Meet the Team
Who are you looking for?
Paul McBride | Chief Executive Officer
Phone: 086 183 1502
Emma Caparangca | Finance Manager
Phone: 01 525 0708
Aisling Whelan | Member Relations Manager
Phone: 01 525 0250
Maggie Woods | Member Support Officer
Phone: 086 180 6953
Sarah Johnston | Administration
Phone: 01 525 0707
We are hugely grateful to our Board – composed entirely of volunteers – who bring with them a huge weight of experience and expertise which has helped to guide everything that we do.
Kevin McCoy | Chairman
Dr Kevin McCoy –Began his social work career as a social work assistant in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. Trained in Social Work at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and the College of Deaf Welfare, London. He has a degree in Economics and Social Policy and a masters and doctorate in Public Policy. Employed by Down County Welfare Committee in various posts from 1963 – 1972. Joined the Department of Health and Social Services in 1972 as a Social Work Adviser. Appointed Senior Social Work Adviser in 1973 and Assistant Chief Inspector in 1985. Appointed Chief Inspector, Social Services Inspectorate in 1989 and retired from this position in November 2000.
Appointed by the Government in the Republic of Ireland as a Commissioner on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in December 2000.He left the Commission in May 2003. Since then he has provided consultancy services to a wide range of statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
As a founding member of ÁT and a person with lived experience of disability, Owen brings first-hand knowledge and understanding to the Board. This ensures that ÁT continues to be person-centred and supportive of the individual, while also working to promote Independent Living. Owen provides training courses on manual handling. He is an active board member for a number of organisations, including Greater Dublin Independent Living, Cheshire Ireland and Lucan Disability Action Group.
Jacinta Fortune is the mother of an ÁT Leader. Jacinta has volunteered with a number of different organisations over the past 20 years, and is currently an active volunteer with Dyspraxia Ireland, raising awareness and support for people who live with dyspraxia. Jacinta is heavily involved with the training of teachers and with setting up support groups across the country.
Ann Kennelly qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the College of Occupational Therapy, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin in 1983. In 1994, Ann completed an Master’s degree in Management of Care awarded by the University of Wales and University College Dublin (UCD). As an OT, Ann’s role as a member of a multi-disciplinary team was to provide a range of Assessment and Therapeutic Occupational Therapy services to clients with physical and sensory disabilities. Ann worked in both the hospital and community public services in Ireland, the UK and Canada, and she also worked as an OT and a Regional Manager with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) in the voluntary sector. Ann joined the South Eastern Health Board in 1994 and managed a range of hospital services, before working as the Director of Disability Services in the South East for seven years. In 2005, Ann took up a post as Local Health Manager HSE South for Primary, Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) Services in North Cork. Ann’s final year working for the HSE in 2010 was spent working in the role of Interim National Assistant Director for Disability Services. Ann now works in a private capacity as an OT and is involved with many voluntary groups and individuals with disabilities.
Máiríde Woods is a writer and researcher, and has been involved with disability matters for many years. She had a daughter with disabilities who attended St Michael’s House day services, and she has been on the Board of St Michael’s House for some years. “Frontline”, an Irish quarterly magazine published for workers and families at the front line of intellectual disability, has also been one of her interests and she has written many articles for it. In the 1990s, she was a rapporteur on the Transport Group of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities, and also undertook some research with Action for Mobility and DFI. In recent years, she worked as an Advocacy Executive with CIB, and she was also closely involved with the setting up of the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS) and with advocacy services in the Citizens Information Services (CIS). Máiríde has a Diploma in Sociology and Social Research and a Masters in Equality Studies, both from UCD. She has received a number of prizes for her writing. She has published two collections of poetry, and has had stories included in several anthologies and broadcast on RTÉ. Máiríde was brought up in Cushendall, County Antrim but spent most of her life in Dublin.
Mary has worked for over 10 years at an international level on disability rights and international development. Prior to that she worked with the disability movement in Ireland. Mary completed a PhD in 2014, prior to completing her PhD, she undertook a BA in Economics and an MA in International Economic Development. Mary currently works with CBM International as Senior Advisor on Disability and Gender Equality. Prior to this, she worked with CBM Australia as Inclusive Development Advisor and CBM Ireland. Mary also worked with the International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM), where she was the coordinator of the IDRM European regional report and authored the Irish report. Mary has also written reports for the UN on inclusive development, contributed to the development of the CRPD committee general comment on women and girls with disabilities and she recently authored the CBM publication: How to make international development disability inclusive, and is a co-author of Inclusion Counts – The Economic Case for Disability-Inclusive Development Mary is the former chair of the Dochas Working Group on Disability and International Development. The working group has been in existence for over 10 years and seeks to influence the Irish government and also Irish development and humanitarian organisations to ensure persons with disabilities are included in Ireland’s overseas aid commitments. She has also been the co-chair of the International Disability and Development Consortium EU Taskgroup. Mary’s PhD research focus was a comparative analysis of how the US, Finland and Australia mainstream disability in their development aid programmes. Her research interests are intersectionality and gender and disability.
Brian is a native of Galway. He worked for many years as a solicitor with Irish Life Assurance PLC and Legal Aide Board. Since his retirement, he is currently working as volunteer solicitor with the Irish Refugee Council. He was involved with National Council for the Blind in Ireland (NCBI) as a fundraiser. He is also involve in a charity which support deprived children in Thailand. He used to lecture on family law through citizen advice volunteer.
As an organisation developing a new approach and advocating for a policy commitment to the Direct Payments model, it was essential from the very beginning that we looked to include and inform all individuals, policy makers and service providers. We have received great support from the following:
Genio is an Irish non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works to bring Government and private and philanthropic funders together to develop better ways to support disadvantaged people to live full lives in their communities. Genio has provided support to us by way of funding and leadership, helping to continuously develop and strengthen our Direct Payments model.
DFI represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilitiesto be fully included in Irish society. It comprises over 120 organisations that represent and support people with all types of disabilities and disabling conditions. The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI’s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives. DFI has been supporting us since our organisation was established as a pilot project in 2010, particularly in the areas of governance, standards and development.
Go Accessible 365
We are an official partner of GoAccessible365.com. It aims to provide a web and mobile-based search facility to quickly and easily source all forms of wheelchair accessible travel, raising standards, promoting independence and pushing social change. GoAccessible365.com hopes to create a society of ‘universal design’ so transport, accommodation, tourist attractions and venues are accessible to everyone regardless of their situation.
The IWA is the national organization dedicated to the achievement of full social, economic and educational inclusion and integration of people with disabilities as equal, independent and participative members of their communities and society. The IWA has been very supportive of us, particularly in the initial stages of helping to identify candidates and supporting those individuals to avail of our model. They also provided us with Senior Managerial Experience.
Cheshire Ireland provides a range of support services to people with both physical and neurological conditions in their homes, in residential centres, in supported accommodation and in stand-alone respite facilities. Cheshire Ireland has been very supportive to us, particularly in the initial stages of helping to identify candidates and supporting those individuals to avail of our model. They also provided us with Senior Managerial Experience.
The HSE has been very supportive to the development of our organisation. The HSE facilitated us to pilot the Direct Payments model in the first instance.