Coalition Conversations Biographies


Sarah Hughes, Mental Health Programme Manager, Union of Students in Ireland

Sarah Hughes is the Mental Health Programme within the Union of Students in Ireland. Sarah works directly on any mental health research projects within the organisation and works alongside Government Executives such as the HSE to create positive change and ensure students’ mental health is at the forefront of conversation at all times.

Martina Smith, Chief Executive Officer, HAIL (Housing Association for Integrated Living)

Martina has extensive experience working in the housing sector, having worked for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland for over 15 years in managerial positions and as Chief Executive. She also worked in London for 14 years in senior positions in the Housing Departments of a number of Local Authorities. Her experience in London included housing management, development, strategic and business planning and regulatory and financial management. In HAIL, as CEO, Martina has responsibility for the overall management of the organisation and delivery of the Strategic Plan. HAIL primarily provides housing and support to people with mental health difficulties to enable them to live independently in the community.

Dr Suzanne Denieffe, Head of the School of Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology

Dr. Suzanne Denieffe is Head of Humanities in Waterford Institute of Technology since 2018 having previously held the position of Head of Department of Nursing from 2014. She is an active researcher, focusing on research to improve quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized groups. She has been involved in collaborative projects with the HSE (including mental health services, older person’s services and social inclusion) with a number of these projects considering housing for vulnerable groups, including a project on tenancy support provision. In these projects a range of research designs were utilized to ensure the voices of all stakeholders were heard.

Aodhan O’Heineaháin, HAIL Tenant

Aodhan has been a HAIL tenant for six years. He is a strong advocate for the importance of tenancy support services for people living with mental health difficulties. He is a founding member of the HAIL Tenant’s Forum and he plays a key role in the annual HAIL Bulb Planting effort, thanks to his background in horticulture. Aodhan wants to see housing associations such as HAIL receive more funding to grow their mental health tenancy support services.

Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children

Dr Niall Muldoon is Ireland’s second Ombudsman for Children. Niall, who is a Counselling and Clinical Psychologist and was appointed, for a second 6-year term, by President Michael D Higgins in February 2021. As Ombudsman for Children Niall has focused on generating an Ireland where children and young people are actively heard, particularly those who are most vulnerable. During his tenure, the Office has sought to give voice to those children who are often not listened to. In that time the Office has consulted with young people availing of Ireland’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Direct Provision, those in children’s hospitals, young people living in Family Hubs and young people have produced a report for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

John Church, CEO, ISPCC

John joined the ISPCC in August 2018 having spent the previous 13 years in CEO roles within the not-for-profit sector. Prior to this, John spent 16 years in the private sector in various senior commercial and marketing roles in blue chip organisations such as The Bank of Ireland Group and The Coca-Cola Company. During an exciting and important period of change within the ISPCC, John brings significant experience and expertise in the area of strategy development, organisational change, planning and commercial focus as the organisation seeks to reposition its purpose and support more children through a digital transformation journey. A graduate of UCD and KUL in Belgium, John is a native of Dublin and a keen sports enthusiast with rugby, golf, competing in triathlons and spending as much time as possible with his 5 sons.

Bernie Keogh, Managing Director, A Lust for Life

Bernie Keogh joined A Lust for Life in June 2022 as Managing Director. She has over 20 years’ experience in a variety of areas including marketing, HR consulting, recruitment, executive coaching and general management. Previously she was Managing Director and a board member of Alternatives, a leading marketing talent firm with extensive experience of client leading teams, client services and working across industry sectors. In 2020 she launched her own talent and coaching consultancy called We Love People and co- launched YayCanDo in 2022, a podcast about powering possibility. She is a qualified executive coach and is undertaking a 4 years MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy in Turning Point Institute as a trainee psychotherapist.

Niamh Fennell, Youth Voice and Engagement Officer, Jigsaw

Niamh has extensive experience volunteering across a number of sectors and with some of Ireland's leading non-profit organisations. In particular, Niamh has given over 6 years to Jigsaw and the cause of Youth Mental Health in Ireland. At the age of 16, she became a Jigsaw Youth Advocate in her local Jigsaw service. After a number of years volunteering and sharing her voice locally, in 2020 she moved into a national volunteering role as the Youth Participation Advocate in Jigsaw’s national office. She worked closely with the youth participation team during this time on their evolved and rights-based approach to hearing the voice of young people within Jigsaw. Niamh has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science in Community and Youth work and has worked for a number of locally-based youth services.

John Lannon, CEO, Doras

John Lannon is CEO of Doras, a Limerick based migrant support and human rights non-governmental organisation. Their work is focused on supporting asylum seekers, refugees and migrant, and advocating for a society where equality and respect for their human rights are social norms. In addition to their direct support service Doras provide a specialised migrant victim support helpline, intercultural training, and a range of other integration and immigration supports. John has previously worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Limerick and as a consultant with a number of international development and human rights NGOs. He holds an MA in Peace and Development Studies and a PhD in human rights information management.

Dr Jennifer Hayes, Principal Psychology Manager for Social Inclusion, HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

Dr. Jennifer Hayes is a principal clinical psychologist and head of HSE social inclusion psychology services for the HSE in Cork and Kerry. She is responsible for delivering the emergency HSE psychological response to support International Protection Applicants across Cork and Kerry. Her area of clinical expertise is trauma and PTSD. She has worked intensively with war survivors and forced migrants, of all ages fleeing war and persecution from all over the world. She has been instrumental in ensuring the National roll out of training for HSE psychologists / CBT therapists to enable the delivery of evidence based treatments for PTSD in forced migrants as well as National trauma training for professionals / services supporting IPAs, across all agencies / services, regardless of their supporting role.

Emilia Marchelewska, Health Advocacy Officer, Cairde

Emilia Marchelewska is passionate about helping people to develop greater resilience to deal with life’s challenges. She is interested in psychological, cultural and socio-structural determinants of mental health and wellbeing. Her extensive experience includes supporting individuals, building capacity of migrant communities, advocating for inclusive services and policies. Emilia works as a Health Advocacy Officer in Cairde leading Migrants’ Mental Health, Health Connect and Ukrainian projects. She is also a Chair of the board of the CKU Centre for Counselling & Therapy. Her background is in Social Psychology (MA, UMCS, Poland) and Positive Health & Psychology (Pg Dip, RCSI). She’s a PSI member. Emilia is also an EFT tapping practitioner and currently studies Coaching for Mental Health & Wellbeing.

Justyna Maslanka, Mental Health Advocate

Justyna Maslaska is a Technology Economist and Mental Health Advocate. She also volunteers with Cairde's Mental Health & Wellbeing Project. She is a member of Mental Health Reform’s Grassroots Forum and a member of the National Implementation Monitoring Group for Sharing the Vision. She is a forum member with the Mental Health Commission and the Decision Support Service. Justyna has experience engaging with mental health services as a migrant woman. As part of her wellbeing journey, she uses a range of holistic therapies, self-development including yoga, going to the gym, horse riding and relaxing in nature.


Dr Rory Hearne, Assistant Professor in Social Policy at Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University

Dr Rory Hearne is a Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University. He is an experienced author, researcher, and policy analyst in housing, economic inequality, and human rights. He is author of the books ‘Gaffs: Why no one can buy a house, and what we can do about it’ and ‘Public Private Partnerships in Ireland’, and has written numerous academic papers and research reports on housing including more recently ‘A home or a wealth generator? Inequality, financialisation and the Irish housing crisis’ and Investing in the Right to a Home: Housing, HAPs and Hubs’. He also worked as a Senior Policy Analyst with TASC and as a community worker on the regeneration of the Dolphin House social housing community in Dublin’s inner city. He is also a regular analyst on national media, hosts a politics and society Podcast 'Reboot Republic', and is involved in housing and social justice campaigns.

Berni Smyth, CEO, KDYS

Berni comes to KDYS with over 25 years’ experience of working with children and families in a leadership capacity. She has a specialist interest in the rights of minority ethnic children and intensive family support evidenced through her direct work in the community, her research and as an associate lecturer with the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. Her published research and models of best practice have been presented internationally. She has provided consultation and facilitation services to statutory and voluntary agencies in areas such as strategic planning, conflict resolution, child protection and welfare and youth participation.

Róisín Clarke, Interim CEO, Mental Health Reform

Róisín Clarke is a senior professional with over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare and charity sectors. During this time, she has worked across a range of areas, such as strategic development, programme management, and stakeholder engagement. Following the development of her early career in the Irish Healthcare sector, Róisín worked for a number of years abroad. Since returning to Ireland, she has been involved in the establishment and management of a wide range of programmes and initiatives with a focus on advocacy, service development and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Róisín has most recently been involved with the development of Paediatric Inclusion Health and the Migrant Health Response within Children’s Health Ireland, aimed at enhancing service access and delivery to vulnerable, marginalised and migrant children.


Join the Mental Health Reform Newsletter

Our newsletters contain updates about the work of Mental Health Reform, our campaigns, our fundraising and our Members.
You can opt out of receiving newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe option in newsletters.
Mental Health Reform will not share your data with any outside agency.