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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
CEO, Tearfund Ireland
Prior to taking up the post of CEO with Tearfund Ireland, Sharan led the development of ‘the Base’, the flagship project of the EU/NDP URBAN II Programme in the Republic of Ireland (2000-2006). A €6million capital build project and multi-disciplinary service working with children and young people, as the founding Chief Executive Sharan held the post for 10 years prior to joining Tearfund.
Sharan is the current Chair of Dóchas, the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations and Vice-Chair of EU-CORD Administrative Council, the European Network of Christian Relief and Development NGOs.
Sharan has over 18 years’ senior management experience working with NGOs supporting the most marginalised and vulnerable in Ireland and overseas. She has made representations on behalf of those most affected by poverty and injustice at various national and European levels and fora.
Sharan holds an MBA (International Marketing) and a Bachelor Degree in Business Management.
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.
Markus Köker - International Programmes Manager
International Programmes Manager
Markus Köker is the International Programmes Manager. He supports Tearfund Ireland’s partners and projects, while chasing after institutional funding.
Markus has gained work experience on four different continents. After becoming a secondary school teacher 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. From 2008 to 2012, he served in Cambodia, where he was in charge of project design and external relations for ICC; a local partner of Tearfund. Markus has an M/Phil in International Education.
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.
Emma Lynch - Church and Supporter Relations Co-ordinator
Church and Supporter Relations Co-ordinator
Emma Lynch joined Tearfund as Church and Supporter Relations Coordinator in 2013. After graduating from Trinity College with an Honours Degree in Business Studies, Emma worked in retail staff management in the UK and Ireland. Emma spent several years serving in Nepal with her family during the 1990s and currently sits on the executive committee of the Nepal Ireland Society. Originally from Dublin, Emma lives in Mullingar where she is part of the leadership team at MCF Community Church.
Emma has recently joined the Board of EAI and represents the Association of Mission Societies on the Church of Ireland Council for Mission.
Niamh Daly - Marketing & Fundraising Manager
Marketing & Fundraising Manager
Niamh joined Tearfund in 2011 and has been creating and developing the Marketing, Fundraising and Communications area of Tearfund Ireland since. After graduating from Trinity college with an Honours degree in International Economics and Politics, Niamh trained as a Public Relations professional and for nearly a decade worked in the areas of Marketing and Advertising for Eircom and Dublin Airport.
Niamh lives in Mullingar, Westmeath with her three daughters, Annelie, Rebekah and Rachel and attends Mullingar Community Church.
Michael Goss - Finance and Administration Coordinator
Finance and Administration Coordinator
Prior to joining Tearfund Ireland as Finance and Administration Coordinator in May 2013, Michael enjoyed twelve years working in Admin & Finance in the Construction Sector. He also worked for a further three years in the Fundraising and Finance division of fellow charity Jobcare Ltd, whilst simultaneously pursuing a career as a self-employed musician.
Michael enjoys football, music and games. He is an established member of St. Catherine’s Church, Dublin, where he plays drums with the worship team and regularly teaches Sunday school. He is married to Helena, and they have three children.
Libby Sweetman - Accounts and Administration Officer
Accounts and Administration Officer/ Personal Assistant to C.E.O.
Libby joined Tearfund Ireland as Accounts & Administration Officer in 2013. She is also personal assistant to the CEO. She is a full member of Accounting Technicians Ireland (M.I.A.T.I.) and is furthering her Accounting & Finance education with Dublin Business School.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Libby values being part of Tearfund Ireland’s vision to “transform the lives of the most marginalised through partnerships that mobilise, empower and build capacity.”
She is wife to Jeffrey, mum to Rudie, Runako and Joley and they are part of the Christian family.
Gemma Kelly - Churches Communications Executive
Churches Communications Executive
Gemma is the Churches Communications Executive for Tearfund Ireland with a particular emphasis on working with the Emerging Generation. She worked with the HSE Dublin South City Family Support Service for six years in the area of poverty alleviation and injustice in inner city Dublin. Before joining the Churches Communications team Gemma undertook a voluntary internship in Advocacy with Tearfund.
Gemma has a MSc in Equality Studies and is currently undertaking an MA in Development Studies in Kimmage Development Studies Centre. She attends Holy Trinity Church in Rathmines.
Chrissie Balfoort - Accounts and Administration Officer
Accounts and Administration Officer
Chrissie joined Tearfund Ireland in October 2011 as Accounts and Administration Officer and assists in finance and administrative duties.
Chrissie lives in Stamullen, Meath and attends Swords Baptist Church with her husband Hans and and their two children, Josh and Rachel. They are originally from Zimbabwe.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.