Board Members


The Children’s Rights Alliance is governed by a voluntary board of directors mostly elected from the membership. Our current Board members are:

Mary Lawlor (Co-opted) - Chairperson

Mary Lawlor is the Chair of the Children’s Rights Alliance. Mary has a background of over 35 years’ experience in human rights. She set up Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders - in 2001 and is a current Board member. Front Line Defenders concentrates all its activities on human rights defenders at risk who work non-violently for the rights of others as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prior to Front Line, Mary was Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International from 1988-2000. She became a Board member in 1975 and was elected Chair from 1983 to 1987. She has wide experience of developing and sustaining a human rights organisation. Mary has a BA in Psychology and Philosophy and post graduate degrees in Montessori Teaching and Personnel Management. In 2014 she was awarded the French insignia of Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur and an honorary degree of Doctor in Laws from Trinity College Dublin. In 2016 she was awarded the Inaugural Franco German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Mary is currently Adjunct Professor for Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility at the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin. 

Colm Bryson (Co-opted) - Treasurer

Colm Bryson is Treasurer of the Children’s Rights Alliance. Colm joined the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of the Alliance as an independent committee member in November 2015 and was then co-opted on to the Board and to the position of Treasurer in February 2018. Colm is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and holds a Bachelor of Business & Legal Studies degree from UCD. He has been the Head of Finance at IPB Insurance since May 2012. He is involved with coaching of underage GAA and rugby teams and is also the Treasurer of the Belvedere College Past Pupils Union.

Tom Maher (Nominating Organisation: St. Patrick's Mental Health Services) - Vice-Chair

Tom Maher is currently employed as the Director of Services at St. Patrick's Mental Health Services. This service comprises a mental health service that includes 3 Approved Centres, a network of community mental health clinics and a Wellness and Recovery Centre that includes extensive day services. The role includes responsibility for the development of and efficient delivery of all clinical services, funding, clinical governance and quality. These services are delivered by approximately 360 clinicians including social work, nursing, medicine, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, psychotherapeutic staff and the associated administrative staff necessary for such delivery. The services in SPMHS are provided by multi-disciplinary teams and a range of care programmes (including Anxiety Programme, Eating Disorder Programme, Depression Recovery Programme, Bipolar Affective Disorder Programme, Young Adult Programme, Addictions Programme, Dual Diagnosis Programme, Mental Health Care of Later Life, Psychosis Recovery Programme, Living through Distress and Radical Openness Programmes, Wellness and Recovery Action Planning(WRAP) Programme). Prior to this post he worked for 24 years as a nurse in a variety of clinical, administrative and educative roles.

Maureen Dillon (Nominating Organisation: Irish Girl Guides)

Maureen works on a weekly basis as a volunteer in her local Irish Girl Guides unit in Kells Co. Meath. She has held numerous positions within the Irish Girl Guides including President, assistant Chief, Board Chairman of the Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan region and Chairman of Programme and Training.


Mark O'Connor (Nominating Organisation: Inclusion Ireland)

Mark works as Community Engagement Manager for Inclusion Ireland the National Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Here he has responsibility for advocacy and public engagement in Inclusion Ireland. Mark has worked across a number of policy campaigns to influence policy and legislative development on children’s rights such as access to speech therapy, educational supports, access to education, poverty and access to mental health services. 

Katie Mannion (Nominating Organisation: Immigrant Council of Ireland)

Katie Mannion is a practising solicitor with the Immigrant Council of Ireland who has experience of advocating and campaigning for the rights of children. She has a particular interest in representing children experiencing a vulnerable time in their lives and is currently conducting research on the experience of child migration in Ireland. Previously, Katie was Legal Research and Policy Manager at ‘Campaign for Children’, a civil society campaign to promote a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum on children’s rights. She held the position of Human Rights Officer on the Mental Health team at Amnesty International Ireland, which then coordinated the Children’s Mental Health Coalition. She holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law where her thesis focused on the protection measures required to prevent separated children from becoming missing children. Katie has also contributed to a legal text-book on “Migrant ch)ildren, child refugees and asylum-seekers, separated children and trafficked children”.

June Tinsley (Nominating Organisation: Barnardos)

June joined Barnardos in 2005 and now has over 15 years working in policy, lobbying and campaigns all aimed at influencing change in national policies, legislation and practice. She has responsibility for Advocacy and Supporter Engagement leading the implementation of policy development and advocacy campaigns designed to improve the outcomes for children. She has worked across a range of campaigns spanning themes of poverty, school costs, health and child protection using different tools and strategies to achieve core objectives. She is a current Board member of Treoir. She holds a Masters in Social Policy.


Staff members