20 Oct 2021

AONTAS Announces John D'Arcy as Newly Elected Chairperson at AGM

AONTAS is delighted to announce that John D’Arcy, Director of The Open University (OU) in Ireland, has been elected as Chairperson at the AONTAS Annual General Meeting (AGM) today (20th October 2021). John will succeed Tara Farrell, CEO of Longford Women's Link (LWL) who completed her term of office. Tara received many words of thanks and appreciation for the enormous contribution she made in her role from members, Board members, SOLAS CEO, Andrew Brownlee and AONTAS CEO, Niamh O’Reilly.

John D’Arcy was first elected to the AONTAS Board in 2018. As Director of the OU, John’s daily work is embedded in the adult learning sector, working with people in every county to achieve their educational goals, whether job-focussed or for personal development. Prior to working with The OU, he was Chief Executive of Colleges Northern Ireland, which represented all further education colleges there. Aside of John’s sectoral experience and work with governments in Dublin and Belfast and has experience of governance in charity and third sector organisations like AONTAS. John has been Chair of Enterprise Northern Ireland, Audiences Northern Ireland and the Oh Yeah Music Centre as well as a Board member of Sport Northern Ireland, Open College Network Northern Ireland and the Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland.

Congratulating John on his election to Chairperson Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS said: "I very much look forward to continuing to work with John in his new role as Chairperson of AONTAS; he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and will be instrumental in furthering our ambitions to support adult learners across the island of Ireland.  I also welcome our newly elected Board members who reflect the diversity and strength of the adult learning sector."

On behalf of the AONTAS staff and Board, I would like to thank Tara Farrell for her leadership, support and vast contribution to the organisation since 2012. Tara has strengthened the organisation and offered excellent strategic and corporate governance oversight that has enabled AONTAS to thrive in challenging times."  

AONTAS also welcomes newly elected members of the Board from the Education and Training Boards (ETBs), community education and NGO sector from across the island of Ireland:

We also welcome adult learners Anna Jakobek and Daniel Kenny, and individual member Collette Ainscough to the AONTAS Board.