatives) - Ireland’s national representative body for the co-operative housing movement. Throughout his career he has worked extensively with local voluntary organisations across Ireland, supporting them to develop best practice in the areas of management and governance. Vincent is currently a board member of HAIL (Housing Association for Integrated Living) and he is also a member of the National Homeless Consultative Committee. Previously, he was a board members with Macro Youth Service, Vincent also serves as the NABCO representative for the Community & Voluntary Pillar, involving him in policy campaigns and requiring him to liaise with elected representatives and civil service officials. 

Maura McMahon

Elected in May 2015
Maura is the Chief Executive Officer of An Cosán, an organisation which offers support through educational programmes and training to the community for all ages. She is the chair of the Board of Management for St. Joseph’s National School; a member of the Teaching Advisory Panel of the International Reading Association; the Community representative of St. Brigid’s Board of Management; an MD for SHaRE Reading; and a literary reviewer for Professionally Speaking Magazine. Previously, Maura was Project Manager with Barnardos Dublin and worked in the education field (2nd and 3rd levels) in Canada for several years, including periods as teacher and assistant principal. She holds an MBA and M.Ed, as well as completing coursework for her PhD. in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. 

Brendan O’Brien 

Coopted December 2016
Brendan is CEO with ThinkSmarter Analytics. With over 20 years’ experience in international sales and marketing, he has previously been EMEA MD with US digital marketing company Search Optics, Global Software Sales Director with Cisco based in California, CEO of ThinkSmart (acquired by Cisco) and held senior roles in Accenture and IBM. He has been a guest lecturer in UCD and International Universities and hold a BSc, an MSc, a PhD in Business and Adv Dip in International sales. Brendan is also a very active participant in outdoor sports and has served on various boards, both commercial and voluntary, including Chairperson of a National Sporting Governing body and founding board member of a US-based Alzheimer’s charity.

Austin O’Sullivan 

Elected in July 2012 
Austin is Director of Resources with Walk – an organisation which supports people who have intellectual disabilities to live self-determined lives within socially inclusive communities. Previously he was Delivery Manager with EDS Technologies. He is Treasurer of Kingswood Football Club. Previously he was Treasurer of the Irish Charities Tax Reform Group and a Board member with the Irish National Intellectual Database Committee. 

Paul O’Sullivan 

Co-opted in June 09, May 10, May 11 & elected in July 12 & May 15.  
Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of Clann Credo, the social investment fund. He is also Chair of the Irish Charities Tax Research Group (ICTR).  He previously worked as a public relations and industrial relations consultant with Gallagher & Kelly PR, heading up their Employee Relations Division. Before that he was an industrial relations negotiator and union organiser with SIPTU where he represented workers in all sectors of the economy, health services, local government, marine transport and civil aviation. He was the Chief Negotiator in the Civil Aviation sector from 1993 to 1998. He managed two EU trade union initiatives on training and financial participation. Paul has lectured regularly on employee relations at Trinity College.

Feedback to Our Board

The Wheel is eager to strengthen and develop channels of accountability between our members and the Board. To that end we are pleased to introduce our new Board Member Accountability Policy, which includes the following new provisions:

  1. The Board will report to members twice a year about progress being made in implementing The Wheel's 'Being the Change' strategy.
  2. Members will be invited to provide their feedback directly to the Board (via a dedicated email address: and at our member forums across the country).
  3. Feedback and comments received by the board will be recorded and reviewed annually by the board.

Download the full policy document here (PDF).

The Wheel's membership comprises 1333 community, voluntary and charitable organisations, as well a number of academic bodies and for-profit organisations that are associated with the sector.

Click here to view the full list of The Wheel's members (PDF, 755kb).

Visit the membership section for more information on our membership options. Or get in touch with our Membership Coordinator, Johnny Sheehan with any questions you may have: (01) 454 8727 /