The composition of the Authority (i.e. the board) is guided by the requirements of the National Disability Authority Act 1999 , as amended by the Disability Act 2005. The Authority meets six times per year and is comprised of a chair and 12 ordinary members.
Current NDA Board
Ms. Kathryn O'Donoghue, has been appointed as the Chair of the NDA Authority from the end of September 2022.
Kathryn joined the board of the National Disability Authority in 2018 and was the Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Audit & Risk Committee until July 2022. She has recently been appointed as the Chair of the Authority for the term commencing October 2022, and brings her experience of being a family supporter of her late brother who had an intellectual disability. Kathryn also served as the Chair of the Science Gallery Dublin Board from 2019 until 2022 having previously held roles as the Interim Director of Science Gallery Dublin during 2018 and as a Science Gallery Board member for 3 years until 2017.
Kathryn graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1987 and completed a post-graduate course in information systems. Kathryn’s extensive professional experience includes senior roles at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, General Electric (including becoming the first female CIO for GE in Europe and the first female CIO of a bank in Switzerland) and Google.
Adrian Carroll is an autistic person who works as Policy Officer with AsIAm, Ireland's National Autism Charity. Adrian’s main background is in law and policy, with both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Law from University of Limerick, as well as a Masters in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the University of Galway (formerly NUI Galway).
As part of his role within AsIAm, Adrian works closely within AsIAm’s Community Support team and across Ireland’s disability movement and wider sector to research into issues experienced by autistic people and the wider disability community, whilst promoting and advocating for our rights across all strands of Irish society.
Jane Ann Duffy is Head of the Equality and Gender Equality Unit in the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and is the Minister’s appointee from this Department. She previously served in the Department of Justice and Equality and in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Bernadette Egan is a registered architect, a member of the Universal Design Task Force and an elected Council member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland. She holds a Masters of Law degree in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. She is a disabled person with extensive lived experience of the accessibility of the built environment.
Niamh Fawl is the Senior Standards and Monitoring Officer with the National Disability Authority (NDA). She manages the NDA’s statutory role in monitoring the employment of persons with disabilities in the public sector, as detailed under Part 5 of the Disability Act (2005). Niamh is responsible for supervising and reporting on public bodies’ compliance with Part 5. In this capacity, she provides the public and private sectors with guidance on creating Equitable Diverse and Inclusive (EDI) work environments that have a clear focus on increasing the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities and supporting employees to feel comfortable sharing their disability status. This is Niamh’s second term as the staff nominee on the Authority.
Rebecca Gageby is a Chartered Director with a range of experience in corporate governance, project management, public relations and in working strategically with multiple stakeholders in the public and private sector. She previously worked in the Royal Irish Academy and has a particular interest in equality, diversity and inclusion as drivers of innovation.
Jack Kavanagh is a highly sought after Speaker, passionate about the value of health & wellbeing as drivers for performance coupled with cultivating empowering environments where people belong and are valued. A qualified Pharmacist with a BSc in Pharmacy, MSc in Pharmacy, Health & Wellness, a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology and Health and a Diploma in Coaching. Host of the Only Human Podcast and sits on the board of directors of leadership development organisation Common Purpose Ireland.
In 2012 Jack suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury leaving him with just 15% muscle function. In the years since, Jack has continuously challenged the perceived limitations of his situation. In 2014 Jack gave the acclaimed TEDx Talk “Fearless Like A Child, Overcoming Adversity” and has also received several international awards for his documentary “Breaking Boundaries”.
Lorraine Lally is a practising barrister and a practising mediator. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and an LLM in International Financial Services Law from University College Dublin. She brings her lived experience of disability to the Board. She has contributed to, and run, advocacy and awareness raising campaigns nationally and internationally with more than 20 years' experience in the community and voluntary sector.
Tom Maguire is a former civil servant. A graduate of the Institute of Public Administration and the Open University, he holds a Certificate in Disability Studies from Maynooth University. He has lived with hearing loss all of his adult life and benefits from a cochlear implant. He is a member of the Board of Chime, the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss and is also a member of the Complaints Committee of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority.
Dr Cathal Morgan is a Policy Advisor/Technical Officer working in the Division of Country Health Policy and Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe. In this role, Cathal provides technical advisory support to WHO member states in scaling access to rehabilitation and assistive technology and in developing disability inclusion policy solutions in health and social care services. Cathal has worked with International organizations such as the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) and EU development programmes such as the EQUAL Initiative. He has held several senior leadership positions within Irelands Public Service, including as Head of Operations in the Irish health service, Director of the Homeless Agency, and as Ireland’s National Drug Strategy Manager.
Dr Vivian Rath is an academic and human and disability rights advocate. He is an Adjunct Teaching Fellow in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and a Research Officer on the Reasonable Accommodations and Professional Placement project with AHEAD. His Ph.D, titled the “social engagement experiences of disabled students in higher education in Ireland”, focused on the areas of disabled student social engagement, transitions, voice and belonging. He obtained a Master's in Management from Smurfit Business School where he focused on the employment of graduates with disabilities. A TCD Equality Champion and a Disabled Leader awardee he has focused on ensuring the voice of disabled people is represented at the decision-making table.
Eltin Ryle is a practising solicitor at Matheson and advises on matters of public administration, regulation and governance, with a particular interest in environmental law and child protection matters. Eltin is an experienced litigator and has represented clients in significant litigation before the Irish Courts, including novel matters before the Supreme Court of Ireland. Eltin teaches at the Law Society of Ireland, is a published academic author, and is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Hibernian Law Journal.
Deirdre Sheehan is a registered nurse and physiotherapist who retired from a role as a senior manager in an acute hospital setting in 2020, following a career that spanned forty years in a variety of settings within the Irish Health Service. Since retiring, she has experienced life as a carer, graduating more recently to the role of personal assistant.
Membership of the board for the term August 2018 to August 2022 was as follows:
• Ms Helen Guinan (Chairperson)
• Mr Brian Callanan
• Ms Niamh Fawl
• Ms Aisling Glynn
• Mr Damian Gordon
• Ms Martha Griffin
• Mr Jack Kavanagh
• Ms Teresa McDonnell
• Dr Cathal Morgan
• Ms Deirdre O'Connor
• Ms Kathryn O’Donoghue
• Mr Deaglán Ó Briain
• Ms Ruth-Anne Malfa (resigned July 2021)