The Children’s Rights Alliance staff is based at our office in Dublin:

Tanya Ward - Chief Executive

Tanya Ward is the Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance since 2012. Previously, she was the Deputy Director at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) where she worked for eight years. She has also worked with the Irish Centre for Migration Studies, the Irish Refugee Council, the Curriculum Development Unit and the City of Dublin VEC. A former lecturer in human rights on the MPhil in Ethnic and Racial Studies, TCD and the Masters in Equality Studies in the UCD School for Social Justice, she is a former board member with Campaign for Children and played a major role in the children’s referendum of 2012. She was also a former Vice President for the International Federation of Human Rights (2008-2011). Tanya has graduate and post-graduate degrees from UCC and a LLM in Human Rights from Queens University Belfast as well as a Certificate in Managing Community and Voluntary Organisations from the National College of Ireland. She has a keen interest in international human rights monitoring and lectures widely on this topic and has authored several reports on a wide range of issues including garda, judicial and criminal justice reform, equality law, education, anti-racism, separated children and children’s rights.  

Tanya is currently the Chair of the National Advisory Council for the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People. She is also a board member of the Law Centre for Children and Young People Board and a member of the Oversight Board for the Childcare Law Reporting Project.

Julie Ahern - Access to Justice Manager

Julie joined the Children's Rights Alliance in September 2013 and leads our new Access to Justice Initiative having worked in various roles across the Alliance including as Membership and Public Affairs Officer and as Legal and Policy Assistant. Prior to joining the Alliance she worked on the children's rights referendum campaign with the ISPCC, as an intern with the Legal Aid Board in Cork and NASC (The Irish Immigrant Support Centre). Julie is a qualified barrister having been called in 2018. She holds a BL from the Honorable Society of King's Inns, a BCL (Clinical)(Hons) and an LLM in Child and Family Law both from University College Cork. Passionate about hearing the voices of children, Julie is also a long-time volunteer with Childline.

Emma Archbold -  Communications and Membership Officer

Emma joined the Children’s Rights Alliance after working for over two years as an Account Manager at Persuasion Republic, a communications and social marketing agency that works exclusively with not for profits. She has assisted in local and national public awareness, advocacy and media campaigns and the development of communication strategies for leading not for profits in the sector. Emma holds a BA in English Studies (Trinity College Dublin) and a MSc in Politics and Communication (London School of Economics) and last year completed a Certificate in Public Relations with the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. Working closely with children’s charities over the past two years, Emma developed a keen interest in children’s rights in particular around issues of education, poverty and mental health. This year she was also selected as one of Ireland’s Youth Ambassadors for the One Campaign. 

Saoirse Brady - Legal and Policy Director

Saoirse joined the Alliance in August 2016. Prior to taking up the role of Legal and Policy Director she held positions in a number of leading rights organisations including the Alliance, the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) and Front Line Defenders and was an independent consultant for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, CORU and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Early in her career she interned with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and was a paralegal with the Ryan Commission. Saoirse studied law at UCD and the University of Padova and holds a Masters Degree in European Studies from the Dublin European Institute. In 2014, she completed a professional fellowship sponsored by the US State Department and Boston College with a particular focus on juvenile justice. She is the former Chair of the Board of EQUATE.

Theresa Burke - Head of Governance and Finance

Theresa joined the Children Rights Alliance in April 2018 as Head of Governance and Finance with approximately 15 years’ experience in finance. Theresa qualified with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in 2005, becoming a fellow in 2010. She has worked as audit manager in accountancy practice gaining extensive experience across many areas in the public and private sector dealing with small, medium and large organisations. She brings significant experience in the charity sector to the role, with up to date knowledge of charity reporting requirements including Financial Reporting Standard 102 Statement of Recommended Practice.


Patricia Hoey - Office and Finance Manager

Patricia joined the Children's Rights Alliance in January 2014, with approximately 20 years’ administrative, financial and HR experience. Patricia has worked for small, medium and multi-national sized organisations in a variety of sectors, including Financial, Manufacturing and Professional service industries. She brings excellent experience to the role of Office & Finance Manager in the Children's Rights Alliance.


Emma McKinley – Head of Communications and Development 

Emma joined the Children's Rights Alliance in 2008 and loves working in her communications and development role. She has a BA (hons.) in Philosophy and Classical Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Globalisation from DCU. She also has Certificates in Child Law (Law Society), Constitutional Law (DIT) and in Non-Profit Leadership and Management (National College of Ireland). She was external expert for the European Economic and Social Committee for an opinion on preventing child sexual abuse. Previously, Emma was Communications Officer at the ISPCC where she worked on all campaign and advocacy initiatives covering many areas of children’s rights.


Edel Quinn - Legal Research and Public Policy Manager

Edel joined the Children’s Rights Alliance in May 2012. She brings a decade of experience working in the NGO, public and private sectors, offering human rights law and policy expertise with organisations including the Free Legal Advice Centres, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the NGO Alliance Against Racism. She is a board member of the Youth Advocates Programme – Ireland. At the Alliance, she works on the analysis and development of policy and legislative positions offering solutions-focused recommendations to decision-makers in consultation with members and stakeholders. She leads the development of the Alliance’s flagships publications and represents the Alliance at key national, European and international forums. Having worked in the tech sector in Asia-Pacific, Edel has also lectured at the National University of Ireland, Galway on the EU and women’s rights, was an international visiting scholar at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota and interned at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Edel is a qualified attorney for the state of New York and she attained her Bachelors of Civil Law and German degree at University College Cork and her LLM in Human Rights at the University of Nottingham.