Marriage Equality Board Members

Gráinne Healy - Chairwoman

Marriage Equality Chairwoman Gráinne Healy is a long time feminist activist with serious involvement in campaign for women's rights in Ireland, including reproductive health rights, violence against women, prostitution and trafficking and anti poverty issues. Chair of the European Women's Lobby's Observatory on Violence against Women for over a decade, Gráinne is also former Vice President of the European Women's Lobby, a former Chairwoman of the National Women's Council of Ireland; Chairwoman of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency and a previous Ministerial appointee to the Board of the Equality Authority and the Women's Health Council.

A self-employed Projects Manager, Gráinne has devised and delivered numerous EU-funded social inclusion initiatives with transnational partnerships across the EU, including the Dignity Project which seeks to support development of Inter-agency service delivery for victims of sex trafficking and the Equal Project which sought to deliver innovative solutions to work place inequality thus creating a more equal workplace in the Dublin region. She has managed budgets in excess of £1m and has also published evaluation reports and strategic plans for many commmunity and voluntary organisations.

Orla Howard - Deputy Chair

Professionally, Orla has been involved in the Marketing and Advertising Industry for many years and as well as having worked in the Newspaper industry, she has worked in TV and Radio. She has recently returned to education to study Sustainable Development.

Orla has been involved with the NLGF for 10 years, and is currently a Board Member. Her key area of interest is advancing equality for Gay Men and Lesbians.

Darina Brennan

Darina Brennan is Executive Chef at Fire Restaurant and Venue at the Mansion house for the past 8 years.  Darina was honored with a Gala for "Business Person of the Year" in 2010. She has been a volunteer/fundraiser for Marriage Equality since August 2009, and organised both "Art for Marriage Equality" and "Just Love - A Gig For Marriage Equality".  Darina was also Marriage Equality's Advocate of the Month in December 2011 for her dedication to the campaign.

Ronan Farren

Ronan Farren is a public affairs consultant working with a leading public relations agency in central Dublin. Ronan worked closely with Marriage Equality on its establishment and provides ongoing strategic advice. Ronan previously worked with the Labour Party and the Department of Foreign Affairs and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University.

Ross Golden-Bannon

Educated in Ireland, Britain and France, Ross Golden-Bannon worked for New Labour in the House of Commons until September 2000. He was Political Assistant to the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Wales, an Officer of the TGWU Parliamentary Branch and The Secretaries and Assistants' Council. He also acted as an informal lobbyist for Stonewall to The House of Lords.

In 1999 he was accepted on the list of Parliamentary Candidates for the British General Election 2001. He withdrew his name in 2000 to return to Ireland and pursue a career in the private sector where he combined a commercial role at The Sunday Business Post with his weekly restaurant column. In 2004 he co-founded Bannon&Bannon PR with his brother Ultan which later evolved into RGB Consulting, specialising in the development issues. His consulting firm merged with Grayling Global in 2008 where he is Client Director. He retains his role as restaurant critic for The Sunday Business Post and he was appointed editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine in May 2008.

He is regularly sought after as an opinion former and commentator on current affairs. He contributes to a number of other publications and broadcasters including RTE Radio & TV, Newstalk, 4FM and TodayFM.

He is a supporter of One Family, co-founder of the Dublin Rape Crises Centre Wilde October Ball, a member of Amnesty International LGBT Sub-committee (Ireland) and was recently elected to membership of the Irish Food Writer's Guild.

Anna MacCarthy

Organiser, LGBT Noise; Solicitor.

Anna has been involved in LGBT activism for the past 10 years as head of UCC's LGBT society, member of the Union of Students in Ireland's LGBT Working Group and fundraiser for Dublin LGBTQ Pride.

Olivia McEvoy

Olivia McEvoy is Chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF), Ireland’s oldest LGBT organisation working for the rights of and the elimination of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. The NLGF has responsibility for publishing Gay Community News (GCN), conducts research and holds symposia and conferences on LGBT-related issues. The NLGF also hosts a number of events such as ‘National Coming Out Day’, film screenings for Pride as well as The GALAS, a national annual awards ceremony which celebrates contributions to the positive development of LGBT life in Ireland.

Olivia founded Cnag ar an Doras which provides consultancy to government and non-government organisations for whom the meaningful inclusion of children and young people is important. In addition to expertise in devising and delivering national consultation processes, policy-making, event management and independent evaluation, Olivia is recognised as a leading expert in the field of youth participation in Ireland. Her client base includes the Office of the President of Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of An Taoiseach, the Equality Authority, Trinity College Dublin and a host of youth services, including Belong To.

Olivia has been involved in Dublin’s LGBT community since her college days. She has sung Soprano with Glória DLGC for 15 years and plays soccer with the Running Amach Divas.

Justine Quinn

Justine lectures at the Dublin Institute of Technology, where she teaches Constitutional law and European Union law. She practised as a barrister in Ireland for more than six years. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Trinity College Dublin, a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Justine has been called to practice both as a barrister in Ireland, and as an Attorney-at-Law (New York) in the United States. While in practice at the Irish bar, she founded an association of LGBT Lawyers in Ireland with a number of colleagues from the Irish bar and solicitors in practice in Dublin and beyond. 

Her research interests include civil society and social movement mobilisation and European integration. During her time in practice at the bar, Justine worked on the European Commission-funded Equal Jus Project based at the University of Udine in Italy, co-financed by the European Commission Programme "Fundamental Rights and Citizenship 2007-2013", supported by partners in Italy, France, Poland and Lithuania. She has presented academic papers at a variety of conferences, including at Cornell Law School, the European University Institute and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Justine attended the University of California Berkeley as a visiting doctoral scholar in 2013 and is currently writing her PhD on social movement mobilisation and European integration.

Ailbhe Smyth

Ailbhe is Chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation. She is on the Steering Group of the LGBT Diversity Programme, and also of ERA (Equality and Rights Alliance). Her board memberships include; GAZE LGBT Film Festival; Irish Medical Aid for Palestine; and Ballyfermot STAR. She is currently Co-Convenor of Feminist Open Forum and National Convenor of the People Before Profit Alliance.

The founding Director of the Women's Education, Research and Resource Centre (WERRC) at UCD and a senior academic for many years, Ailbhe now works with NGOs and Community-based organisations. She has been active in feminist, LGBT and radical politics since the 1970s.

Judy Walsh

Judy Walsh is Director of Graduate Programmes at the School of Social Justice, University College Dublin, where she teaches on the Equality Studies programmes. Judy holds undergraduate and Masters degrees in law from University College Cork and was called to the Irish Bar in 1997. Her research interests and publications span various aspects of human rights law and discrimination law. Judy has considerable experience of the NGO sector: she was Co-Chairperson of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties from 2003-08, and currently sits on the board of the Participation and Practice of Rights Project and the board of Healthy Food for All.

 Carol Armstrong

Carol Armstrong works within the School of Physics DIT and has volunteered with various LGBT groups for many years.  Carol has volunteered on Marriage Equality's successful TD Campaign for several years and now works on training and organising the volunteers to keep the campaign moving forward.  She has also taken part in various fundraising events and other Marriage Equality projects.