Meet Our Board

Eileen O’Mahony, President

Eileen O’Mahony is the President of Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) a position she has held since 2004, and also sits on the Governance Committee. A lifelong disability activist, Eileen is proud of IWA’s history and strongly advocates for improvements in services and opportunities for people with disabilities. She is passionate about the valuable contributions of voluntary and community organisations and the vital work and efforts IWA undertakes to ensure people ...

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Martin Kelly, Chairperson

Martin was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2016. He was elected Treasurer in 2017 and also Chairs the Audit Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee.

He is currently the CFO for Airsynergy, an entrepreneurial renewable energy company. Prior to that Martin held various senior positions with Aryzta Plc, the international ...

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Breda Dwyer, Vice-Chairperson

Breda joined the Board of Directors in 2013 and currently holds the role of Vice- Chairperson.

Now retired, Breda worked in Cork County Council as a town clerk in Bantry, Wexford Corporation in the Planning and Housing Departments and Kerry County Council in the Finance Department.

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Donal Sands, Board Secretary

Donal joined the Board of Directors in 2016. He was elected Secretary in 2017 and also sits on the Audit Committee.

Prior to retirement, he was Assistant Director General of FAS for over 20 years. Initially in charge of Finance, IT and other administrative services, Donal then went on to head up all FAS services in the East of Ireland. Following a restructure he was in charge of the National Public Employment Service ...

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John Olden, Treasurer

John joined the Irish Wheelchair Association Board of Directors in December 2017.

John is a Partner in Eugen F. Collins Corporate Law Department. His practice areas are mergers and acquisitions law, venture capital, capital markets, company and Partnership law. His mergers and acquisitions experience covers both public and private companies ...

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Michael Hickey

Michael joined the IWA Board of Directors in 2009 and was elected Chairman in 2015. He is also a member of the Audit, Remuneration and Governance Committees.

Michael retired from An Garda Siochana in 1997 following a spinal injury while stationed in Clonakilty Co. Cork and has been a wheelchair user since. He went back to college in 1998 and completed an Honours Degree in Law ...

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Olan McGowan

Olan has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2005.

Olan first joined Irish Wheelchair Association as a member of staff, looking after Media Relations and Advocacy, in 2002. In 2005 Olan departed IWA to work in RTE. He began his radio career as presenter of a weekly, 30-minute show called Outside the Box on RTÉ Radio1, which focused on disability issues. He subsequently became a radio producer, and has worked on ...

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Kathleen Brady

Kathleen joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and is a full time carer for her two children with special needs and also works part-time as a carer for an elderly gentleman. She is a parent of 3 children.

She qualified as a general nurse in Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin in 1987. She nursed in London, St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin ...

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Katherine Deas

Katharine joined the Board of Directors in 2017. She brings extensive senior commercial development and marketing experience, gained across a number of sectors including telecoms, FMCG, technology and local government. Katharine was Director of Commercial Development at Newham London where she was tasked with spearheading a commercial and investment strategy to create income streams independent of central government funding ...

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Tom Doherty

Tom was appointed to the Board in April 2018. He has an incomplete spinal injury. Tom has over 20 years experience with mental health services working as a life skills instructor in a rehabilitative training centre (HSE). Previously, he was a member of Killarney Town Council and had the honour to serve as Mayor. He has also served on the Board of Comhairle – Citizens information and held the office of Treasurer with the IWA-Sport executive ...

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Declan Hamilton

Declan was appointed to the Board as a staff representative in May 2018. Declan began working with Irish Wheelchair Association over 12 years ago after initially volunteering. Since that time he has worked in a variety of roles with plenty of lessons and learning along the way. His roles from 2004 to date have included programme assistant, programme assistant supervisor and service co-ordinator ...

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Padraic Hayes

Padraic was elected to the Board in May 2018. Padraic graduated with a Masters in Marketing from Limerick Institute of Technology and has worked since then in the area of administration and finance. His real passion however lies in advocacy and he is the current Chairperson of the Clare Leader Forum, which is an independent group of people with disabilities who work to create a voice on disability issues in Clare ...

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Linda Ahern

Linda was elected to the Board in May 2019.

Linda is a wheelchair user following her diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis in 2011. Over the years she has been involved in several committees advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

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Laura MacDermott

Laura was elected to the Board in May 2019.

Laura is a solicitor with over 37 years’ experience in practice in corporate/financial law and 30 years as a partner successively in two leading Dublin firms. She has excellent management skills coupled with a strategic outlook and proven leadership ability.

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Michelle Byrne

Michelle was elected as the staff representative to the IWA Board in May 2019.

Michelle started her career with IWA in January 2004, working as a personal assistant in the Assisted Living Service. In late 2005, she moved into the Finance department and onto Payroll Manager in 2010.

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The Board of Directors of the Irish Wheelchair Association is elected by the general membership at the Annual General Meeting. The maximum number of Board members is 16, consisting of the President, two directors elected from IWA employees by employee ballot; one member of IWA-Sports section elected by sports section ballot. Nine are elected at the AGM and the Board may co-opt three additional members. A Rotation of Director policy exists that deems that each year one third of the members must retire from office (while remaining eligible for re-election). At least one third of the Board members must be persons with reduced mobility.

Group image showing the IWA board of directors as of 2019

The Board selects the officers for the Board, the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, Treasurer and the Honorary Secretary.

Irish Wheelchair Association is governed and regulated by a national Board. The Board is accountable to the members and the stakeholders at large.

The Board remains accountable to the members of IWA. The primary duties, responsibilities and authority of the Board are conferred on it by the Constitution of I.W.A. Company Limited by Guarantee , some of these include:

  • Governing the Association
  • Appointing and supporting Chief Executive Officer
  • Approval of annual budgets


Notice to IWA Staff members

In conjunction with a major update to the IWA public website, we will soon be changing the way you log into the Staff Intranet, email and People Planner.

Shortly, you will no longer be able to access these facilities using the IWA website, instead you must use

As always you can contact IT through email,, if you have any queries.