Speakers - Building a Better Ireland

Gert Ackermann is a free-lance communications contractor and has acted as the Communications Officer with The Wheel since May 2008. Originally from Mpumalanga in South Africa, he was formerly a publicist with Maverick House Publishers and is a journalist by training. Gert is editor of the sector magazine, Le Chéile.

Kingsley Aikins is Managing Director of Kingsley Aikins and Associates and is also Senior Advisor to The Ireland Funds having served previously as CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds. Previously he was Executive Director of the American Ireland Fund and founding Director of both The Australian Ireland Fund and The Ireland Fund of New Zealand. He formerly worked for CTT and the IDA. Kingsley is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin.

Seamus Boland is Chief Executive of Irish Rural Link and is Chairperson of The Wheel. He is a member of the NESC (National Economic Social Council); Comhar, the National Sustainable Development Partnership, the National Development Plan monitoring committee and the Press Council. Seamus was appointed a member of the Carnegie Rural Commission in 2004.

Pat Carey TD was appointed Minister of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in March 2010. Prior to his appointment he was Government Chief Whip and previously served as Minister of State (in the then Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs) with special responsibility for the community and voluntary sector and the national drugs strategy. He first entered local politics in 1985 when he was elected to Dublin City Council for the Finglas area. He has been a TD since the 1997 General Election.

Ivan Cooper is Director of Advocacy with The Wheel. He has worked in a range of positions in Ireland and Scotland including Administration Manager with the Crisis Pregnancy Agency, Chief Executive Offi cer with Wicklow Chamber of Commerce, and European Funding Offi cer in Dundee College of Further Education. Ivan was a member of the National Economic and Social Forum and served on its management committee.

Mary Doyle has worked in the Department of The Taoiseach since 1980 and has had a varied career including periods in the Economic and Social Policy Division and as Private Secretary to the First Minister of State for Women’s Affairs. In her present post, she is Secretary to the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure and Public Private Partnerships and the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion and she heads the Cross-Departmental Teams which support these Committees. She is Deputy Chairperson for the National Economic and Social Council and the National and Social Forum and an observer at the National Competitiveness Council. She is also a member of the National Statistics Board.

Deirdre Garvey is Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel. She is a member of the Steering Group of Social Partnership and the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). She is a former member of the Implementation and Advisory Group (IAG) of the White Paper on Supporting Voluntary Activity. Prior to joining The Wheel Deirdre was Director of Development (Fundraising) at The Barretstown Gang Camp in Kildare.

Edmond Grace, S.J is the Co-ordinator of the Conversation on Democracy project; his book Democracy and Public Happiness was published by the Institute of Public Administration in June 2007.

Seamus McAleavey is Chief Executive of the Northern Irish Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA). Seamus is a commissioner on the Carnegie UK Trusts Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in the UK and Ireland and has served as a Board member of the Combat Poverty Agency and was a member of the Task Force on Active Citizenship.

Turlough Mullen is a partner at Grant Thornton.  Following qualification he joined in 1982 and was appointed partner in 1985.  Turlough has extensive experience in assurance services and business advice generally to privately held businesses and is the partner responsible for delivering outsourcing services to Grant Thornton's client base.

His client portfolio is diverse and comprises privately held businesses in many sectors particularly in the charity and not for profit sector, IT, distribution, and manufacturing.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and is a member of Cutting Edge Group in the UK which is a group interested in Practice Development and identifying Practice Strategies. He is a member of our internal IT committee and Risk Management committee.

He does pro bono work for the charity sector through board membership and is active with Boardmatch Ireland partaking in their workshops on Corporate Governance for non executive Chairs of Charities and Not for Profits.  He is a volunteer member of the National Advancement Council for The Carers’ Association.

Helen Newman is the Director of Newman and Associates which provides organisational development and training services with a particular focus on governance, strategic planning and management support. Most of her current work involves addressing and facilitating change, innovation and building agreement within and/or between organisations. Facilitating consultations and research with the community, statutory and private sectors has featured in Helen’s work since 1987.

Fintan O’Toole is a writer and columnist with the Irish Times. His work has appeared in many national and international newspapers and magazines. He has also broadcast extensively in Ireland and the UK. His books include Ship of Fools (2009) After the Ball (2003); Shakespeare is Hard, But So Is Life (2002) and The Irish Times Book of The 1916 Rising (2005).

Ingrid Srinath is the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Civicus has members and partners that make up an infl uential global network of organisations at local, national, regional and international levels, dedicated to strengthening civil society throughout the world. She also serves on the board of the IANGO Accountability Charter and on the World Economic Forum NGO Advisory Group. Prior to joining CIVICUS she served as Chief Executive of India’s leading child rights advocacy organisation - Child Rights and You.

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