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Board of Trustees

Denis O'BrienDenis O'Brien
Denis O'Brien is Chairman of the Digicel Group, one of the fastest growing cellular companies in the world. Mr. O’Brien is one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs with extensive investments across several sectors including international telecoms, radio, media, property, aircraft leasing, golf and other leisure interests. He founded the Communicorp Group which has a portfolio of media and broadcasting-related companies in Ireland and seven other European countries. Denis was Chairman of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland and is Chairman of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He is on the US Board of Concern Worldwide. In 2000 he established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to assist disadvantaged communities in Ireland and internationally.

Mary LawlorMary Lawlor
Mary is the Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, an organisation she established in 2001 to meet the immediate security and protection needs of human rights defenders at risk around the world.  Mary is widely respected in the international human rights movement and has been a leading figure in developing rapid response mechanisms and institutional responses for HRDs.  Prior to Front Line Defenders, Mary was Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000. She became a Board member in 1975 and was elected Chair from 1983 to 1987. Mary was awarded the Irish Life WMB Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008. In 2011, she received the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Special Recognition Award.  In 2014, Mary was awarded the French insignia of Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur and an honorary degree of Doctor in Laws from Trinity College Dublin. In 2015, she was appointed Adjunct Professor in the School of Business Trinity College Dublin.

Kieran MulveyKieran Mulvey
Kieran Mulvey is Chief Executive of the Irish Workplace Relations Commission and a Consultant with the International Labour Organisation and the European Union. He is a former general secretary of two teachers’ unions.


Noeline BlackwellNoeline Blackwell
Noeline Blackwell is an Irish-based lawyer specialising in refugee law and is the Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Prior to that post, she served as the Director General of FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), an NGO that provides free legal advice and services for those living in poverty. She is the former Chairperson of both the International Human Rights Trust and the Irish Section of Amnesty International.

David SykesDavid Sykes
David Sykes acts as an investment advisor to Island Capital Ltd and previously held positions in banking and stockbroking which include Trinity Bank Ltd and Dolmen Stockbrockers Ltd.



Maria MulcahyMaria Mulcahy
Maria Mulcahy is the CEO of the Iris O’Brien Foundation and the Irish-based Head of Philanthrophy for the Digicel Group. She was involved with "People in Need" from 1988 to 2000. She was responsible for organising the RTE telethons, which raised €28 million. She was Director of Fundraising for the 2003 Special Olympics World Games.


Jim ConwayJim Conway
Jim Conway is the founder of the Print and Display Group, one of Ireland's largest print companies, where he is now Chairman. Print and Display is one of Europe's market leaders in the screen, digital and litho production of outdoor poster, bus advertising and point-of-purchase materials. He also has a number of other media interests in Ireland and Eastern Europe.

Mary Jane RealMary Jane N. Real
Mary Jane N. Real is a founding member and former Coordinator of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. A lawyer, she helped establish the Alternative Law Groups network in the Philippines. She is a long-time advocate of women’s rights having worked with women’s rights and human rights organisations in Asia and internationally including as Regional Coordinator of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development.

Arnold TsungaArnold Tsunga
Arnold Tsunga is Africa Director of the International Commission of Jurists. He was Executive Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. He was a joint winner of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2006.