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. You can reach Tanya at or on +353 1 860 5569.

Julie Ahern - Legal and Policy Manager

Julie joined the Children's Rights Alliance in September 2013 and is the Legal and Policy manager. Prior to this she has worked in various roles across the Alliance and led the establishment of the Access to Justice Initiative and projects such as the annual Report Card and the Children’s Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Prior to joining the Alliance she worked on the children's rights referendum campaign with the ISPCC and NASC (The Irish Immigrant Support Centre). Julie is a qualified barrister having been called in 2018. She holds a BL from the Honourable Society of King's Inns, a BCL (Clinical)(Hons) and an LLM in Child and Family Law both from University College Cork. Julie sits on the board of management of Ballyfermot Star and is a long-time volunteer with Childline. You can reach Julie at or on +353 1 860 5563. 

Emma Archbold -  Campaign Lead - Online Safety

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. You can reach Emma at or on +353 1 860 5561.

Saoirse Brady - Head of Legal, Policy and Public Affairs 

Saoirse joined the Alliance in August 2016. Prior to taking up the role, 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. You can reach Saoirse at or on +353 1 860 5570.

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. You can reach Theresa at or on +353 1 860 5573.

Naomi Feely - Senior Research and Policy Officer

Naomi Feely joined the Children’s Rights Alliance in May 2021. Naomi is an experienced social researcher and policy analyst with over 15 years experience working in the public, private and community and voluntary sectors in Ireland. During this time she worked for a number of national not-for-profit organisations including Barnardos and Start Strong. Naomi holds a BA in Public Administration and an MA in Sociology both from the University of Limerick, along with a second MA in Political and Public Communications from Dublin City University. You can reach Naomi on or on +353 1 8605565. 

Rachael Kenny - Administrative Assistant

Rachael Kenny jointed the Children’s Rights Alliance in 2021. She graduated from the National College of Art and Design with a BA (Hons) in Visual Culture, focusing in her final year on cultural policy. She has a passion for social change and is currently studying the MSc Public Policy at DCU. Her areas of focus in her master's degree are climate change and EU migration law and policy, having completed a project in her first year around the education of children in direct provision during the COVID 19 pandemic. She has over 8 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors in Ireland. Her most recent positions were held at IDG Direct working in data assurance and the Irish Museum of Modern Art working in the learning and engagement department. She has experience volunteering in poverty, mental health, juvenile sports, migration, and global development. Most recently, with STAND and Youth and Education Service for Refugees and Migrants.

Ciara Landy - Legal Information Officer

Ciara Landy joined the Children’s Rights Alliance as its Legal Information Officer in 2021. Prior to joining the Alliance, Ciara worked in communications and relationship management at IDA Ireland, having been recruited to the IDA as part of its 2018 Graduate Programme. Ciara has provided research support for Justice For Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and the Clann Project, organisations which advocate for redress for victims and survivors of human rights violations in Ireland’s twentieth century institutional framework. Ciara holds a Bachelor of Civil Law from University College Dublin where she was admitted to UCD’s Sutherland School of Law as an Entrance Scholar. She was called to the Bar of Ireland in July 2021, receiving The Honorable Society of King’s Inns Exhibition Prize for the second highest grade in the Degree of Barrister-at-Law. Ciara has a strong interest in human rights education, child and adolescent mental health policy and redress for ‘historic’ institutional abuse in Ireland. 

Edel McDevitt - Membership Officer

Edel joined the Children’s Rights Alliance in late 2019 bringing with her experience from both the not for profit and the corporate world. Having previously worked with the Irish Cancer Society and Goal International, Edel has worked with fundraising teams and volunteers from all over Ireland. 

 Campaigns included Daffodil Day, Relay For Life, Pink Ribbon Day and Jersey Day. Edel also spent time working overseas with Goal in Sierra Leone, Malawi and India. Edel is passionate about children’s rights, in particular with regard to mental health, disability, inclusion and education. If you would like to join the Children's Rights Alliance as a member, please contact Edel at or on +353 1 8605564.

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. You can reach Emma at or on +353 1 8605568.


Mary Nicholson – Social Policy Analyst 

Mary joined the Children's Rights Alliance in January 2020 and is a Social Policy Analyst leading on Child Poverty and Early Years. Mary has over 20 years' experience working in the area of child protection and children's rights in both service provision and policy/advocacy. Mary was most recently a Senior Manager in the Daughters of Charity Child and Family Service with repsonsibility for a number of Family Centres, Assessment Centres and a Domestic Vioence Service. Prior to this, Mary worked in the ISPCC in a number of roles, including Head of Policy and Public Affairs. You can contact Mary at or on +353 1 8605566.

Steven Silke - Communications and Events Assistant

Steven joined the Children's Rights Alliance in July 2019. He has completed his final year of studies in Civil Law in NUIG. Since joining the Alliance, Steven has assisted in a wide variety of projects including the Know Your Rights campaign, Report Card 2020 and the Access to Justice programme. He has played a key role in ensuring that events held by the Alliance have worked successfully in a new online environment. You can contact Steven at or on +353 1 8605562.