Board Members


The Children’s Rights Alliance is governed by a voluntary board of directors mostly elected from the membership. Our current Board members are:


Tom Maher (Nominating Organisation: (St. Patrick's Mental Health Services) - Chair

Tom Maher is currently employed as the Director of Services at St. Patrick's Mental Health Services. This service comprises a mental health service that includes 3 Approved Centres, a network of community mental health clinics and a Wellness and Recovery Centre that includes extensive day services. The role includes responsibility for the development of and efficient delivery of all clinical services, funding, clinical governance and quality. These services are delivered by approximately 360 clinicians including social work, nursing, medicine, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, psychotherapeutic staff and the associated administrative staff necessary for such delivery. The services in SPMHS are provided by multi-disciplinary teams and a range of care programmes (including Anxiety Programme, Eating Disorder Programme, Depression Recovery Programme, Bipolar Affective Disorder Programme, Young Adult Programme, Addictions Programme, Dual Diagnosis Programme, Mental Health Care of Later Life, Psychosis Recovery Programme, Living through Distress and Radical Openness Programmes, Wellness and Recovery Action Planning(WRAP) Programme). Prior to this post he worked for 24 years as a nurse in a variety of clinical, administrative and educative roles.

Colm Bryson (co-opted) 

Colm Bryson is Treasurer of the Children’s Rights Alliance. Colm joined the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of the Alliance as an independent committee member in November 2015 and was then co-opted on to the Board and to the position of Treasurer in February 2018. Colm is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and holds a Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies degree from UCD. He has been the Head of Finance at IPB Insurance since May 2012. He is involved with coaching of underage GAA and rugby teams and is also the Treasurer of the Belvedere College Past Pupils Union.

Moninne Griffith (Nominating Organisation: BeLonG To) - Company Secretary 

Moninne leads BeLonG To Youth Services, Ireland’s national organisation for LGBT+ young people. As CEO, she is dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTI+ young people. Moninne previously spent 8 years as Director of Marriage Equality, a single-issue organisation working for, and historically achieving, equality for same-sex couples in Ireland, and equality for many children in non-traditional families. Moninne was Chair of the Government’s Gender Recognition Act Review Group and a member of their LGBTI+ Youth Strategy oversight committee. Moninne was a member of the Government’s Taskforce on Youth Mental Health and is a former Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland. She is passionate about Youth Mental Health and is a member of the Government’s National Implementation Monitoring Committee for ‘Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone’, the DCEDIY’s BOBF Advisory Council. Moninne worked as a solicitor in general practice for a decade and holds a Bachelor of Civil Law and a MA in Women’s Studies from University College Dublin.


Orla Cunningham (Co-opted March 2020) - Treasurer

Orla is a member of the Group Risk executive team at Bank of Ireland and has held numerous positions and managed multiple projects during her career with the bank which include Outsourcing, IT change, Procurement, Facilities Management, Real Estate restructure and Chief Operations Officer Markets and Treasury. Orla holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Trinity College and a CIPD diploma in Human Resource Management from the National College of Ireland.

Francis Chance (Nominating Organisation - Prevention and Early Intervention Network)

Francis is the current Chairperson of the Prevention and Early Intervention Network. He has over 40 years’ experience of working with children and families in Ireland in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Currently Francis is working as a Consultant in Children and Family Services, having worked with the Katharine Howard Foundation as Programme Manager for the Nurture Programme: Infant Health and Wellbeing from 2015 to 2020. The Nurture Programme sought to strengthen the HSE’s universal supports to parents in pregnancy and early childhood. Previously Francis worked with Barnardos and with the Eastern Health Board / Northern Area Health Board. Francis is a Professional Social Worker, qualifying from the University of Liverpool.

Mary Henderson (Nominating Organisation - Immigrant Council of Ireland)

Mary is a qualified solicitor who holds an LLM from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. She specialises in immigration law and represents many children and young people in applications to the Department of Justice and has acted as solicitor in judicial review proceedings on behalf of children and young people of a migrant background. Mary has experience of working with teenagers and young people from voluntary work as a youth leader with Voluntary Services International. Mary teaches and examines on the Law Society of Ireland Certificate in immigration law and she also holds a Certificate in Public Legal Education.

Karen Hannify (Nominating Organisation - Foróige)

Karen is Director of Marketing, Communications and External Relations with Foróige. She joined the organisation in 2002, having previously worked in Public Relations Consultancy. As a member of Foróige’s Senior Management Team, Karen is responsible for Internal and External Communications; Public Affairs; Brand Development; Reputation Management; Digital Media Management; Corporate Engagement and Relationship Management. Karen has served a number of terms on the Boards of both Léargas and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), including a term as Vice-President of NYCI. She works closely with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, particularly the Youth Participation Unit, managing a number of their flagship events including Dáil na nÓg and the Comhairle na nÓg National Showcase. Karen holds a Masters Degree in Public Relations. 

Susanna Lyons

Susanna is the Chief Executive Officer of Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA). Susanna is responsible for the day-to-day management of the AHBRA, ensuring an effective organisational structure with capacity to deliver a regulatory framework including registration, standards for AHBs, monitoring and assessing of compliance, education and guidance, and the collection and publication of information. Susanna has over 30 years of experience in risk, financial management, strategy and governance. She spent five years with the Regulation Office in the Housing Agency, focusing on the provision of voluntary regulation. Prior to that Susanna spent 25 years working for a number of US multinationals with a focus on finance and risk.


Fergal Landy - (Nominating Organisation - Family Resource Centre National Forum)

Fergal Landy is CEO of the Family Resource Centre National Forum. He has worked in child, family, and community services for over 20 years. Initially he worked in frontline practice as a child protection social worker and community development worker. He then worked in academia as an applied researcher in service design, evaluation and policy development as well as teaching in social work, family support, and community development education. In this capacity he played a key role in the Mainstreaming Programme for Prevention Partnership and Family Support which introduced work streams into the newly formed Child and Family Agency in respect of child and youth participation; parenting support; the Meitheal model and Child and Family Support Networks; and Commissioning. He subsequently worked with Tusla to support the implementation of this programme practice with national lead role in respect of commissioning resources to achieve positive outcomes for children, families and communities in an evidence-informed and participatory manner. He has a degree in social work and a masters in international law and human rights for which his thesis focused on a children’s right to systematic access to legal advice and representation.


Staff members