Meet ATD Ireland’s Board of Management at the occasion of Irish Trustees’ Week

Ireland’s second Trustees’ Week takes place from Monday Nov 12th to Friday Nov 16th.

It aims to recognise and celebrate the key role which volunteer charity trustees play in the governance and leadership of charities across Ireland. It also seeks to encourage more people to become trustees and to highlight the importance of good governance of boards, promote the need for a thorough knowledge of trustees’ roles and responsibilities, education and upskilling of trustees.

ATD volunteers and staff members from the ATD International volunteer corps are happy to mark the week, being organised by the Charities Regulator, The Wheel, Charities Institute Ireland, Dóchas, the Carmichael Centre, Boardmatch Ireland and Volunteer Ireland.

By celebrating Trustees’ Week we want thank our trustees for the key role which they play in the governance and administration of ATD Ireland. To discuss with many members and friends of ATD with the hope that new trustees may come forward in the future. Each year at our AGM in May, the board welcomes new directors!

At the occasion of the second Irish Trustees’ Week, meet our Board!

Laoise Talty
I am currently working in a Family Hub as a Housing Case Worker supporting families experiencing homelessness. I started to get to know ATD as an intern in September 2016 after finishing my Masters. After completing a three month intern programme, I was happy to stay on for a year to get to know more about the work of ATD. During my year at ATD I was part of the ‘Stories of Change’ project where we supported people to write about their lives. This was a brilliant project which resulted in compiling the book ‘If only you knew’, a collection of short stories. While at ATD I got to meet families who had been through great hardships. Their strength and determination to constantly work towards a better life for themselves and their families is one of the things that has encouraged me to pursue a career in social care and most importantly supporting families.

Gail Seekamp (Chairperson)
Originally a journalist, who started her career in Mexico, I currently work in the not-for-profit sector after fifteen years as a public servant. A life-long learner, I commit to giving my best to each charity that I contribute to, including ATD Ireland.  That includes upholding principles of good Governance.  I have been a volunteer for 25 years and have enjoyed each role, be it environmental work, adult literacy, or information/media. I have been involved with ATD Ireland since 2015, volunteering on projects that aim to give a voice to people who suffer poverty and exclusion, recognise their talents and share their stories with society as a whole. I was originally drawn by ATD’s global perspective. Thanks to my involvement, I have met people from across the world who are committed to social justice. I currently also serve on ATD Fourth World’s international board as delegate from Ireland.

Elaine Phelan
I am a social care worker of 20 years experience, working with people from diverse social backgrounds and primarily in homelessness and housing based projects. Having studied a Masters in Social Policy in 2005, I co-authored an article published in the journal Critical Social Policy on the governance of homelessness in Dublin. Coming across ATD Ireland over 10 years ago, I am happy to have become one of their first employees from January 2016 to March 2017. I continue to be involved in various regular ATD activities, including the uplifting singing group. I remain constantly challenged and warmed by the heart, values and action of ATD Ireland and ATD abroad in the alleviation of hardship and poverty.

Marie Williams
I’m  the director of the Dominican Justice Office, where I coordinate a peer-support project and network for women seeking asylum in Ireland and who live in the Direct Provision system. I hope my extensive experience in community development and project management in the area of intercultural integration, human rights and anti-racism supports the work of ATD Ireland. I’m passionate about Restorative Justice, Mediation and Conflict Intervention, and for over seven years was a Board member of Facing Forward, a voluntary organisation that promotes restorative practices, with a focus on serious crime. During this time, I worked as researcher for the report ‘Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities?’, a joint initiative between UCD and Facing Forward.

Isabelle Pypaert Perrin
I’m native of Belgium. I joined the ATD International Volunteer Corps in 1981 and have since worked in many different countries in addition to Belgium. I helped build ATD local projects in a number of different cultural contexts in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Particularly formative for me was the opportunity to be in ATD founder Joseph Wresinski’s personal assistants team for several years. Through my work with him, I saw how ATD’s people-centred work grows, person by person. I first joined the ATD International Leadership Team in 2008 and in 2012 I was asked by dedicated Committee of members of ATD to take the role of International Director General.

Juliette Péchenart
I am a French national who has been living and working in Ireland for nearly forty years. I retired from Dublin City University in September 2017 where I lectured in French and Business Ethics through French and chaired various BA’s. I started volunteering with ATD Ireland in 2015 as I was already familiar with the meaningful work of ATD in France. I’m inspired and humbled by the people I meet through ATD Ireland. In 2017 I was involved in the ‘If only you knew – Stories of change’ project. This is such a powerful testimony of courage, dignity and hope in the face of exclusion and adversity. It was also a great achievement for me and many other to prepare and edit “Voices for Dignity” throughout 2018.

Gerald Doherty 
I have been involved with ATD International in Ireland since 2001, and I joined ATD’s Board in 2009 when the charity ATD Ireland was eventually registered in Dublin. Originally a biochemist, I became increasingly interested in social justice issues from the mid-1980s. I spent 15 years in the Dublin Simon Community as a part-time and full-time volunteer. In 1994 I gave up biochemistry to become a community worker. Since then, most of my work has been in the Dublin 1 area. I believe very strongly that we need to work towards economic and social equality, and that we have to collectively change how we live if we want to stay on this planet. I think the first step in all of this is to deepen democracy: that means always looking for new ways to give people a say in the decisions that affect them.

Hugh Frazer
I spent most of my career working to combat poverty and social exclusion and promote community development. I’m really passionate about achieving a more inclusive, just, sustainable and equal society. I started as a community worker in Belfast, later I became director of both the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust and the Combat Poverty Agency. Today I serve as an expert in the European Commission and coordinator of EU-wide networks of experts on poverty and social policy. I have written extensively about poverty, community development and community relations and I train students as adjunct professor in Maynooth University. In my spare time (when I find it) I paint.


Maurice Hurley

I was a Primary Teacher in various schools and roles in Dublin, Meath and Wexford and also a Principal Teacher in Le Chéile ETNS and Tyrrelstown ETNS. I am currently working (in voluntary capacity) as National Coordinator of Global Citizenship School which supports primary schools in taking justice, equality and sustainability action from a Human Rights perspective and also a Director of Igwe Village Primary School in Benue State, Nigeria and a Friend of ATD Ireland. I was formerly Co-Chairperson of ITM (Irish Traveller Movement) Education Group and also Chair of BAI (Burma Action Ireland). I was also active @ INTO teacher union annual Congresses on issues of disadvantage, minority rights, human rights and international justice. I am a former hurler and footballer and currently a social cyclist, tennis player, golfer and kayaker and facilitator or Sing Along Circles.