Brendan’s role with Ag Eisteacht is to manage the Board and to provide overall perspective as required.
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.