Dr Sheila Gilheany | Chief Executive Officer
Sheila has a background in physics and has extensive experience in policy development and advocacy. She has led a range of not-for-profit organisations in science, education, public engagement and social enterprise. Most recently she was the national manager for the Institute of Physics in Ireland where she developed strong policy positions on issues around research funding, facilities, gender and access to physics at all levels. Previously she was Director of the Irish Centre for Talented Youth at Dublin City University for 11 years, bringing courses and services for young people with exceptional academic ability right across Ireland. She is also Chair of the Board of Directors of Specialisterne Ireland an organisation which supports the employment of people with autism.
She has a BSc Hons in physics and a PhD in astrophysics from Queen’s University Belfast.
Eunan McKinney | Head of Communications and Advocacy
Eunan has considerable political campaigning and communications experience, having been Political Director to the office of the former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (2014-16), Alex White, and as his Parliamentary Adviser during a period as Minister of State for Primary Care at the Department of Health (2012-14). Prior to a career period in political communications, he was Managing Director of Source, a creative communications agency, which he founded in 1991 and divested in 2005. Eunan is also an Advisor to the Board of Crumlin Homecare Services CLG. A native of County Sligo, he is a BA Hons graduate, and holds a Masters in Politics, from UCD, and a Professional Diploma in Advertising from JAEC|DIT. He is a former Chair of the Irish Design Business Association and Council Member of the Institute of Designers of Ireland
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Jennifer Hough | Policy Research Officer*
Jennifer has 15 years of experience in the areas of journalism and communications and most recently spent two and half years working in policy, research and communications in Oberstown Children Detention Campus, Ireland’s national facility for young offenders.
There she was responsible for the development of new policy, and for the implementation of the communications and engagement strategy, increasing public and media awareness and understanding of the role and work of Oberstown. She also designed and delivered an impactful data research project, Characteristics of Young People in Detention, which has helped to reframe the conversation around youth justice in the media and in the wider public arena.
As a journalist, Jennifer worked in the UK, Canada and Ireland primarily covering social justice issues. She has won three media awards for her work and has been published in papers such as the Irish Times, the Toronto Star, The National Post and Irish Examiner.
Jennifer has a first class Master’s degrees in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and in Child and Family Law from University College Cork.
Eve O’Brien | Research Assistant
Eve has recently completed a Masters of Social Science in Community and Youth Work, awarded by Maynooth University. Prior to this, Eve graduated with a BA in European Studies from the University of Limerick. She has conducted research in the area of sustainable practice in youth work, as well as intercultural language policy. Eve’s professional experience is focused on customer management, communications, and administration with both corporate and non-profit organisations. She has a strong volunteer background in the area of mental health and sports and recreation.