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We are bringing hope and demonstrating love to the most vulnerable and marginalised people – through the local church.


Tearfund relies on our CEO, staff and board members who come from a range of backgrounds and who share our passion for seeing people released from material and spiritual poverty wherever we work. Meet them below.

Chief Executive – Sharan Kelly

Sharan Kelly

CEO, Tearfund Ireland

Sharan became Chief Executive of Tearfund Ireland in September 2012, taking over from our founder CEO Reuben Coulter. Before joining us, Sharan was chief executive of The Base, a flagship children and youth centre in Ballyfermot. Over the last yen years, she has been pivotal in turning the idea for The Base into the reality of being a state-of-the-art facility which helps to rebuild the lives of disadvantaged children and young people affected by drugs, alcohol, early school leaving and crime. Sharan currently attends Grosvenor Baptist Church having previously been involved in New Life Community Church for a number of years. She has a passion for leading worship and has recently taken up learning the piano.

Emma Lynch, Church and Supporter Relations co-ordinator

Emma Lynch has joined us as our Church and Supporter Relations co-ordinator. Emma lived in Nepal for nearly eight years and worked for the Nepal Leprosy Trust in Nepal and here in Ireland for the past few years.

Markus Köker - International Programmes Manager

Markus Köker is the International Programmes Manager. He supports Tearfund Ireland’s partners and projects, while chasing after institutional funding.

He has not lived in his home country Germany for more than a decade, while gaining work experience on four different continents. After becoming a secondary school teacher for geography, history and religious education, he moved to South Sudan for four years. As sector head of an ACROSS Education Programme he initiated and lead the Yei Teacher Training College during the war. With the wish to continue working in the development sector, he pursued an M/Phil in International Education in Norway. This also brought him to Bangladesh, researching the interface between ethnic minority culture and education. From 2008 to 2012, Markus served in Cambodia, where he was in charge of project design and external relations for ICC; a local partner of Tearfund, similar to the organisation he worked with in South Sudan.

Markus enjoys travelling (56 countries and counting) and skiing. He is passionate about asset based community development through the local church, as well as alternative care. Markus is married to Elke and has two children; Jana Lena and Malin. They attend Trinity church in Dublin.

Staff and Volunteers

There is also a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers who work hard to ensure that our vision becomes a reality. Of course, there is always more work than we can possibly manage. If you are interested in helping in our office as a volunteer then contact us.

Board of Directors

We believe accountability is vital and have appointed an experienced Board of Directors to oversee the corporate governance of Tearfund Ireland.

Dr. David Weakliam, Chair

Dr. David Weakliam, Chair

Health Service Executive

​David has worked in international and global health since 1988, including 12 years working with Tearfund and other development agencies in Nepal, Liberia, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. Following his return to Ireland he worked as health adviser with Irish Aid, the government overseas aid programme, from 2003 to 2007. David is now a Consultant in Public Health Medicine in the Health Service Executive (HSE) and works as Programme Lead for the HSE Global Health Programme.

Richard Phillips, Director

Richard Phillips, Director

Manager, Tivoli Training Centre

Richard is manager of Tivoli Training Centre in Dun Laoghaire. He has been a supporter of Tearfund since he was seven years old. Richard has spent fourteen years working in development projects in Africa and in Ireland, as well as 7 years with Dell gaining experience of the corporate world. He is married to Wendy and has a son, Zeph. They live in Stillorgan. Richard loves to hike and rock-climb, although it never seems to happen often enough.

Richard Barkley, Treasurer

Richard Barkley, Treasurer

Director and General Manager of an Irish subsidiary bank (retired)

Richard retired in 2007 from a challenging career in banking, culminating as Director and General Manager of an Irish subsidiary bank of a major Italian banking group, responsible for assets of €8.5 billion. He has also served as non-executive director on numerous boards of financial companies. Since retiring, Richard has been the volunteer administrator of Grosvenor Road Baptist Church in Dublin and has indulged his love of classical music. His desire is to see help and healing and the good news of Jesus Christ brought to those in need throughout the world, by local churches and Christian organisations.

Paraic O’Toole, Director

Paraic O’Toole, Director

Chief Executive of Automsoft

Paraic is the Chief Executive of Automsoft, the leading process data management software company in the world, whose major customers include Cadbury, Exxon and Pfizer. He was a founding director of the US-Ireland Alliance and is currently serving on the executive council of the Irish Software Association. He brings a wealth of business and management experience to the Board. Paraic is married to Susan and has four children. When he is not working or spending time with his family he is in training for a marathon.

Dr. Oghenovo Osa Oghuvbu, Director

Dr. Oghenovo Osa Oghuvbu, Director

Specialist in occupational health medicine

Nigerian by birth, Ovo has lived and worked in Ireland since the mid-1990s. Having previously worked in Trinidad and Tobago, Ovo is passionate about Diaspora issues with particular interest in civic responsibility, governance and, accountability. He is actively involved in community service both as a volunteer as well as in corporate governance roles and has a strong commitment to the role of the local church as an effective agent for development and transformation in communities.

Susan Heaney, Director

Susan Heaney, Director

Susan has a background in project management and has worked alongside her husband pastoring Redcross Church, Co. Wicklow, for the past 22 years. She involved in the New Wine network. A long time supporter of Tearfund, she is passionate about the local church and has a heart to see the Irish Church actively involved in transforming the lives of the poor through both action and prayer. She is married to Roland and has 3 children.