Paul Gilligan - Chairperson
Paul Gilligan is a clinical psychologist and Chief Executive of St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, the largest independent provider of mental health care in Ireland. He is an internationally recognised children’s rights and child protection advocate and provides consultancy services to a number of child protection organisations in Ireland and Europe.
He is former Vice-Chairman of the National Children’s Advisory Council and the Children’s Rights Alliance. He is also former President of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Before taking up his current post with St. Patrick’s, he was Chief Executive of the ISPCC. He is the author of “Keeping Your Child Safe” and “Raising Emotionally Healthy Children” and is a regular contributor to T.V., radio and print media. He is a Fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland and an Adjunct Assistant Professor Trinity College Dublin.
Sheila Nunan - Chairperson
Sheila Nunan has extensive experience in civil society organisations. She served as General Secretary of primary teachers’ union, INTO, and as President of ICTU. She was part of the negotiating team on all national Public Service Pay Agreements between 2010-2019. She is a member of the Governing Body of Maynooth University and the National College of Ireland. Sheila is also a Director and Chair of Comhar Linn INTO Credit Union. Sheila is a former primary teacher and Principal and is a graduate of UCD and St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra.
Sheila joined Early Childhood Ireland’s Audit & Risk Committee in September 2021 as an external member and subsequently became a member of the Board in February 2022.
Pádraig Fleming has joined the Board as an independent director. Pádraig has experience in various industries in the private and public sector with a strong national presence and recognised brands. He was instrumental in developing the Irish retail and wholesale energy markets and designing the Single Electricity Market between Ireland and Northern Ireland. He has contributed to high profile strategic projects, such as the restructuring of a national utilities, with expertise in negotiation, due diligence, regulation, stakeholder engagement and has also acted as an advisor to executive management team overseas.
Pádraig has attained the Directors Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Engineer. He holds an MBA with Henley Management College, Masters of Arts with Trinity College Dublin and a Batchelor of Science with Trinity College Dublin.
An experienced board director and business leader who is a highly skilled with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. These include Green Effects Investments plc, Arts Council, European Movement Ireland, Office of Government Procurement, Health Insurance Authority, Chambers of Commerce Ireland, Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation, Irish College Leuven , as well as having serving on many board sub committees (Audit, Risk, Finance, Remuneration and Development). Founded one of Ireland’s leading accountancy practices.
An energetic, skilled and highly motivated business leader with a track record of success in reviewing and setting challenging strategic direction in a wide range of both commercial and not for profits entities. Served as President of Chambers of Commerce Ireland, the country’s largest business membership organisation, with member chambers representing businesses throughout the island of Ireland. A strong advocate of ensuring that best practice and good corporate governance exist within the boardroom and ensuring relevant structures within businesses to facilitate adoption of organizational values throughout.
Providing consultancy and strategic advisory services to many membership organisations, he brings a unique combination of business/accountancy knowledge and a deep knowledge of the sector to the provision of solutions for many membership organisations. Dónall has been responsible for the introduction of corporate governance within many such organisations, development of business goals, introduction of robust financial processes, strategic development and implementation of fundraising/development income plans and individual mentoring, as required.
Currently, a member of Audit & Risk Committee of National Digital Research Centre, Cardiff University, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (London), Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London), Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman (Belfast), etc.
Sharon Skehill is a Lecturer in the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Education in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and is currently studying for a PhD in Education. Sharon is also a pre-school teacher and set up her own preschool, Newtown Kids’ Club in Galway in 2004. This ongoing practical experience working with children aged 0-12 years, as well as their families and the staff team, informs her teaching and research work in the early years.
Liz Jackson comes to the Board of Early Childhood Ireland with many years’ experience of working in early years care and education. She has been working with Tallaght Childcare Company Ltd. since 2003 and is currently its General Manager. In this role, she is responsible for the management, co-ordination and development of Tallaght Childcare Centre, Millbrook and Tallaght Childcare, and Fettercairn as quality sustainable community childcare businesses.
Lee Herlihy is an early childhood educator with over 20 years’ experience running an ECEC service, incorporating Montessori and Aistear. She is experienced in multi-cultural and anti-bias education as well as inclusive, indoor-outdoor provision. Lee is committed to the provision of high-quality learning experiences for children and the ongoing advancement of the ECEC sector, on both a local and national level.
Dr Harold Hislop
Dr Harold Hislop is Adjunct Professor in the School of Policy and Practice at Dublin City University’s Institute of Education in Ireland. Harold retired from the post of Chief Inspector at the Department of Education in Ireland in October 2022. While Chief Inspector, he led a series of reforms in the Inspectorate which included the extension of its work to the early learning and care sector.
Harold is currently Chair of the Governing Board of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He is a member of the Education Reform Delivery Board established by the Scottish Government to oversee the establishment of a new schools Inspectorate in Scotland and Chair of the Senior Cycle Redevelopment Programme Delivery Board established by the Minister for Education In Ireland.
Harold was a teacher, school principal and a university lecturer in the School of Education at Trinity College, Dublin, prior to joining the staff of Ireland’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in the 1990s. He also served as the Secretary of one of Ireland’s school management authorities, before moving to the Inspectorate in 1998. He was appointed as Chief Inspector and a member of the Management Board of the Department of Education in 2010. Harold led the Inspectorate’s work in supporting educational policy development within the Department, advising officials and Ministers in areas such as curriculum and assessment policy, special education policy and teacher education policy.