Disability Federation of Ireland Board

DFI Board

Headshot of man smiling - Fran Brennan

Fran Brennan Chairperson

Fran is a former Marketing Manager and General Manager/Director of the Irish subsidiary of a multinational corporation. During this time he also served as Board Member of the Finglas Cabra Partnership for 8 years and Chairperson of the Local Employment Services Network in that area.

He embarked on a new career in the voluntary sector in 2003 as General Manager of Living Life Counselling for 6 years followed by terms as Development Manager of the think tank TASC and Peamount Healthcare. He has been CEO of the Post Polio Support Group, an organisation that provides a range of services and supports to Polio Survivors, for the past 3 ½ years.

He was elected to the Board of DFI in July 2016. Subsequently appointed to the Premises and Finance & Audit Sub-Committees of the Board. 

SL Photograph

Siobhan Long Vice Chairperson

Siobhan Long has worked in the field of Assistive Technology since 1991. Siobhan's current role involved management of Enable Ireland's National Assistive Technology Training and SeatTech Services. Siobhan works with two teams of highly skilled individuals who strive to deliver innovative, person-centered AT and custom seating solutions to a wide range of individuals with differing abilities and needs. Technology is changing repidly and the goal is to ensure that those who can benefit from what it has to offer, can gain access to it in a timely manner. Another goal of Enable Ireland's AT and SeatTeach services is to influence the development of future technologies. Partnering with AT users to advocate for better Assistive Technology services, solutions and support is a key objective for our service. 

Enable Ireland provides services to children and adults with disabilities and their families from 40 locations in 14 counties. Encompassing services from childhood to adulthood, expert teams work with the individual and their family on plan for each life stage. Enable Ireland's mission is to work in partnership with those who use the services to achieve maximum independence, choice and inclusion in their communities. Enable Ireland focuses on the person, not the disability. We believe that access, inclusion and equality are basic rights for all people and assert that society must recognise and accommodate individual needs. 

Pat Clarke Vice Chairperson

Pat is Vice President of the European Disability Forum and President of European Down Syndrome. He is now retired as Chief Executive Officer of Down Syndrome Ireland and is past-President of of Down Syndrome International. His son, aged 38, has Down Syndrome. He is a past Chair of the Disability Federation of Ireland. Pat served on the Board of the Children's Rights Alliance and on the governing body of the International Disability Alliance. He represents EDF at the Council of Europe and on other committees. He has presented papers at the UN in New York and Geneva on the right to vote for Persons with Disabilities as well as on issues such as employment, communtiy and education. He has been a long-time advocate for the full inclusion of people with Down Syndrome in particular, and all people with disabilities, in society at every level. 


Alison McCallion Board Member

Alison has worked in the Disability Sector for 9 years. She also spent 19 years working in the Education industry. Seven of those years were spent supporting marginalized groups. During that period she worked with the Department of Social Welfare in the Tolka Area, Ballymun and Northside Partnerships.

She joined the Central Remedial Clinic, CRC, in 2015 and she is now Head of Adult Services, supporting 300 adults with disabilities across Dublin. She is responsible for the strategic leadership, management and development of Adult Services, in consultation with the adults she supports.

Alison is Not-for-Profit-Association Representative, the National New Directions Implementation Group, the HSE School Leavers Group and the Interim Standards subgroup.


Gráinne O’Leary Board Member

Over the past 13 years Gráinne has developed, lead and implemented an ambitious Services Programme for people living with arthritis and supporting infrastructure for service delivery, including the Stanford University Self-Management Programme to over 5,000 people. She has actively participated in the growth of the organisation and the ongoing development and implementation of its long- term strategy. Gráinne has built, motivated and managed teams of staff and volunteers to deliver on the strategic goals, objectives and targets of the services.

She is a Stanford University accredited Master Trainer in the Chronic Disease and Arthritis Self Management Programmes.

Iulia Crisan Board Member

Iulia is the Manager of the International Growth Team for Google. She holds a Law degree and a Research Master's in Public International Law. She is very passionate about international law due to her previous background and education, non-governmental organisations and generally getting involved in communities and giving back. In her current role she manages a team of international consultants advising top advertisers on how to grow their businesses internationally. Additionally, she runs a couple of Start-up initiatives in Europe, organises workshops and attends industry events as a public speaker. 

Michael Doyle Board Member

Michael has been employed with the Irish Wheelchair Association for over 20 years. He has held several positions over that period, his current position is National Director of Assisted Living Services. The Assisted Living Services is the largest of IWA's services which provides the service of a personal assistant to individuals with physical and sensory disabilities. These PA's assist individuals in their homes and communities facilitating community participation, access to education, employment andimproved quality of life. The service is designed by the individual to maximise control over their personal service. In 2018, the Assisted Living Service provided support to over 2,300 individuals. 

Michael is also the Director with responsibilty for the organisaitons' transport fleet of over 120 vehicles and the Monitoring Assesment Advice and Tuition Service, this service provides driving lessons to people with disabilities across the country in specially adapted vehicles. In 2018, they provided driving tuition to 330 students, facilitating them to commence or return to driving. 

As a senior member of the Association he is actively involved in the advocacy work of the Association with a focus in lobbying on transport issues and the requirements for additional services. 

Ann Marie Ellison Board Member

Anne Griffin

Anne Griffin Board Member

Anne was the General Manager for the World Meeting of Families in 2018 for the visit of Pope Francis. Anne is an Event Industry awards winner, with over 20 years senior business management experience. As the General Manager, Anne had an involvement with all areas of World Meeting of Families, as well as the mangement of over 50 staff and over 6,000 volunteers. Experienced in the co-ordiantion of large scale events, she was previously General Manager for the IEC2012 in Dublin, Consultant Operations Advisor to the IEC2016, held in the Philippines, and continues to work overseas in a consultancy role for the Pontifical Committee for IECs. Previous roles include Operations Director with MCI Dublin, Abbey Conference and Corporate and the Heart and Lung Transplant Association where she was responsible for delivering International & World events in Ireland and across many locations around the world.  

Wendy McCarry Board Member

Valerie Moran Board Member

Julie Sharp

Julie Sharp Board Member

Julie joined the Bank of Ireland as Head of Group Human Resources on 14 June 2010. Julie brought a diverse HR experience to the Group, gained in several different companies including ING where she more recently worked. At ING, Julie held a number of senior management positions ranging from Regional HR Director Asia Pacific for ING Investment Managment, based in Australia to Regional Head of HR and Management Board member, ING Asia Pacific based in Hong Kong. In this role she was responsible for 17,000 employees covering investment management, insurance and real estate. Prior to ING, Julie worked in senior HR Director roles Arthur Anderson, Citibank and Fairfax Media. 

Julie holds and MBA in International Business Management form Charles Sturt University, having previously graduated form the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Science,majorign in Psychology.