Our Office Team
We are a small team working in a supportive and welcoming environment. We share a growth mindset and relationships stand at the heart of our work.
We are a small team working in a supportive and welcoming environment. We share a growth mindset and relationships stand at the heart of our work.
CEO and Founder of Ag Eisteacht
As well as being a caring and inspirational leader, Dr Maeve Hurley, a former GP, is an experienced trainer and facilitator.
Maeve’s vision is to equip practitioners with the skills to build quality relationships with clients and to support them in managing their boundaries.
She is regularly invited to share insight at the Royal College of Physician Ireland (RCPI) and is a respected speaker at national conferences such as the Irish Attachment in Action Annual Conference, The RCPI Quality in Healthcare Summit and the Northridge House and St Lukes Annual Conference. She also works on an annual basis with UCC’s GP Registrar Scheme.
A little-known fact about Maeve:
Maeve realised her dream of visiting Machu Picchu when she was 55, hiking for three days to get there and was overjoyed when the mist lifted and she could see the ruins!
Communications and Relations Executive
Stacey manages our social media and digital marketing campaigns.
A UCC graduate with a BSc in International Development and Food Policy, Stacey has over six years’ sales and customer service experience.
Before joining us, she worked as a sales consultant with Laya Healthcare so she understands the importance of building relationships of trust.
While a student at UCC, Stacey’s voluntary experience includes working with the Irish Forum for Global Health and the Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation in Darjeeling, India for 4 months. She has also previously volunteered with Le Cheile Family Resource Centre and with the Hope Foundation.
A little-known fact about Stacey: Stacey fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a Cork Rose finalist in 2017.
Donna is our point of contact for trainers and ensures the efficient delivery of our courses.
Donna’s previous experience was in administration with a busy counselling centre, and prior to that, she worked in sales and customer service roles.
Donna’s interest in the not-for-profit sector ensures an efficient but compassionate delivery of services. With her experience and a diploma in Marketing, Advertising and PR, she brings much experience and knowledge to her role at Ag Eisteacht.
A little-known fact about Donna: Donna loves music and travel and often likes to combine the two. She once had tickets for the Rolling Stones in Barcelona, but the gig was cancelled after Keith Richards fell out of a tree.
Office and Training Administrator
We selected each of our licensed trainers for their interest in relationship-centred practice and for their diverse experience. But most of all, because they share our values. Each is adept at tailoring the course content as they are delivering it to reflect the needs of the group. This is a rare skill.
Patsy joined us in 2012 as a licensed trainer. She holds a 1st class honours Higher Diploma in Social and Personal Health Education with Waterford Institute of Technology and delivered Ag Eisteacht training to multi-disciplinary groups within the disability and homeless sectors, public health nurses, teachers, social workers and childcare workers.
A member of the Infant Mental Health Network Group and Steering Committee, Patsy also works with the Social, Health and Education Project (SHEP) as a tutor.
Leon is a qualified social care worker with an MA in Child, Family and Community Studies. She has extensive experience in the residential social care area, and was a family support worker and also worked in the disability sector. Leon has worked in Tusla Child and Family Agency for the last seventeen years. In recent years she has also become an independent trainer and consultant in the social care sector, providing training and consultancy services for Ag Eisteacht, Orchard Children Services, The Essential Organisation and Barnardos.
Cliodhna is a qualified Public Health Specialist with over 10 years’ experience in substance use prevention, family support and community development. She has worked in a variety of settings, both in Ireland and abroad, in training and management roles. Cliodhna has been involved in delivering relational based training to a number of different sectors including the disability sector and the mental health sector for many years. Her practice interests are family-based prevention interventions, supporting the health and wellbeing of children and young people and inter-agency partnerships and collaboration.
Una is a recently retired social worker and has worked for over thirty years in both the voluntary and statutory sectors. Before becoming a licensed trainer with Ag Eisteacht, Una was employed as a Training and Development Officer in Workforce Learning and Development in Tusla, Child and Family Agency.
Having attended our training as a participant, she realised that it would be of great benefit to frontline practitioners in their role in supporting service users experiencing relational difficulties.
Bernadette has over 25 years’ practical and successful experience as a trainer, facilitator and coach. She has a HDip in Business Studies, Training & Development, a Certificate in Compliance, a certified mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) Coach and is a certified Professional Coach. As well as being a valued member of our training team, Bernie is also a partner and senior trainer with Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training (NLP) Institute.
A firm believer in continuous professional development and personal development, Bernadette undertakes further training each year to develop her skills.
Trish has a nursing background and she also completed a Masters in Health Promotion at UCC.
She works with the Teen Parent Support Programme in Cork as frontline support for young parents, their children and their extended families. This is a challenging but rewarding role built on trust, with a focus on empowering and educating clients to reach their potential as individuals and as parents.
Over the years, she has done numerous parenting, infant mental health and personal development training courses to support her work, including our ABLE training programme which inspired her to become a trainer with us.
Trish is also a qualified and practicing yoga teacher and uses the practice as an effective tool to maintain her own and her clients’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing.
Rose is a clinical nurse specialist, holds a BA in Counselling and MA Integrative Psychotherapy and is an accredited therapist and supervisor with IACP.
Her special interest is trauma and she has trained in Mindfulness Based Somatic Experiencing and EMDR Therapy. She is also a psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice and a trainer for group facilitators and trainee counsellors.
Having experienced our ABLE model as a group participant, she found it provided a bridge between the separate roles she holds.
Declan is a qualified engineer with more than 30 years’ national and international experience at senior level in managing transition management scenarios. He has seen first-hand the importance of listening, responding sensitively and how misunderstandings can occur between people in times of crises. Declan’s work with Ag Eisteacht focusses on supporting quality relationships within the corporate sector.
We work closely with several associates, who are invaluable in shaping the work of the organisation.
A former board director of Ag Eisteacht, independent PR consultant Patsy Atkinson supports our strategic marketing goals by raising awareness of our work within our key target audiences. As well as managing our media relations campaigns, she works closely with our in-house marketing team to provide content for our website and social media channels, ensuring that our ethos and messages are reflected in everything we share. Patsy has over thirty years’ experience of working closely with clients in the UK and Ireland across a wide range of consumer, business-to-business and not-for-profit accounts. Relationships stand at the heart of her work. Patsy has a BA Degree in English Literature & Spanish from UCC and holds a post-graduate diploma in Media & Communications Skills from Carr Communications. She is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland.
Dr Nicola O’ Sullivan supports our training and development and she provides a reflective space to our team and trainers. She holds a Professional Doctorate in Social Care and Emotional Wellbeing from the Tavistock and Portman Trust NHS, London, and has worked with children and families in community and residential settings in Ireland for nineteen years. She also provides clinical supervision to individual practitioners and teams working with children and families. Nicola is an associate lecturer at the Tavistock, she teaches on the Mental Health in the Community Certificate Course at UCC and is an external examiner for the TU in Dublin for the Social Care Degree Programme.
Dr Sinéad Hanafin is a nurse, midwife and public health nurse and has worked in practice, academia and in Government Departments. She is managing director of Research Matters, a research consultancy company that carries out policy research mainly on behalf of Government and Semi-State organisations. Sinéad has published nationally and internationally in the areas of children’s health and wellbeing, public health, community nursing and research methodology. In 2017 she was commissioned by Ag Eisteacht to undertake a research report, ‘Relationships Matter.’ Using a number of national data and research sources, she presented an overview of relationships in Ireland across the life cycle. Sinead completed a M.Sc. at Trinity College Dublin and a PhD at King’s College London. She is a scholar of the European Academy of Nursing Science, a Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and was awarded a Fellowship (Ad Eundem) by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2016.
Breda holds a B.Comm and is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland since 1982. With almost forty years’ experience in varied industries, Breda supports us in the development and implementation of financial controls within the organisation.
Ag Eisteacht board member, Dr Margaret O’ Rourke, contributes to the science and evidence base of our ABLE training programmes, ensuring they adhere to best practice in terms of a psychological approach to training learning and development. She also supports our literature reviews in the field of relationships in health, education and social care. A practicing clinical psychologist, researcher and medical educator, Margaret is director of Behavioural Science at the School of Medicine at University College Cork, where she leads on psychological medicine and the preparation and support of medical students’ and doctors’ wellbeing. After graduating from UCC, Dr O’Rourke completed a Masters in Psychological Medicine at the School of Medicine University of Glasgow and a doctorate in Forensic Clinical Psychology at Surrey University. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on a wide range of important health topics.
Donncha’s role with Ag Eisteacht is to manage the Board and to provide overall perspective as required.
Donncha is a retired businessman who was involved in food manufacturing for over twenty years. Prior to that, he worked as a chemical engineer in the chemical/pharmaceutical sector.
Since his retirement he has been active in the voluntary sector.
A director of Ag Eisteacht since 2013, he supports and champions our vital role in improving relationships in frontline practititioners’ work, including social workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, healthcare staff and others.
He firmly believes that improvements in these relationships contribute to improved outcomes for those receiving care and support.
Brendan Cunningham is a partner in the property and banking section of Ronan Daly Jermyn, a top 10 Irish legal firm, and the only one of the top 10 with its headquarters located outside Dublin.
He is a graduate of the Law School of University College Cork and of the Law Society of Ireland courses run through Blackall Place in Dublin.
As a board member, his legal knowledge is often called upon to ensure that Ag Eisteacht remains true, not just to its core values, but also to the obligations imposed by its charitable status and the rules governing incorporated charitable bodies.
Brendan credits his involvement with the board and the charity in allowing him to bring a more rounded and human approach to his every day professional responsibilities.
Kathy trained as a State Registered Nurse in Greenwich, South East London and has always been committed to the importance of good listening in practice.
In the 1980s she trained and worked as a school nurse across primary and large comprehensive schools in Kent, and she became a Health Visitor in 1985.
In 1996 she was involved in a research project by One plus One, a relationship charity in London founded by Dr Jack Dominion. This was followed by Brief Encounters training, which she found to be hugely enabling for her practice and personal life.
While training to be a trainer, Kathy met Maeve Hurley, who was also a trainer and equally passionate about taking a patient-centred approach. When both returned to Cork, they worked together offering relational training to practitioners. Kathy has shared Maeve’s vision and supported Ag Eisteacht’s work from the outset.
Michelle is a retired primary school teacher and principal. She qualified with a BEd from Mary Immaculate College of Education and later BMus and HDip from UCC. She also is a Fellow of the Victorian College of Music and has associate diplomas in drama from London College and the Royal Irish Academy.
Throughout her teaching career, she valued an inclusive, holistic approach to education. She initiated partnerships with other schools for children with special needs to create an “ability” school environment. In developing this process, the school amalgamated with the local school for the deaf. All children were taught sign language and, as a result, deafness was not seen as a disability but rather a question of language. As principal, she became aware of the huge developments, not just in deaf children but even more so in mainstream children, by taking this approach. The school developed Master’s programmes and other initiatives such as Ashoka schools initiative, leading change and development in many aspects of education. The school was also to the fore in forging links with the HSE to create a multi-disciplinary therapeutical centre in the school.
Johanna Fitzpatrick is a psychotherapist and counsellor specialising in relationship, bereavement and pregnancy loss.
She is a graduate of Surrey University (BSc Human Sciences 1975) and completed her postgraduate professional training in UCC (HDip Coun.) in 1994. As well as running a busy private practice for many years, she worked as a counsellor with the Cork Marriage Counselling Centre for over 20 years and in the Student Counselling Centre at UCC.
Johanna has also worked on a voluntary basis with organisations such as the Samaritans, and was a founder member of both the Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society and Cuidiú (The Irish Childbirth Trust).
Johanna joined the Board of Ag Eisteacht in 2013 and is delighted to be part of an organisation that provides educational and other fundamental supports to the enhancement of relationships at work and in the home.
Margaret is a practicing clinical psychologist, researcher and medical educator based at the School of Medicine University College Cork, Ireland. She is a chartered Consultant Forensic and Clinical Psychologist ((BPS/HCPC UK) and a chartered scientist with the British Science Council.
As an INFANT Associate Investigator, Margaret leads on the LifeMatters programmes: B-BEST START Intervention for parents of babies in neonatal care, SAFEMED Doctor Health and the SMART (Stress Management and Resilience Training) programme for Healthcare Professionals.
Margaret has worked on a number of high-impact public safety, child protection, mental health, doctor health and well-being programmes in the UK, USA and Canada.
She has helped hundreds of patients and clinicians successfully reduce stress, anxiety and increase healthy coping, well-being and performance. She has a particular interest in doctor and health practitioner health and well-being and has designed, delivered and evaluated risk, safety and stress inoculation and resilience training for professionals in high-intensity services (Medicine, Psychology, Health, Veterinary, Social Care, Police, Prisons & Probation).
In addition to her work in clinical practice and academia, Margaret has written a number of evidence-based ‘science to society’ psychological health programmes geared towards building health, well-being and optimal functioning for people in extremis and high-intensity contexts.