John is a professionally qualified social worker who moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland in 2013. After graduating from the University of Glasgow with the degree of Master of Arts with Honours in 1977, John started a 36 year professional career in social work practice and management in Scotland. He completed his professional training in social work at the University of Oxford, graduating with the degree of Master of Science in Applied Social Studies in 1981. In addition to his professional qualification in social work, John completed executive management training at the University of Strathclyde, graduating with the degree of Master of Business Administration in 1993. During the course of his professional career in social work, John worked for a number of local authorities in Scotland, culminating with the post of Director of Social Work and statutory Chief Social Work Officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council from 2007 until his retirement from public service in 2013. After moving to Northern Ireland, John worked as an independent social worker and adviser to public bodies and not for profit organisations. He also served on the committee of the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers from 2015 until 2017, when he retired from social work practice. His professional interests and expertise relate to supports and services for disabled adults, accounting for more than half of his social work career. Between 1997 and 2016, John served as a trustee of a Scottish voluntary organisation which supports men and women with a learning disability to live independently with support in the community.
Fergal Rooney is a practicing Counselling Psychologist. He is currently lead clinician with Psychological Services for Healthy Relationships and Sexuality at St. John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. He has a particular interest in lifespan development, intellectual disability and sexuality, and the role of the internet in sexual difficulties. Fergal has maintained his interest in working with people with intellectual disability throughout his career, and has engaged with and supported people with intellectual disability who have presented with psychosexual and/or forensic related needs. He has also worked with community and prison based forensic services, with particular focus on working with people who have carried out sexual offences. He has been instrumental in devising and delivering a range of assessment and therapeutic programmes for the Irish Prison Service, The Probation Service of Ireland and community therapeutic services. He has conducted prize-winning research in this area, and he has presented his work at national and international conferences. Fergal values opportunities to promote good clinical practice in responding to psychosexual needs. He lectures on the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology programme at Trinity College Dublin, he provides frequent workshops and seminars for healthcare professionals, and he provides clinical supervision to a range of professionals who work with forensic therapeutic services.
Fiona Keogh, PhD is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic and Social Research in Dementia in the National University of Ireland, Galway where she is conducting research into decision making on resource allocation and evaluating intensive home care packages for people with dementia. She is also developing a Dementia Advisory Forum for people with dementia and carers. Prior to this Fiona was Director of Research and Evidence with Genio. In this role she managed a large portfolio of research focused on the evaluation of personalised services and co-developed the HSE & Genio Dementia Programme which had 12 sites delivering personalised supports for people with dementia. She has over 25 years’ experience conducting health services research and policy analysis in the areas of dementia, mental health and disability. Her special interest is the implementation of policy in complex systems with a focus on personalising health and social care services. Fiona has written national policy in Ireland in mental health (Vision for Change) and disability (Disability Policy Review: Report of the Expert Reference Group) and is a member of the Monitoring Group for the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy.
Richard has a background in engineering and business, runs a specialist kitchens and interior design consultancy business delivering bespoke lifestyle solutions for residential clients.
In 2014, Richard established and co-chaired Caring for Caroline Medical Trust. The trust was set up to help fund access to new drug trials from around the world for his sister Caroline.
Richard chaired Union Cup Dublin, the largest LGBT+ Inclusive tournament in 2019, to make a real impact, to change perceptions and proudly champion diversity and inclusion in sport. Richard is the President of the Emerald Warriors, Ireland’s first LGBT+ Inclusive rugby club, proudly driving the diversity and inclusion message throughout organisations associated with rugby.
Matt Mohan takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development. He intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through his business and personal life, brings them together into a coherent focus. He is an inspirational leader who listens, plans and takes action.
Originating from Co Monaghan, Matt achieved an Engineering Honours Degree from Trinity College and started his career with Analog Devices BV in Limerick in 1987 – this is where he came across and joined FKM Engineering. After being appointed to the Board in 1989, he led a management buy-out of FKM Engineering in 1992. As CEO, Matt has been instrumental in the vision and development of The FKM Group (www.fkm.com) and has grown the Group from its origins as a building services contractor into a comprehensive facilities solutions company with a diverse service offering over the years to FDI companies.
He is co-founder of Ireland Gateway to Europe (IGTE) and a member of Temple Street Children’s Hospital Foundation. Married to Fiona, they have four teenage children, living in Meath they have a keen interest in GAA & all things Monaghan – The FKM Group has been the County Sponsor for all GAA sports for over 6 years.
Roy McConkey is Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disabilities at Ulster University, Northern Ireland, following on from his joint appointment with the Health and Social Care Board from 1997 to 2013. A psychologist by training and a native of Belfast, he has previously held posts in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. He has been visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and at Trinity College, Dublin.
He has previously served as a trustee for Positives Futures in Northern Ireland and been on the committees of other voluntary organisations including Mencap and BBC Children in Need. He has undertaken extensive research with the Health Research Board: Disability Databases Divisions and undertaken consultancies for the HSE, NRB and various voluntary organisations in the Republic of Ireland, including the Genio Trust.
He has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for nearly 50 years and has authored, co-authored and edited over 15 books, and published around 200 book chapters and research papers in learned journals. His latest book is: Disability and Human Rights: Global Perspectives, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan.
He has acted as a consultant to various United Nations agencies and International NGOs. This work has taken him to some 25 countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. Currently he is a consultant to Special Olympics International on health and social inclusion.
As Director, Karen provides strategic leadership for All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) including brokering relationships between the Institute’s 26 partner organisations (universities, hospices, health and social care organisations and charities), funders and key stakeholders. Karen leads the Institute Team and oversees the delivery of the Institute’s Business Plan across education, research, policy and practice, service user and carer engagement and raising awareness. Karen also represents the Institute on key regional and national fora and contributes to palliative care policy and strategic discussions.
Karen has worked both in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and has significant leadership and management experience in a range of sectors including housing and homelessness, economic development and offender management. She was previously a Programme Manager within the Institute where she led on the development of the Palliative Hub.
Deborah is a solicitor working in general practice in County Wicklow. She attended NUI Galway where she received her law degree and subsequently qualified as a solicitor in 2008. During her career Deborah has worked with various charities in an advisory capacity.
Deborah hails from County Kerry. She has always had a personal interest in supporting those in our community who have special needs and supporting them to live their lives in the way that they want.
Deborah strongly believes in volunteerism in the charity sector and the benefit this brings not only to the recipient but also to the volunteer and our society in general.