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 Chief Executive Officer of The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of charities, community and voluntary organisation. 
Deirdre has represented the charity, community and voluntary sectors’ shared interests on many fora over the years including: the Charity Regulator’s consultative panel on the ‘Regulation of Fundraising (2016); the Working Group on ‘Citizen Engagement in Local Government’ (2013/2014); the Steering Groups for the European Years of, the Citizen (2013), and of Volunteering (2011) respectively.
Previously, Deirdre was a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) the Steering Group of National Social Partnership framework. She was also selected to represent the sector on the Implementation and Advisory Group of the Government's White Paper on Supporting Voluntary Activity (2000 – 2008).
Deirdre was the inaugural Chairperson for the Working Group which developed, and published the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations (2009 – 2012). She is a regular public speaker on the topics of corporate governance in nonprofits, charities regulation and best practice in charities, active-citizenship matters and all issues affecting charities and the non-profit sector.

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 in 1995, 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 Ackermann is The Wheel's Communications Coordinator. He studied Political Science and Journalism before cutting his teeth in journalism, book publishing, publicity and digital marketing.

Gert is responsible for developing and implementing The Wheel's communications strategy, media relations and brand positioning. As a member of The Wheel's Public Policy Team, he is involved in designing communications and advocacy campaigns aimed a variety of stakeholders. 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.


Dee FinlayDeirdre 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.


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, who joined The Wheel in June 2016, is responsible for all finance and associated administration and compliance at The Wheel. Tony is a graduate of UCD (B. Comm.) and a qualified chartered 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.

Jon McBrideJon McBride, Membership Administrator

Jon joined The Wheel in September 2017. With over 15 years' global experience in administration management and HR support, he spent the most recent five years spent working in the community and voluntary sector as part of two large fundraising service providers to the industry, collaborating with many different charitable organisations.
Jon joins us as Membership Administrator where he coordinates the renewal of our supporter base and welcomes new members to the organisation.  Jon is passionate about providing a reliable, friendly, hassle-free experience for our membership, offering our partners the best possible standard of service. Email Jon.

VincentVincent Carragher, Research Fellow

Vincent recently won EPA funding to investigate the Sustainable Development Goals at the community scale. This see’s the TCD Sustainable Communities Research Group partner with The Wheel in an identification of SDG action in communities across Ireland. The primary output for this body of research will be through the Spark Change initiative. Another useful website developed by the team, to foster sustainable change in communities, is the Sustainable Communities Toolkit.
Vincent’s previous research has been funded by a number of organisations including the Irish Research Council, Interreg, Intelligent Energy Europe, the EPA and SEAI. The IRC funded the development of a novel Ecological Footprint for Irish communities and currently 95 Ecological Footprints (EF) have been carried out. Vincent’s research has also critically reviewed community interventions which foster sustainable-behaviour change identifying 109 drivers enhanced by those interventions.  Email Vincent.


Last updated in June 2018 


Inez Bailey – Elected in June 2017 

Inez has been the Chief Executive Officer of NALA, the National Adult Literacy Agency, for the past 20 years. She is also Chair of the Southside Partnership, Chair of the Mounttown Neighbourhood Youth and Family Project, Chair of the Rockford Manor Secondary School and Member of the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Community Development Committee. Previous board memberships include: CORU, the Health and Social Care Professionals Regulator; the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs; Dublin & Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board; the Education Finance Board; the National Consumer Agency; the Citizens Information Board; the Information Society Commission; and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland.

Áine Brady – Elected May 2018

Áine currently serves as CEO of Third Age, having previously served as a Government TD, and Minister of State for Health Promotion and Older People, as well as an assistant primary school principal. Consistently active in the community and with a particular interest in promoting the interests of vulnerable older people, Áine’s current memberships of boards/committees include: Council of Patrons; Special Olympics Ireland; Meals On Wheels Clane CLG; Soroptimists International North Kildare Branch. 

John Buttner – Appointed in November 2017

Jonathan is a senior business executive with extensive commercial knowledge and experience gained over 25 years in Ireland and the UK.  As a former member of the leadership team in Ulster Bank (part of the global UK bank RBS), he led specialist Corporate, SME and Commercial Real Estate business divisions with responsibility for both ROI and NI markets.   Senior member of Ulster Bank governance committees including Risk Appetite, Credit Risk Policy, Assets & Liabilities and Corporate Banking Division Management committee.   Jonathan provides strategic business advice to companies in Ireland and the UK helping with commercial growth strategies, organisational change, finance, risk management and governance.  Jonathan also co-founded a start-up venture in the alternative lending space seeking to address the SME funding gap in Ireland by providing affordable flexible funding solutions.    

Pat Carey – appointed in May 2017 

Pat is Chair of the Red Cross and a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician in the Dublin North-West constituency from 1997 to 2011. In 2007 he was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Community Affairs & for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. serving as the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2010 to 2011. He is Cathaoirleach of Coiste Stiurtha Glor na nGael the all island Irish Language organisation. He is a Board Member of Quality Matters; independent chair of the Dublin North East Local Drugs & Alcohol Task Force & Chair of the Finance and Governance sub-committee of the North East Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force. He is a Board Member of the Ballymun Youth Action Project; chair of the Finglas Centre & a Board member of the Tolka Valley Training Centre.

John Evoy – Elected May 2014 and again in June 2017

John is founder and Chief Executive Officer with 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.

Maria Heneghan – Elected May 2018

Maria is a retired public servant who previously served with Teagasc as Rural Development Specialist (1989 – 2012) and Agriculture Development Officer (1973-1989). Highly active in local issues, Maria currently serves as Voluntary Secretary to Green Sod Ireland Board as well as Voluntary Secretary & Director to Ballyglunin Station Restoration Company, both of which are local environmental / community development initiatives. Additionally, Maria was previously a board member of GMIT (representing Teagasc) from 2005 – 2012 and Chairperson of the Project Evaluation Committee - LEADER Clare (2005 – 2012). She also served on the Member Advisory Committee on Rural Development for five years and spent three years as a sub-committee member of Western Development Commission.

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 since 2014. North & East was incorporated in 1993 having been established by a small number of volunteers. Having been run as a small-scale, mainly voluntary organisation it is now a well-established housing provider with a proven track record in the delivery of high-quality homes, comprehensive housing management services and tenant supports. Vincent worked previously for Co-operative Housing Ireland (formally NABCO) for 12 years as Executive Director with responsibility for housing and community services. Vincent has 25 years’ experience in housing, homelessness, housing development, management and social and community service development. He has participated in negotiation of social partnership agreements and was appointed by the Minister of Housing to the National Homeless Consultative Committee on which he served 7 years. Vincent has also served as non-executive director on a number of not for profit organisations.

Peter McBride – elected in June 2017 

Peter is the Chief Executive of Inspire which is one of the largest social enterprises on the island of Ireland, providing a range of community-based and workplace-based mental health, intellectual/learning disability services and addiction services North and South, as well as in Great Britain. He is a Trustee of the National Charity, BBC Children in Need, in which he chairs the Nomination Committee and the Grants Committee; and a Trustee of NICVA where he serves as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Resources and Audit Committee. Peter has also been involved for over 20 years in the Victims and Survivors Sector in Northern Ireland and has played a leading role in the development of leadership within civil society and its response to political and social progress in Northern Ireland. Peter is Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster Bamford Centre for Mental Health and wellbeing.

Brendan O’Brien – Co-opted 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.

Paul O’Sullivan (CHAIR) – Co-opted in June 09, 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.

Karen Smyth – Elected May 2018

Karen is the current CEO of Age & Opportunity, and also serves as a member of the Charity Appeals Tribunal. Previous positions include: Director of Drogheda Homeless Aid (2000-2014); Course Co-ordinator for MA in Criminal Justice at the Institute of Public Administration; and Lecturer for MA in Criminal Justice at the Institute of Public Administration. Past memberships of boards include: Don Bosco Services, 2013-2014; Tuath Housing Association 2012-2014; Irish Council for Social Housing, 2003-2014; Drogheda Rotary Club Council, 2002-2014; Drogheda Job Initiative Company, 2004-2013; Drogheda Community Training Centre, 2008-2010; Calipo Theatre and Multi-media Company, 1999-2000. Karen's experience of serving in committees include: the Irish Council for Social Housing Governance Working Group;  Special Needs Housing and Services Sub-committee & Administration Committee; North East Regional Consultative Homeless Forum; North East Youth Homeless Forum; Drogheda Rotary Meals on Wheels Committee; Memorial Tree Committee & Community and Vocational Committee (Chair); and, Don Bosco Services Fundraising Committee.

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, 892kb).

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 /

Directory of Members of The Wheel Members - June2018.pdf892.89 KB