Officers and Council
Maurice O’Gorman, President
Maurice O’Gorman is Vice Chair of the Enterprise Strategy Group and a member of the Business Support Committee. Maurice returned to Ireland in 2014, having spent 23 years in the Gulf. Maurice spent 15 years with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Central Bank) and 7 years as Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Strategy at NCB Capital. Maurice was a member of a number of boards including Eastgate Capital Group, a leading private equity and real estate firm. Maurice started his career with the London Stock Exchange. Maurice is a non-executive director of Altocloud, a Galway based technology company.
Conor O’Dowd, Vice President
Conor is an Audit Director with KPMG in Galway. He has been with KPMG all of his working life and worked in Dublin until moving to Galway seven years ago. Conor chairs the Audit and Strategic Review committees and is a member of the Business Support and Econominc Strategy committees. A native of Roscommon, Conor is interested in golf, horse racing and GAA.
Dave Hickey, Deputy President
Dave is currently the Deputy President of Galway Chamber and has been a Chamber Council member since 2007. Dave currently chairs the committee on Marketing and Communications. A native of Galway city, he was Group Chief Executive at the Connacht Tribune for 12 years until July 2017 and previously worked in multi-national as well as local companies in Galway spending 12 years in the UK and Middle East before returning to Galway in 1996. He is married with three adult sons and is a keen follower of club and Connacht rugby.
Peter M. Allen, Company Secretary
Peter is the Principal in the Law Firm of MacDermott & Allen. He is the Chairman of the Connacht Tribune Group of Newspapers and Galway Bay FM. He is also Chairman of the Galway Race Committee. He serves as a Board Member of The Kylemore Trust and The Galway Music Residency and is a past president of Galway Chamber. Peter is chairman of Kylemore Abbey and Garden Ltd., Senior Steward of the Irish National Hunt and Steeplechase Committee and Chairman of the Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board. Outside of business, his interests are horse racing, rugby and golf.
Aengus Burns, Treasurer
Aengus is an Advisory Partner with Grant Thornton in Galway. Originally from Dublin he moved to Galway seven years ago. He has chaired the ACCA Connaught panel in recent years. Aengus chairs the Chamber Economic Infrastructure committee. He has a keen interest in Rugby and is a supporter of Connacht Rugby.
Mary Bennett is Managing Director and Chair of Treasure Chest Ltd, founded in 1966. She has been involved in many organisations over the past years including directorship of Aer Lingus, Bord Failte Eireann and the Irish Goods Council. Mary has been involved in the promotion of tourism for many years and chaired Ireland West Tourism for 8 years and was elected World President of Skal International (Professionals in Tourism) for the years 2002-2003. President of Galway Chamber for 2 years and President of Chambers Ireland for 2 years, she also received the Freedom of the City in June 2011.
Carmel is a native Galwegian. A former teacher and financial services professional, Carmel has been a Council Member of Galway Chamber since 2003. She was President of Galway Chamber in 2010/2011. Carmel was the first female member of Junior Chamber Galway and rose to become Vice President of that organisation. Continuing a lifetime of volunteering, Carmel became President of Network Galway in 2005. She has also served as a Board Member of GMIT. Carmel’s interests include politics, art and travel. A member of a Galway political dynasty, she is currently Chair of the Seamus Brennan Cumann, Galway.
John is the General Manager of Smart Bay Ireland. John is responsible for the promotion and management of projects at the SmartBay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site in Galway Bay. John has over 20 years’ experience in marine survey, vessel operations & commercial management. Previously John worked as the Commercial manager for Europe at P&O Maritime and was responsible for developing and implementing the European regions growth strategy within the offshore wind and government shipping sectors. While employed at the Marine Institute John was responsible for the Management of Irelands Research Vessels and Deepwater ROV. John was a Co-owner and Director at Seabed Surveys International a specialist hydroacoustic survey company. John holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Irish Management Institute, a M.Sc (Research) from UCD, a B.Sc. in Marine and Fisheries Biology from the University of Aberdeen and has other qualifications in Applied Chemistry, Laboratory Practices and Aquaculture. John’s hobbies include open water swimming, running and cycling and he is passionate about realising Ireland’s potential for harnessing power from seas.
Brian Carey joined Bank of Ireland in 2007 and is currently Head of Bank Of Ireland Galway City, having relocated back to Galway from Dublin in late 2014. He has worked in a variety of roles in Bank of Ireland including Senior Business Manager, Regional Business Manager and also Branch Manager Eyre Square. He is an ACCA Qualified Accountant and is current Chairperson of ACCA Connacht Members Panel and a member of the ACCA Ireland Executive Council. He is Chair of the Galway Chamber Tourism Committee and our representative on the European Region of Gastronomy Board. Brian, a native of Ballinasloe, is married with 2 kids and has a strong interest in sports, mainly soccer, golf and rugby.
Niamh Costello, Galway Technology Centre
Niamh Costello is General Manager of Galway Technology Centre. GTC was established in 2001 by Galway Chamber in partnership with WestBIC to provide serviced office space to meet the needs of high growth enterprises in the ICT and other knowledge based sectors. GTC has supported over 2000 jobs and 130 companies since it was established.
Niamh has a background in Hotel Management having worked in Ireland, the UK and Australia, she over 20 years senior management experience in sales, marketing, finance, facilities, operations & company administration with both MNC’s and indigenous ICT companies.
Niamh is a director of Galway City Innovation District and was one of the team instrumental in the opening of the Portershed. An experienced networker, she is also a Council Member of Galway Chamber and a member of the executive of Network Galway.
A long-time member of Galway Chamber, Declan Dooley is a native of Galway and was first elected to Council in 2008. He served as President of the Chamber from 2011 to 2013. Declan is a founding member and Managing Director of IFN Newspaper Group, publisher of the Galway Independent & Cork Independent newspapers. He is also a founding Member and Director of Magnify, a Galway based marketing agency established in 2013. Combined, his companies employ over 50 staff in Galway and Cork. Declan is Chairman of the Chamber’s Port Development & Marine Tourism Committee which recently represented the Chamber, and other key business representative organisations in Galway, at the Bord Pleanala oral hearing into the planning application for the development of the port of Galway.
Frank Greene, Galway Technology Centre
Frank Greene Chartered Director(C.Dir), also awarded LIB, QFA, & APA professional designations. Former President of Galway Chamber and current Director, Chairman of Galway Technology Centre DAC; Director Galway Harbour Ltd; Director Chambers Ireland; Alternate on European Economic Committee (EESC); and member of National Monitoring Committee of Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020.
Retired Senior Manager of AIB. A native of Kilkenny and has a keen interest in Hurling, Rugby, Golf and Racing.
Andrew Murphy is the Managing Director of Shannon Airport, part of the Shannon Group, a commercial semi-state company in Ireland incorporating the subsidiaries of Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage and Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd. He is a graduate of the Shannon College of Hotel Management. Previously Andrew was a Director in Ulster Bank for 4 years based in Limerick overseeing a regional team. He has spent 13 years with Ulster Bank in various management roles in Corporate Banking, Finance and Treasury all based in Dublin. During his initial years with the Bank, Andrew trained as an Accountant with the ACCA. Previous to this he owned his own Restaurant in Dublin City Centre after enjoying a 4 year career in the Hotel Industry with Jury’s’ Hotel Group based in London, Cardiff and Dublin.
Sinead Ní Fhátharta, Údarás na Gaeltachta
Sinead Ní Fhátharta is the manager of the Enterprise and Employment Division within Údarás na Gaeltachta which is the economic development agency for the Irish speaking regions of Ireland. The Enterprise and Employment Division is responsible for attracting and developing enterprise in the Gaeltacht regions by supporting entrepreneurs in developing their businesses and driving job creation. Sinead is a qualified CIMA accountant and she was conferred with an MBA honours degree from NUI Galway in 2008. She holds a number of directorships.
As GMIT’s Vice President for Research and Innovation Rick has responsibility for the Institute’s contract and postgraduate research provision, and its two enterprise innovation hubs. Rick joined GMIT in 2008 as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Science with prior experience as Science Leader for the Queensland Government’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, and as leader of research and assessment teams for Ireland’s Marine Institute and Australian government agencies in Tasmania and Victoria. Rick’s research has focussed on enabling sustainability and improving productivity in the Fisheries and Aquaculture industries. He has extensive experience of competitively funded national and international research projects and programmes. He holds BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Postgraduate Certificate in 3rd Level Learning & Teaching, and is currently completing an MBA in Higher Education Management at University College London. Rick is a member of Galway Chamber’s Enterprise Infrastructure Strategy Committee. He is a keen supporter of Connacht rugby, and a very remote follower of Australian Rules football!
Pat is a native of Galway and has been working with AIB in Galway for the last 25 years. He is currently Branch Manager of AIB 18 Eyre Square. A qualified Financial Advisor he also holds a Certificate in Marketing from the Irish Management Institute. He has been a member of the Chamber Business Support Committee for the last two years and was elected to council for the first time this year.
Pat has an interest in all sports but his passion is Rugby. He was Honorary Secretary of Connacht Rugby from 2004 -2014 and was elected President for season 2016/17.
John is the Director of Management Accounting in National University of Ireland Galway and is responsible for strategic financial planning and development in the University. A native of Dublin, John held various financial roles in multinationals before moving to Galway. He holds a BBS from Trinity College and is Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. A former President of Galwegians RFC, he has a strong interest in all sports but is particularly keen on golf, rugby, football and cycling.
Captain Brian Sheridan’s seagoing career began with the Danish shipping giant A.P. Møller (MAERSK) in November 1987. He studied at the Maritime College Cork; University of Ulster Jordanstown; John Moores University Liverpool; Maritime College Glasgow and Warsash Maritime College Southampton. His career brought him from the rank of Deck Cadet to Master with A.P. Møller trading on many vessel types but his main experience is in the operation of LPG Tankers. In December 1999 he was appointed Deputy Superintendent at Galway where he fulfils a wide ranging role. He was elected to Council in 2007. Brian received an International Life Saving Award for his management of Ireland’s largest on-water sporting event, the Volvo Ocean Race 2009 & 2012. An honorary member of Galway Bay and Mayo Sailing Clubs he was elected Vice President of the International Harbour Masters Association in 2012. Brian sails his own boat whenever he can and enjoys being out on what is arguably Galway’s greatest amenity ‘The Blue Playground’, Galway Bay.
Patricia Staunton is a Chartered Surveyor and Head of Cushman & Wakefield Galway. Patricia has over 18 years’ experience working as a Chartered Surveyor in both the Dublin and Regional Commercial Markets. Patricia relocated to the Galway Office in 2004 and since returning to Galway she has built up extensive experience in providing Leasing and Development Consultancy to a range of institutional and private clients on all faucets of commercial property.
David is the CEO and co-founder of Galway Business School, a leading independent third level college in Ireland. GBS delivers degree programmes, validated by QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) which is an independent State agency, responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland. GBS prides itself in the ability to respond quickly to the changing needs of students and labour markets. Lecturers are highly experienced in their area of teaching and class sizes make for a great class dynamic. David is the CEO and co-founder of Galway Cultural Institute, an English language school. Galway Cultural Institute has grown into a flourishing institution providing nurturing support and excellent language training to thousands of students around the world. David is chair of Nilands Limited an investment company dealing in property and financial investments. It has been in operation since 1950 and is a family firm. David is the Honorary Consul of Mexico in Galway with jurisdiction in respect of counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon and Donegal. David was President of Galway Chamber from 2005 to 2007 and has been on the Chamber Council since 2004. David was Chairman of Galway Arts Centre for six years (2002 – 2008). Galway Arts Centre delivers Cúirt, visual arts, music, theatre and community outreach. David enjoys photography, hill walking, running and swimming.
JP is a partner in the Corporate and Commercial Department of Ronan Daly Jermyn. Prior to joining Ronan Daly Jermyn and moving to Galway, JP worked with one of Ireland’s largest corporate law firms and also spent time in the US working in-house in the legal department of a large US pharmaceutical corporation. JP is a highly experienced transactional lawyer representing a broad range of clients from scaling companies to multinationals. JP is a B.Comm and LL.B. graduate of NUI Galway and has been a Council member of Galway Chamber since 2011. JP chairs the Audit Committee of Galway Chamber and is also a member of the business support committee. JP has a keen interest in all sports, but in particular, hurling, rugby, triathlons and swimming.
Sara is the Business Development Manager for QuickTec IT Support and Services. The Galway native holds a BA Honours in Hotel and Catering Management and has worked abroad in France and Australia in a number of multinationals and SMEs. Sara is also a member of Junior Chamber International. She was recently involved in organising the Galway Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and is on the committee for the JCI National Convention 2016 taking place in Galway. She writes a monthly column called Tech Tips in the Galway Independent and is a finalist in the Network Galway Business Woman of the Year Awards 2016. Outside of business interests, Sara is involved in Marian Choral Society, tag rugby and supports Connacht Rugby.
Shane is a Galway native and is managing partner of business law firm, MacSweeney & Company, which he founded in 2003. He holds a B.C.L from UCC and a Diploma in Employment Law from UCD. Before moving back to Galway, he was a partner in a top five Dublin law firm. He has lectured at the Law Society of Ireland and regularly speaks at events and seminars and contributes to legal publications. In his spare time, he coaches a juvenile hurling team and has a keen interest in rugby, politics and history. He speaks Irish and German.