CDI Board of Directors, 2019

Meet the Board Members

isabel austIsabel Aust

Isabel Aust is a Research and Training Specialist with Quality Matters and an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar at the School of Communications at Dublin City University. She is a proud former Access student, and a graduate of Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. Her professional background is in teaching in further and higher education, and in front line services working with people who are experiencing complex trauma, homelessness, and drug use. She is an advocate and trainer for Trauma Informed Care in Ireland and is currently training in Restorative Practice.


Darren Bracken

Darren Bracken has worked in the technology sector for 10 years. Serving in roles across social media companies and specialising in Trust and Safety policies. He has a Degree in Business Management. Darren is a Tallaght native who has been involved in community activism since he was a teenager through the Killinarden Community Centre Youth Project.

Darren has a keen interest in early intervention when it comes to the development of young people. Darren currently lives in Tallaght with his wife and three daughters.


Dr. John Paul Byrne

Dr John-Paul Byrne is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Hospital Doctor Retention & Motivation (HDRM) project based in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Maynooth University and has previously held research positions on projects studying working conditions in Ireland and Denmark, and the experience of patient-centred care in Ireland. John-Paul is a recipient of the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council (2012). His current research interests are psychosocial work conditions, working lives, and the social structures of work in healthcare.


Mary P. Corcoran (Chair)

Mary P. Corcoran is Professor of Sociology at Maynooth University. She is a graduate of the University of Dublin, Trinity College and Columbia University, New York.  Her research and teaching interests lie primarily in the fields of urban sociology, public culture and the sociology of migration. She has published widely on these topics. Her most recent book, Producing Knowledge: Reproducing Gender: power, policy and practice in contemporary Ireland (UCD Press, 2020) is co-edited with Dr Pauline Cullen.

Mary is currently the Chairperson of the Local Community Development Committee of South Dublin County Council, and a member of the Dublin rural Local Action Group that oversees LEADER funding in three of the four Dublin local authorities.  In November 2020 Mary was re-appointed Minister Heather Humphreys to a second term on the Board of the Western Development Commission.

Brendan Cremen

Brendan Cremen is a senior business and technology innovation executive. His experience spans 25 years in the start-up & multinational ICT industry in the US and Ireland and 10 years in the development of the commercialisation agenda within the Irish university sector, most directly with UCC and UCD. He is presently an advisor to the University Bridge Fund managed by Atlantic Bridge and set up to venture fund new companies formed and spun-out from the Irish university system.


Helen Johnston 

Helen Johnston is a Senior Social Policy Analyst at the National Economic and Social Council in Ireland, where she has worked on projects on well-being, quality and standards in human services, the social dimensions of the economic crisis and jobless households.  She is also the Chairperson of the Centre for Cross Border Studies.  Helen previously worked at the Combat Poverty Agency.  A native of Northern Ireland, Helen worked in the Northern Ireland civil service in the early years of her career.  She has qualifications in Environmental Science, Town and Country Planning,  Business Administration, and has a doctorate on the determinants of implementation in the Irish policy system.  Helen has a strong interest in tackling disadvantage, especially through prevention and early intervention.

Madeleine Mulrennan

Madeleine Mulrennan works as an independent consultant specialising in education matters and professional regulation. She has previously worked in further education and in teacher education. She was President of St Catherine’s College of Education, Sion Hill from 2000 to 2007. She was a Special Adviser (policy) in two government departments.

Madeleine is a graduate of University of Dublin, Trinity College and the Dublin Institute of Technology and has degrees in education, community health and law. She is a member of the Governing Authority of Maynooth University and recently chaired the review of Home Economics at Junior Cycle for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy is a Clinical Psychologist and former Head of Psychology in the Irish Prison Service (IPS). On leaving the IPS he worked for a number of years as a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the UCD School of Psychology. He works as a Counsellor with New Directions supporting the families of those in prison. He has recently been appointed to the new statutory Parole Board.


Elizabeth Nixon

Elizabeth Nixon is Assistant Professor in Developmental Psychology in the School of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. She is the director of the undergraduate degree programme in psychology. She is a graduate of University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. Her research and teaching interests lie in the area of parenting and family as a context for children’s development. She is a Co-Investigator of Growing up in Ireland, the first national longitudinal study of children’s development in Ireland, and established and co-directs the Infant and Child Research Lab at Trinity, where she conducts research on parent-child interactions.


Anita Nolan

Anita Nolan is a Social Worker with TUSLA and has 10 years’ experience in various childcare settings. Anita is a graduate of the University of Dublin, Trinity College and a proud member of the Tallaght West Community. Anita previously worked with women and children fleeing domestic violence. Through her work, she has developed a keen interest in community-based programmes that build resilience and create better outcomes for children and families. 



Aishling O’Reilly

Aisling holds an Honours Degree in Business and Accountancy, is a qualified accountant with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) since 2016 and is currently studying for a Masters of Economic Science in Policy Analysis with the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). She has worked in the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General since 2014 and has considerable experience and expertise in Public Sector Financial procedures and Governance requirements.

Aisling is a Tallaght native and has two children, a son and a daughter. She has a keen interest in social policy, early intervention and evidence based policy. She is currently training in restorative practices.

Catriona Rodgers

Catriona Rodgers is a Guidance Counsellor with DDLETB for the past ten years. Supporting young people and adults in Post Primary and Further Education, to help guide them to reach their personal, educational and vocational goals. Catriona is a graduate of IT Tallaght, now TUD, and has studied in UCD, Trinity College, IICP and Maynooth University. She is passionate about lifelong learning and has strong values of inclusion and equality, particularly for young people in the LGBT+ community and those with SEN. Catriona, a Tallaght native, still lives in the area with her husband and four young children.


Emer Woodfull

Emer is a practising barrister at the Law Library Dublin who was called to the Bar in 2003. She has a background in child, criminal, investigative, inquiry & employment law and is a Chairperson appointed by the Mental Health Commission to conduct tribunals . She was previously an award-winning current affairs broadcaster and series producer in RTE, the national broadcaster. In her early career she worked for a number of years as a teacher in Ballymun and as a teacher in a school for young offenders. She is a Board member of Oberstown Children Detention Campus.


Philip Zambra (Company Secretary)

Philip has previously worked for Keelings, Portakabin Ireland and Xerox Ireland. He has a Business Degree from Trinity, is a qualified Accounting Technician and passed his ISO Audit exam in 2016. He lives in Castleknock and has 4 kids – 3 boys and a girl.

He is a qualified Football Coach with UEFA and has the licence to manage in the Championship in UK – not yet at Premiership level but maybe some day!


The CDI Board:

  • Is responsible for staffing, finance, programmes, learning, evaluation reporting and mainstreaming;
  • Reports on strategy; implementation; spending; attainment of targets and learning;
  • Has leadership of, and responsibility for, strategy implementation, governance and accountability.