Rotate your phone!

Once that’s done you’ll be able to experience the Aontas website perfectly.
Dearbháil Lawless

Dearbháil Lawless

Chief Executive Officer

Dearbháil Lawless

Chief Executive Officer

Dearbháil is the Chief Executive Officer of AONTAS. She has responsibility for the strategic direction and operational management of AONTAS. Dearbháil was previously the Head of Advocacy, EU Project's Officer, and taught in Community Education, FET, and Higher Education. Dearbháil is a passionate advocate and activist. She believes that adult learning is the greatest tool for creating positive social change. Dearbháil likes to bring her dog Hazel to the office sometimes.

OUR TEAM

Marta Feragalli

Marta Feragalli

Head of Environmental, Social and Governance

Marta Feragalli

Head of Environmental, Social and Governance

Marta works closely with the CEO, Team Leads, Office Coordinator and Finance and Admin Officer and provides finance support across all areas of work. Marta also plays an integral part in the monitoring of the schedules, budgets and expenditures of all EU funded projects.

Thomas Murray

Thomas Murray

Head of Research

Thomas Murray

Head of Research

Thomas leads our research initiatives and Research Team, ensuring a strong evidence-base for advocacy and for informing national policy and practice in adult and community education.

Rachael Ryan

Rachael Ryan

Head of Communications

Rachael Ryan

Head of Communications

Rachael is responsible for our daily communications activities, building the public profile of the organisation, and organising key AONTAS events throughout the year.

Megan Fearon

Megan Fearon

Head of Impact & Engagement

Megan Fearon

Head of Impact & Engagement

Aisling Meyler

Aisling Meyler

Research Officer Learner Initiatives

Aisling Meyler

Research Officer Learner Initiatives

Aisling supports the Head of Research in the delivery of all National FET Learner Forum events, developing reports, delivering and analysing large-scale mixed-methods data. Aisling also supports new learner research initiatives, providing an evidence-base to support AONTAS's advocacy work. She has a background in the community and voluntary sector and is passionate about peer led initiatives. She loves martial arts and playing music.

Brian Desmond

Brian Desmond

Membership & Digital Engagement Officer

Brian Desmond

Membership & Digital Engagement Officer

Brian is our Membership & Digital Engagement Officer and works within the Communications team to build membership and increase engagement across our digital channels . He has a passion for adult education, digital content and graphic design. He loves books, music and the idea of doing Pilates.

Conor Thompson

Conor Thompson

Policy and Development Officer

Conor Thompson

Policy and Development Officer

Conor supports the CEO and Head of Advocacy with policy anaylsis and submissions. He also works with the Research Team on Learner Voice development and training with staff and learners in the Further Education and Training sector. He runs the One Step Up information service and works with the Advocacy Team on a number of EU Erasmus+ Projects. He is a qualified Further Education teacher and has a background in adult education, working as a English as an Additional Language and Adult Literacy tutor. He loves hiking, bird-watching and is doing a bad job of learning to play the bouzouki!

Megan O'Neil

Megan O'Neil

Communications and Digital Media Officer

Megan O'Neil

Communications and Digital Media Officer

Megan supports the Communications Team with implementing the communications strategy through social media, digital engagement and events. She has a background in university career services, event management and content marketing. In her free time, Megan can be found on her yoga mat or chipping away at her ever-growing book collection.

Giuliana Peña

Giuliana Peña

Publications and Design Officer

Giuliana Peña

Publications and Design Officer

Giuliana is part of the Impact and Engagement team and is Secretary of The Adult Learner Journal. She focuses on graphic design for projects, publications, and social media, and makes a mean Instagram reel. She has a MSc in Psychology and Wellbeing and is interested in sustainability.

Kate Smyth

Kate Smyth

Strategic Communications Officer

Kate Smyth

Strategic Communications Officer

Kate is part of the Impact and Engagement team and plans how we share our work with different audiences. She writes, pitches, and edits written pieces for and with the team, and shapes public messaging and responses to new education policy. She has a PhD in English, studied psychology, and is also a writer. Kate is from Galway and loves dogs but doesn’t have one - yet.

Karyn Farrell

Karyn Farrell

Learner Voice Project Officer

Karyn Farrell

Learner Voice Project Officer

Karyn is part of the AONTAS Research team, responsible for supporting the coordination, development and delivery of the National Further Education and Training Learner Forums. She has a background in project & events management and arts development, and is an experienced adult literacy tutor. She is a keen photographer and writer, has a serious travel bug, loves all things cultural and is obsessed with food.

Laura Lovejoy

Laura Lovejoy

Research Officer Learner Voice

Laura Lovejoy

Research Officer Learner Voice

Laura supports the delivery of AONTAS' research by leading in the qualitative research design and analysis of the National FET Learner Forum project. Her work is focused on developing policy recommendations arising from Learner Voice research. She has a PhD in English and is currently undertaking a Master's degree in Psychotherapy.

Lorraine O'Connor

Lorraine O'Connor

Community Education Officer

Lorraine O'Connor

Community Education Officer

Lorraine is part of the Advocacy Team, working to ensure that the community education stays firmly on the public and political agenda.

Suzanne Kerr

Suzanne Kerr

Office Coordinator

Suzanne Kerr

Office Coordinator

Suzanne is responsible for providing administration assistance in all aspects of AONTAS

Ruby Cooney

Ruby Cooney

Education Projects Officer

Ruby Cooney

Education Projects Officer

Ruby supports the Advocacy Team in implementing different education projects. She is passionate about adult education and promoting alternative routes to higher education. Ruby enjoys volunteering, and loves cats!

Larisa Sioneriu

Larisa Sioneriu

Adult Education Initiatives Officer

Larisa Sioneriu

Adult Education Initiatives Officer

Larisa is responsible for building capacity for people working in adult and community education sector by developing and coordinating various initiatives and resources. She has extensive experience in the community sector, both in Ireland and internationally. Her work is driven by the conviction that education can make the world a more just and better place.

Traci Barton

Traci Barton

Finance and Administration Officer

Traci Barton

Finance and Administration Officer

Traci has almost 30 years' experience in book-keeping, credit control and office management. At AONTAS, she looks after the book-keeping, payments and monthly reconciliations.

Dwayne Keogh

Dwayne Keogh

Governance and Operations Officer

Dwayne Keogh

Governance and Operations Officer

Dwayne's responsibilities include the development and execution of policies and procedures to ensure AONTAS operates in a compliant and well-governed manner. Additionally, he supervises operational activities to ensure efficient and effective delivery of all programmes and services.

Eve Cobain (Maternity Leave)

Eve Cobain (Maternity Leave)

Senior Research Officer

Eve Cobain (Maternity Leave)

Senior Research Officer

Eve supports the delivery of AONTAS' research, with a particular focus on community education. Eve leads in the delivery of the AONTAS Community Education Census (both North and South). She is also the Secretary of the organisation's peer-reviewed journal, The Adult Learner. Eve has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin and has taught courses in both Trinity College and Maynooth University. Eve loves yoga, cooking and poetry.

Lucia Iacovone (Maternity Leave)

Lucia Iacovone (Maternity Leave)

Communications and Events Officer

Lucia Iacovone (Maternity Leave)

Communications and Events Officer

Lucia is part of the Communications team. She manages our social media, and meticulously plans our events with the aid of many a spreadsheet!

Ecem Akarca (Maternity Leave)

Ecem Akarca (Maternity Leave)

EU Projects Coordinator

Ecem Akarca (Maternity Leave)

EU Projects Coordinator

Ecem is responsible for leading the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) and the management of EU funded Projects in AONTAS. She represents the organisation at national and European level, including working directly with the European Commission.

We advocate for the right of all adults in Ireland to quality lifelong learning.
meet our executive members