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An tÚdarás Rialaithe

An tÚdarás Rialaithe (The Governing Authority) is appointed by the MIC Board of Trustees to govern and control all the affairs of Mary Immaculate College subject to the Scheme of Incorporation and in accordance with the Instrument of Government approved by the Trustees.

In performing its functions, An tÚdarás Rialaithe shall promote the objectives set out in the College Mission Statement and, in particular, it shall regulate its affairs to preserve, protect and support the Colleges denominational status and shall act in accordance with the ethos and traditions of Mary Immaculate College as a Catholic College. Furthermore, it shall have regard to:

  1. The promotion and preservation of equality of opportunity and access
  2. The effective and efficient use of resources
  3. Its obligations as to public accountability

See below for membership of An tÚdarás Rialaithe, 2018-2023. 

Bishop Brendan Leahy was born in Dublin in 1960 and ordained Bishop of Limerick in 2013. He studied law in UCD and became involved in Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC). He worked with UCD chaplaincy. In 1980, he entered Clonliffe College, Dublin and in first year studied theology, spirituality and psychology at the Mater Dei Institute of Education. At this time, he  also studied for the Bar in Kings Inns being called to the Bar in 1983. He became involved with the Focolare Movement.

On completion of philosophical and legal studies, he went to Rome to continue his study of theology (1983-1991). He attended the Jesuit-run Gregorian University, leading to a Doctoral award. During this time too, he spent a period at the Ecumenical Centre, Ottmaring, near Augsburg and continued his contact with the Focolare Community.

In 1991, Bishop Brendan was appointed to Clonskeagh Parish, Dublin and became chaplain to the German school there. He was appointed to the staff of Clonliffe College and of Mater Dei Institute of Education, becoming Registrar in Mater Dei in 2004 and a member of the Standing Committee of the Academic Council of DCU. He was appointed professor of Systematic Theology at St. Patricks College in 2006.

Since the mid 1990s, Bishop Brendan has been involved in ecumenism at both a diocesan and national level. In the 1990s, Bishop Brendan was Confessional Lecturer at the Irish School of Ecumenics. From 2007 to 2012, he was a member of a team from the Vaticans Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in conversation with the Salvation Army. In recent years, he has engaged in inter-religious dialogue, becoming a member of the Three Faiths Forum of Ireland and, more recently, working towards the establishment of an Inter-Religious Council in Dublin.

Bishop Brendan is a member of the Pontifical Theology Academy since 2004. He has written many articles and books on peace and forgiveness, faith questions, ecumenism, new movements and communities, Mary, Church, priesthood, historical treasures of Ireland and spirituality. He is a member of the Focolare Movements International Study Centre. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Sophia University Institute, Loppiano, Florence, since 2009.

Dr Áine Lawlor, a native of Tulla, Co. Clare, graduated from Mary Immaculate College in 1969. 

Áine taught in Ballyfermot and Leixlip before becoming Principal of Scoil Nano Nagle in Bawnogue, Clondalkin in 1975.  She subsequently served as Assistant National Co-ordinator for RSE (1996-1998), National Co-ordinator for the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (1998-2004) and CEO of the Teaching Council (2004-2011). 

Professor Eugene Wall graduated from UCD in 1975 with a degree in psychology. He was awarded a UCD postgraduate scholarship and undertook a research MA in the field of developmental psycholinguistics. He qualified as a primary teacher from Froebel College and taught part-time in several third-level institutions in Dublin prior to moving to Limerick in 1980. In 2001, he qualified from UCD with a PhD in Education.

Eugene taught developmental psychology and educational psychology in Mary Immaculate College from 1980 to 1998. For the latter part of that time, he was also Assistant Dean Academic Affairs in the College of Education of the University of Limerick. Following appointment to the role of Registrar/Vice-President Academic Affairs in 1998, he continued to lecture part-time on the B Ed programmes and the M Ed programme on educational psychology and on educational policy issues.

He served for 21 years on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and was a member of several of its sub-committees over that time, including the Co-ordinating Committee, which was responsible for overseeing the development of the 1999 primary school curriculum. He chaired the Councils Primary Assessment Advisory Group. Eugene is co-author of the MICRA-T and the SIGMA-T, the two most widely used standardised tests in Irish primary schools.

Eugene was the founding Chairperson of the Learning Hub, which works in partnership with local education providers, families and young people to develop and implement practical and solution focused responses to the high levels of educational disadvantage and early school leaving experienced by local communities on the north-side of Limerick City.

He was President of the Irish Federation of University Teachers from 1994-1997 during which time IFUT played a key role in shaping the 1997 Universities Act. Following this, he was appointed for a three-year term to the Higher Education Sectoral Committee of Education International.

Eugene was appointed to the post of President of MIC in May 2018.

Mr Michael J Keane was born in Limerick and educated at Clongowes Wood College. He graduated from UCD in 1989 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and then worked as an articled clerk with Coopers & Lybrand accountants (now PWC). He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1993 with the firm and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

From 1993 to 1995 he worked for the relief and development agency GOAL in Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. On returning to Ireland he joined Shannonside Oil Co Ltd. an oil distributor servicing the mid-west region as Financial Controller. In 2000, he became Managing Director of Shannonside Oil. 

Michael studied with the Trinity College / Irish Management Institute during 2009 and 2010 earning a Master's of Science (Management) degree. In 2013, he joined Mary Immaculate College as Director of Finance and served in this role for three years. He also completed the TMP programme with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education during this time.

In 2016, he was appointed Vice President Administration and Finance at the College. He is part of the College Executive Team, Audit and Risk Committee, Finance and Resource Committee and Equality Committee. He is also a Board member of the Lime Tree Theatre.

Outside of Mary Immaculate College, Michael also sits on the Board and Audit and Finance Committee of Adapt Services in Rosbrien, Limerick. He lives in Ardnacrusha, Co Clare with his family and maintains a strong interest in local sports in particular rugby, swimming and triathlon. 

Prof. Niamh Hourigan is a Sociologist and Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Mary Immaculate College. She has worked for four Irish universities and has published widely on a range of themes including values, social protest, corruption and community violence.

She has led research projects funded by the Irish Research Council, Universities Ireland and Irish Aid. Her monographs including Escaping the Global Village: Media, Language and Protest (Lexington Books, 2003, 2004) and Rule-breakers: Why ‘being there’ trumps ‘being fair’ in Ireland (Gill and Macmillan, 2015). She has also edited a number of collections: Understanding Limerick: Social Exclusion and Change (Cork University Press, 2011), Minority Language Media: Concepts, Critiques and Case Studies (with Mike Cormack, Multilingual Matters, 2007) and Social Movements and Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2006 with Linda Connolly).

Her PhD, which focused on minority language nationalisms in Europe was highly commended under the European Union Committee of the Region’s Doctoral Thesis Prize Competition. In 2010, she co-authored The TEACH Report (Traveller Education and Adults: Crisis, Challenge and Change) with Dr. Maria Campbell which mapped challenges faced by young Mincéirs (Irish Travellers) in dealing with adult transitions in the Irish education system. In 2011, she was awarded a CACSSS Special Research Commendation Award for her three year ethnographic study of social exclusion and community violence in Limerick city which was published as part of the Understanding Limerick collection.

She is a former editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology and former Chair of the Editorial Committee of Cork University Press. She served as Head of the Department of Sociology at University College Cork for three years and in 2018 was appointed Vice-President of Academic Affairs at MIC in her native Limerick. Having worked as a journalist and presenter while completing her PhD, she is a frequent contributor to the Irish media on themes of sociological interest.

As Vice-President of Academic Affairs, she is responsible for promoting academic standards and maintaining intellectual quality of teaching and research at MIC. She also oversees the operation of the Student Academic Administration Office which deals with student applications, admissions, registration and examinations.


Chaith Maedhbh Uí Chiagáin a saol oibre i gColáiste Íosagáin, Baile Átha Cliath, i dtosach mar mhúinteoir ceoil agus ansin mar phríomhoide. Ó d’éirigh sí as tá sí gníomhach ar dhá bhord bainistíochta  meánscoile, chomh maith le roinnt oibre a dhéanamh ó am go chéile don JMB. This includes, in 2012, the editing of Catholic Schools – Faith in our Future, a collection of essays to mark 25 years of the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools. 

As a parish volunteer, she prepares and accompanies a group of young singers for one of the weekend Masses.

Mary Considine is the CEO of Shannon Group, a commercial semi state Group comprising of Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties & Shannon Heritage.  Mary is the former Shannon Airport Director and during her time as Airport Director she led the successful setting up of Shannon Group plc and the transition of Shannon Airport, the property element of Shannon Development and Shannon Heritage into the Group prior to its incorporation in 2014. She also managed the successful separation of Shannon Airport Authority from the DAA in 2012 leading to Shannon Airport becoming independent on 31 December 2012. 

Mary was appointed President of Shannon Chamber in June 2018 and currently sits on the VHI Members Advisory Council. A qualified accountant by profession, she has extensive financial, commercial and governance services experience from a number of previous senior roles.

A well-known Limerick City businesswoman and voluntary community activist, Helen was Limerick Person of the Year 2012. She is the proprietor/manager of the Hunt Museum Café and bespoke event catering business, and also chairperson of the Board of Management Crescent College Comprehensive SJ.

Helen is Chairperson of Limerick City Tidy Towns committee; a member of the JP McManus Benevolent Fund committee; past Chairperson of Adapt woman's refuge; past President Limerick Federation of Women's Organisations and has served on the board and executive committee Limerick Chamber of Commerce. At national level served as a member of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and is presently Chairperson of the Safefood Advisory Board, a North South body established under the Good Friday Agreement. A native of Sligo, she was educated at Grange National School, Grange Vocational School, Convent of Mercy Claremorris, and College of Catering RTC Galway.

Married to Tom, a former Government Minister and MEP, they have one son—Thomas.

Fachtna O'Driscoll is a graduate of UCD B Agr Sc (Hons) 1970 and M Agr Sc (1973). During his professional career he worked as a Science Teacher (Dublin VEC); as an adviser and lecturer, and Assistant Principal at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

In 1985, he was appointed Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) for Co. Carlow and moved to Limerick as CAO in 1987 until retiring in 2009. He was a Governor of University of Limerick (UL) 1993-2012 and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) 2000-2005, chairing the Audit and Risk Management Committee (UL) 1997-2012.

A former President of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA), he now serves on the Limerick County Enterprise Board and Moyross Development Company. He is married to Attracta and they have three adult children.  

Gerry Reeves, a native of Limerick City, is a retired Bank of Ireland career banker with over 40 years experience in Retail & Corporate Banking. He held a number of senior management and executive positions across the country and was Regional Manager-West Munster from 2000-2012.

He is a business studies graduate of the University of Limerick and was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland in 2003. Gerry has a strong commitment of service to community. He is a past president and treasurer of The Rotary Club of Limerick Shannon. A keen golfer, he is a member of the Board of Management of Limerick Golf Club and is also its membership chairperson. He is a former board member of the University of Limerick’s Alumni Association.

Gerry is married to Lucy and they have two daughters and five grandchildren. 

Eamon Stack is now completing his second three-year term as Chairperson of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). 

Eamon’s formal educational qualifications includes a first-class honours B Comm, a Higher Diploma in Education (HDE) and an M Ed on school leadership. Between 1971 and 1978, he was a post-primary teacher of business studies subjects. He became the founding Principal of a large co-educational post-primary school in Limerick in 1978. Enrolment in the school increased from 90 students in its first year to over 1,000 students within 10 years.

Eamon was Chief Inspector in the Department of Education and Skills (DES) from 1997 to 2009. He was a member of the Management Board of that department and the main education advisor to the Minister of the day. He led and managed 150+ primary and post-primary inspectors located in various parts of the country. He was also a member of the Management Board of the European Schools.

As Chief Inspector, he played a significant role in developing and leading a major structural change and reform of the Inspectorate, the introduction of Whole School Evaluation (WSE), subject inspections and incidental inspections in all schools in Ireland and the publication of inspection reports. He also played a lead role in the establishment of the national Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in 1998, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and the State Examinations Commission (SEC) in 2003.

Eamon retired from the DES in November 2009. Since 2010, he has worked as independent facilitator, investigator, interviewer, mediator and adviser on many issues and he occasionally makes presentations at meetings and conferences on many issues relating to education.

Marie Griffin, PhD, is a former Guidance Counsellor and School Principal. After subsequently working for County Dublin VEC, she was CEO of CEIST (Catholic Education an Irish Schools’ Trust) 2014 - 2020. She is currently Chair of the Mary Immaculate College Research Ethics Committee (MIREC).

Catherine spent over 30 years working in the voluntary sector, primarily in youth work in Cork, Dublin and Limerick before moving to Limerick Diocese in 2016 as the first lay General Manager/Diocesan Secretary. 

She has been a Governor of an tÚdaras Rialaithe, Mary Immaculate College, since 2013, has chaired the Equality Committee and was a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. Catherine is honoured to have been nominated by the Sisters of Mercy to serve another term.

Catherine is a former Director of Youth Work Ireland, Southside Partnership, PAUL Partnership and is currently a Director of Limerick Social Service Council, Moyross Development Company, The Bonaventure Trust and a board member of the Ostia Community and the Institute for Pastoral Studies, MIC Thurles.

Catherine is a native of Cobh and was educated in Coláiste Muire and UCC.

Emma Barry worked in Quality Assurance roles in industry prior to joining Mary Immaculate College as Quality Officer in February 2007. Emma was appointed Quality Assurance Manager in May 2017 and was appointed to the role of Assistant Director of Quality (Acting) in July 2023.

Cillian Callaghan was elected as President of MISU for the academic year 2023/2024.  Cillian is from Offaly and is a graduate of the BA in Media & Communications and Politics. He recently graduated with an MA in Journalism from UL. As SU President, he is the chief spokesperson of the Student Union and the main representative for the students of MIC. Their role is to coordinate all aspects of the union and its dealings with students.

David Chisanga was elected as Vice President Academic of MISU for the academic year 2023/24. David was Post Graduate Officer of MISU for the academic year 2022/23. David is from Zambia and is a recent graduate of the MA in Media Studies from MIC. He is the academic officer of the student’s union. His role involves dealing with academic-related student issues daily and co-ordinating the class rep system at the College. 

Seán McMahon was born in Co. Clare in 1958. He received his primary education in Coore NS and attended CBS Ennistymon at second level. He graduated with a B Ed in MIC in 1979 and commenced his teaching career in an all boys school in Rathdowney, Co. Laois. 

While teaching full time, Seán continued his personal academic development securing a Diploma in Computer Studies from MIC in 1986, a Diploma in Parish Pastoral Ministry from St Patrick’s Pontifical College Maynooth in 1987, a Master of Rural Development (MRD) from NUIG in 1979 and a  H Dip in Professional Education Studies again from NUIG in 1984.

In the interim, he moved to his native Co. Clare and became principal of Mullagh NS in 1990. He has worked with the Dept. of Education and Skills as a part time School Development Planning Facilitator and has been involved in the provision of professional development for Boards of Management.

The INTO represents over 40,000 primary teachers across the island of Ireland and Seán has served on the Central Executive Committee and is a former INTO President. 

Seán served as Deputy Chair of the Teaching Council, the statutory professional standards body for the teaching profession, which promotes and regulates professional standards in teaching since 2016 and was elected Chairperson of the Teaching Council on 8 June 2020. 

Seán is married to Gerardine, who is also a primary teacher, and they have five children.  

Judge O’Donnell qualified as a solicitor in 1976 following which he joined a busy family practice in Limerick. From 1980 to 1991 he was a member of the Limerick Legal Aid Panel and developed an extensive criminal defence practice, operating in the District Court, the Circuit Criminal Court and the Central Criminal Court. In 1991, he joined the firm of Holmes O'Malley Sexton where he assumed responsibility for a substantial and wide-ranging civil law caseload. 

In 1998, he was nominated to be a Judge of the District Court and was initially appointed to the Dublin Metropolitan District Court. Subsequently, in 1999, he was appointed to District Court Area 14 (Limerick City).

In 2003, he was appointed to the District Court Rules Committee and served on that committee until his appointment to the Circuit Court in 2011. He was appointed to the Digital Audio Recording Project Board (DAR) in 2004 and in 2009 was instrumental in the introduction of video link facilities between Limerick District Court and Limerick Prison.

Judge O'Donnell has a special interest in Human Rights law and holds a Diploma on the European Convention on Human Rights from University College, Dublin, and a Master's Degree (LLM) in International Human Rights from University College, Galway. In 2007, he was further awarded a Diploma on International Human Rights and Criminal Procedure by the International Bar Association. He is the author of a number of articles in the Judicial Studies Institute Journal.

In 2011, Judge O' Donnell was appointed a Judge of the Circuit Court.

In 2021, Professor Kerstin Mey assumed her role as President of the University of Limerick. 

Over the past 25 years, Kerstin Mey has built a track record of successfully initiating and implementing pioneering academic and research initiatives and cultural projects in higher education. As an experienced leader and senior manager, she led major infrastructure and culture change programmes and set up a range of strategic external partnerships.

After studying for an MA equivalent in Art and German language and literature at Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and obtaining a PhD in Art Theory and Aesthetics there, Kerstin Mey held academic positions in universities in Germany and the UK. Before she joined the University of Westminster as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Media, Arts and Design, and Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory in 2013, she was Director for Research and Enterprise at the University for the Creative Arts, UK. From 2009–2013, she led the research strand Art and its Locations in Interface: Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design at the University of Ulster and was Director of the Research Institute of Art and Design there.

In 2017 Professor Kerstin Mey was appointed to the new role of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at University of Limerick.