NALA Board

NALA’s Board meets seven times a year and is made up of the following members:

Margaret Kelly, Chairperson

Margaret Kelly retired from the Department of Education and Skills in 2012. Her work there included responsibility for policy, funding and monitoring of programmes aided under the European Social Fund, (1989 -1998), Further and Adult Education, (1998-2003) and more recently, curriculum policy and developments at first and second level education. During the 1990s and up to 2003 Margaret was the Principal Officer with responsibility for  a major expansion of Further Education and Training – VTOS, Youthreach, PLC and adult literacy provision, and the introduction of the Back to Education Initiative, the Adult Educational Guidance  Service and the appointment of Community Education Facilitators. She was the education representative on various inter-Departmental Committees on tacking poverty and unemployment, homelessness, childcare, and meeting skills needs.

Olive Phelan, Vice Chairperson

Olive Phelan  returned to adult education in 2007 when she attended classes in Jobstown in Tallaght. In 2009 she took part in NALA’s Written Off TV series. Olive has also been a member of NALA’s student subcommittee.

Pat Ayton, Honorary Secretary

Pat Ayton has been involved in adult literacy since 1980 when she completed tutor training with the City of Dublin Adult Literacy Service. She worked as a volunteer tutor and later as a group tutor, delivering classes in literacy and numeracy in Colaiste Dhulaigh , Coolock. In May 1991 Pat was appointed Adult Literacy Organiser on a fulltime basis, with responsibility for adult literacy provision for the greater Coolock/Darndale area. She continued in that role until November 2016, when she took early retirement from the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), in order to pursue other things. Pat holds a BSc in Education and Training and an MSc in Education and Training Management from DCU. Pat has lectured on the Education and Training degree programme in DCU. She has been committed to adult literacy and improving services offered to adults returning to education in order to improve their skills and their life chances for 36 years. On retirement her passion has not waned at all and it is for that reason that she continues to be actively involved in NALA.

Members of the Board

Ciaran Casey

Ciaran Casey is the Head of Digital Channels at AIB where he has responsibility for Mobile and Internet Banking, iBusiness Banking and Group Websites. Prior to this he held a number of roles across the Products and Propositions functions with his most recent previous role being Group Head of Deposit & Current Account Products. Ciaran is a Chartered Banker and CFA charterholder. Ciaran joined the Board of NALA in March 2020.

Anna Tuohy Halligan

Anna Tuohy Halligan has been a member of Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB) for 17 years and a member of NALA for four years. For the past 12 years she has been a Community Development Worker in a Family Resource Centre. The centre is in the middle of a Local Authority Housing Estate and Anna’s role is to provide help and support to residents and organise training and education. The centre enables people to be more self sufficient and gain self-esteem.  She is also Secretary to her local Credit Union and Chair of the Board of Management of her local ETB school.

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is an Adult Literacy Organiser in Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB). He has previously worked as as a literacy, numeracy, computer and ESOL tutor. He has liaised on various projects with NALA over the years and has frequently given workshops at NALA conferences. He has also helped with NALA’s Student Days and helped to organise GRETB and NALA radio advertisements featuring local learners. He was also involved in literacy and numeracy research projects with NALA and on Erasmus+. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law and Economics from National University of Ireland Galway, a postgraduate diploma in post-primary education from Hibernia College, Dublin and a Certificate in English Language Teaching. He has also completed literacy modules at Waterford Institute of Technology. He wishes to see more collaboration between NALA and the ETBs and is looking forward to the opportunity to foster further co-operation through his role on NALA Board.

Lee Mitchell

Lee Mitchell is a student at Bray adult learning centre. Lee is also on NALA’s student subcommittee and he has helped raise awareness of adult literacy at numerous events over the last few years including our student days and at the ploughing championships.

Maria O'Gorman

Maria O’Gorman is from Listowel in County Kerry. For many years she worked as an accountant for a manufacturing company. She does a lot of work in the adult education sector and represents adult learners on a variety of committees and she is on the board of Kerry ETB. Maria is also on the board of Irish Rural Link, which is the national network representing rural communities.

Gwen Redmond

Gwen Redmond volunteered as an adult literacy tutor in the CDETB Adult Education Service in Crumlin in 2003 and since then has been involved with the service as a Tutor, Tutor Trainer and Adult literacy Organiser. She has a degree in Psychology, and a Higher Diploma and a Masters in Adult and Community Education. She has an interest in policy making and recently undertook a Professional Certificate in Evidence Based Policy Making in UCD and currently sits on the NALA sub-committee for policy making. Gwen is interested in the Capabilities Approach, advocated in the Literacy for Life document by NALA, and sees the new Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Skills strategy as an opportunity to integrate this approach. Gwen is also an executive member of the Adult Literacy Organisers’ Association (ALOA) and has a keen interest in advocating for the profession itself.

Hazel Cryan

Hazel is a chartered accountant and she is currently a Director in KPMG’s Corporate Finance practice, which specialises in advising on transactions of national and international significance. She holds a Business degree and a Masters in Accounting from UCD. She has been a guest speaker at many conferences and events including Going for Growth, National Digital Week and Cork IT’s cryptocurrency forum. She was also a judge and mentor for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Michael Duffy

Michael is a literacy student from Cavan and Monaghan ETB. He is also chairperson of NALA’s student subcommittee. Michael has featured in many media interviews and taken part in many events to raise awareness about adult literacy.

Sign up to be kept up to date on our latest campaigns.