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Board of Directors

Joan O’Shaughnessy (Chairman)

Joan O’Shaughnessy has been a leader and representative in the service industry for the past 39 years. She was formerly CEO of Aramark Ireland, a position she held for 12 years, until her retirement in June 2012. During that time, she strengthened the Aramark organisation through mergers and acquisitions to become one of Irelands largest American multinational companies, employing more than 4,000 staff across Ireland. Presently, Joan is a business mentor to emerging companies and young entrepreneurs. She is a member of the Institute of Directors, Irish Hospitality Institute and Skål Ireland.

Christopher Brooke (Vice-Chair)

Christopher Brooke has been involved in the security industry for many years, ten of which were as a security advisor with the Royal Office in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. In 1990, he returned to Northern Ireland to develop Galgorm Castle Estate, which has been home to the Northern Ireland Open golf tournament since 2012. The estate currently attracts more than 240,000 visitors a year and also incorporates a garden centre, business parks and a conference and events facility. Christopher's other interests include the development of tourist accommodation and associated facilities on the Ashbrooke and Colebrooke estates. He is a partner in SB Vantage (a company providing commercial and security advice for companies and individuals operating in Oman and Somalia), a Deputy Lieutenant for County Antrim and a Vice President of the RNLI.
 

Cllr Trevor Clarke

Trevor Clarke is a hospitality management graduate from the University of Ulster. He has worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years, 20 of which have been spent in a number of roles at the Magherabuoy Hotel in Portrush, most recently as a partner-operator. Trevor was a member of the Portrush Regeneration Group from 2010 until 2014, when he was elected to the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. He takes a keen interest in the council's role in tourism development on the Causeway Coast and the industry's potential to drive regeneration, economic growth and prosperity. Trevor is a member of Coleraine's Harbour Commission and is a representative on The Honourable The Irish Society's local advisory committee.
 

Harry Connolly

Harry Connolly is the Executive Director of Fáilte Feirste Thiar, a local tourism development agency tasked with developing West Belfast's tourism offering and building sustainable tourism infrastructure. Before working in tourism development, Harry worked for a number of years in youth, sport and community development across the greater Belfast area. He is the former Vice Chairperson of the West Belfast District Policing & Community Safety Partnership (DPCSP). Harry is currently a Director of Visit Belfast, the public/private body tasked with marketing Belfast as a tourism destination. Harry has been a board member of Féile an Phobail, Ireland's largest community arts festival, for a number of years and is currently its Treasurer. Under Harry’s leadership, West Belfast tourism has become known as a model of effective practice, in terms of developing tourism models which encourage job creation and sustainability at a local level, ensuring local citizens benefit from an increase in tourism footfall. 
 

Graham Keddie

Graham Keddie is the Managing Director of Belfast International Airport. He has been in the aviation industry for over 30 years, in airline, airport and ground handler roles. Graham has worked in 11 different countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to joining the aviation industry, Graham was a solicitor, admitted in Scotland. He is also a director of the Airport Operators Association.


 

John McGrillen

John McGrillen is the Chief Executive of Tourism NI, Northern Ireland's tourism development authority. He was appointed to the post in July 2015, following a lengthy career in economic development and local government. Prior to his appointment to Tourism NI, he was Director of Development at Belfast City Council, where he was responsible for economic development, regeneration and tourism within the city. From 1999 to 2010, he was Chief Executive at Down District Council. He began his career as an aerospace engineer before heading up IDB Northern Ireland's operations in Düsseldorf, Germany, and subsequently taking over as Chief Executive at NI-CO, an international development consultancy business based in Belfast. He has been a Governor of the Belfast Metropolitan College since 2012.
 

David O’Brien

David O’Brien was appointed Chief Commercial Officer of Ryanair in January 2014, having previously served as Director of Flight & Ground Operations from December 2002. A graduate of the Irish Military College, David followed a military career with positions in the airport sector and agribusiness in the Middle East, Russia and Asia.



 

Michael O'Sullivan

Michael O’Sullivan is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and a full member of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (MIEMA). He holds qualifications in science, engineering and law and has worked as project director on major multidisciplinary conservation and infrastructural environmental management projects throughout Ireland over the past 30 years. Michael has provided environmental and planning advice for industry and government alike.
 

Kathryn Thomson

Kathryn Thomson has been Chief Executive of National Museums NI since March 2016. Immediately prior to that, Kathryn spent 11 years as the Chief Operating Officer at Tourism NI. Kathryn holds a B.Com. (Hons) degree in Business Studies from the University of Edinburgh, completed her accountancy training at PwC and has a professional qualification as a chartered accountant with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). In addition, Kathryn holds a public appointment as a Director of the Strategic Investment Board and is a Non Executive Director for Visit Belfast. She is also a director and trustee on the board of two charities – the Simon Community (since October 2010) and Open House Festival (since December 2014).

Trevor White

Trevor White is the Director of the Little Museum of Dublin and City of a Thousand Welcomes. Born in 1972, he founded The Dubliner magazine and edited Ireland’s bestselling restaurant guide, The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants, for many years.

 

Tourism Ireland Board Member Designates

Nóirin Hegarty

Nóirín Hegarty is Vice President, Digital Content and Operations Director, Ireland with Lonely Planet, the world's leading travel media company. As a member of the senior leadership team, she has devised and launched a new digital content strategy for the business and manages teams based in Nashville, New York, London and Dublin. She joined the business in London, where she led a team that managed over 250 writers in 46 countries. She moved back to Dublin in 2015 to open Lonely Planet Global Limited, one of nine Lonely Planet offices globally, where she established a daily travel news arm for the business. Previously, she was Editor of the Sunday Tribune, an award-winning Irish national newspaper; and Editor of independent.ie, Ireland's leading news website.


 

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is the Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority. Paul leads Fáilte Ireland as it builds on the success of brands and initiatives including the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. He sets the strategic direction for Fáilte Ireland to significantly shape the future development of the tourism industry; and the key priorities are driving balanced and sustainable regional and seasonal growth to best generate increased employment and an even bigger contribution to the national economy. Paul was appointed to the post in February 2017 and brings extensive management and marketing leadership experience following a lengthy career in marketing. He is a native of Wexford and a commerce graduate from University College Dublin. Prior to his appointment, he started his career with Procter & Gamble UK; Paul then went on to hold senior executive positions with Diageo Ireland, Aviva and the UCD Smurfit Business School. During his career, he was also involved in the development of many of the most iconic and best-known Irish and international marketing campaigns.