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Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Commissions

Meet Our Council

To learn more about what we do click here.

Meet Our Council

See more about Water Safety Ireland’s Council & what our Commissions do.

Working Groups are appointed within each.

Clare McGrath


Clare is an active Water Safety Ireland instructor, examiner, tutor and international referee and she has worked as a referee at the highest level at European and World competitions. Clare has been involved in the organisation of Regional and National lifesaving competitions, both pool and beach for 20 years. She works with Clare County Council, as the Water Safety Development Officer, within the Environment Section.

[email protected]

Philip Keleghan

Philip Keleghan is from County Wicklow and has been involved in Water Safety and other aquatic activities for over forty years. He is an active Water Safety Instructor, Examiner, and Swimming Tutor. He is currently the National VIce Chair and head of the technical Commission.

[email protected]

Tom O’Mahony

Tom O’Mahony lives in Dunboyne, Co. Meath. His is a retired civil servant and served as Secretary General of the Department of Transport and Sport. In a previous role in the Department of the Environment he was involved in the statutory establishment of Water Safety Ireland, then Irish Water Safety, in 1999. He is very active in the fields of sport (where he is President of St Patrick’s Athletic FC) and music (as a recording artist under the stage name Tommy Keyes)

[email protected]

Simon McGarrigle

Simon is currently living in Galway, Ireland, with his wife and young daughter, and works in a Sales & Marketing role for Finol Oils. Simon hails from Donegal, where his passion for the sport of lifesaving began from an early age and continues to this day. Throughout his teenage and early adult years, he was a Water Safety Ireland Instructor, IRB Crew, Coxswain & Instructor, a lifesaving sport coach & team manager in Donegal. He also instructed for WSI Dublin while he lived in Dublin. He has competed, coached & refereed nationally, and has also been team manager and referee at European & World Championship lifesaving events. Simon has been involved in organising both pool and beach competitions nationally for 10 years and is currently a member of the International Life Saving Federation of Europe Sports Commission as well as being the current chair of the Water Safety Ireland Sports Commission and a member of the WSI Technical Committee

[email protected]

Natalie McGuinness

Natalie McGuinness is a strategy and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in various industries including technology, education and professional services.  She is Chief Marketing Officer for Mason Hayes & Curran, with responsibility for the firm’s marketing strategy in Ireland, the UK and USA. Previously, she worked for Vodafone and UCD. She is a three-time graduate of UCD with a BA, MBA, and a Diploma in Corporate Governance. Natalie is also a member of Dublin Chamber Council, Chambers Ireland and the St. Patrick’s Day Festival Board.

[email protected]

Leo Mahon

Leo is from Co. Kildare and has been involved in Water Safety and other aquatic activities for over thirty years. He is an active Water Safety Instructor and examiner in Kildare.

[email protected]

Dervla Quinn

Dervla is a practising solicitor and member of the residential tenancies board disputes committee. She is a year round swimmer active in Greystones Co. Wicklow swim community. In 2018 she was rescued from the sea which inspired an interest in promoting water safety.

[email protected]

Mary Plunkett

Mary has worked in financial services for over 25 years across a diverse base of institutions in Banking, General Insurance, Life and Pensions and Funds. Working primarily within pillars of Strategic Planning and Governance, Mary has built vast experience having worked with leading financial services clients at exec level.  Mary holds a Diploma in Company Direction with Distinction from the Institute of Directors, an MSc Investment & Treasury from Dublin City University and is a qulaified accountant. Mary also holds the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland leading qualification and is a qualified Data Protection Officer.

Working in Risk management & Compliance for many years, Mary has in-depth experience in design of Risk & Compliance Governance Frameworks, monitoring upstream regulation, Compliance Monitoring Programmes, Compliance Roadmaps, setting Risk Appetite and Risk Policy and establishing governance programmes to manage same. Mary has valuable experience in engaging with diverse stakeholder groups to deliver transformation programmes, cultural change, offshoring, management of 3rd party suppliers and contractual commitments.

[email protected]

Christine Moloney

Christine is the CEO of Leisure World since 2001. She strategically leads, directs, and manages the 6 Leisure world sites on behalf of Cork City Council, ensuring the delivery of quality and value for money services.  She has a wealth of experience in Public Sector service provision, strategy development, corporate governance, strategic HR, financial and internal controls with a background in facilities management

[email protected]

List of Council Members

Clare McGrath, Philip Keleghan, Leo Mahon; Simon McGarrigle; Dervla Quinn; Natalie McGuinness; Mary Plunkett; Tom O’Mahony, Christine Moloney.

Meet Our Commissions

Technical Committee

Members: Philip Keleghan, Leo Mahon, Simon McGarrigle, Paul Devins, John Claffey, Paul Burke, David Fitzpatrick.


  • Co-ordinate and monitor the work of all Technical Commissions
  • Review all Technical Commission recommendations and forward as appropriate all suitable recommendations to Council for approval
  • Review all Lifesaving syllabi & publications
  • Manage the bi-annual WSI Examiners Conference
  • Identify and Prioritise the new projects with Commissions

Audit, HR and Risk Commission

Members:  Tom O’Mahony, Joan Harte, Mary Plunkett, Tom Keating, Lorcan Maule, Evan Duggan, Jennifer O’Neil.


  • Monitoring Expenditure and Income
  • Internal Financial Controls & Risk Management
  • Internal Audits
  • External Audits
  • HR Matters
  • Define an approach for the continuation of management development for both existing and new staff
  • Health & Safety
  • National & International meeting and conferences

Marketing Commission

Members: Natalie McGuinness, Roger Sweeney, Aidan Collins, Andrea McKevitt, Padraig Judge, Paul McGowan


  • Produce marketing and promotional material as outlined within the S.I., Strategic Development Plan & Business Plan
  • Source forms of sponsorship
  • Market the WSI Brand
  • Standardisation of merchandise – certificates, etc.
  • Standardisation and publication of Books, Manuals, Leaflets, Posters
  • Manage the strategy for Press releases
  • Monitor Press Cuttings
  • Ensure that WSI is well represented at exhibitions countrywide
  • Liaise with RoSPA & the Marine Safety Working Group
  • Promotion of public awareness of Water Safety
  • Assist in organising National Ceremonies, Conferences & Events
  • Represent WSI at LAMA Awards
  • Promote the wearing of Lifejackets.
  • Develop the commercial strand to our organisation; improve branding and PR
  • Analyse drowning statistics

Commercial Membership Development Commission

Members: Christine Moloney, Dervla Quinn,  Mark Kiely, Seamus O’Neill


  • PPrepare and implement a strategy to commercialise the provision of WSI awards and
  • Prepare and implement a strategy to increase the membership numbers
  • Improve membership and communication with WSAC’s

Sports Commission

Members: Simon McGarrigle , James Hassey, Caroline Bentley, Alison Deane, Kate O’Donovan, Daniel Wrafter


  •  Promote and develop lifesaving sport in Ireland
  • Improve liaison with Swim Ireland in relation to our NGB funding
  • Improve liaison with the Federation of Irish Sport
  • Improve liaison with Coaching Ireland
  • Manage International and National Competitions
  • Facilitate Training of Coaches, Referees and Officials.
  • Appoint Coaches, Referees and Officials for competitions.
  • Ensure all WADA regulations are enforced for our athletes
  • Recommend Sports Equipment
  • Manage International Life Saving Sport & Competitions
  • Liaison with the Olympic Council of Ireland
  • Draw up procedures for all activities and competitions

Lifeguarding Skills & Syllabus Development Commission

Members: Paul Devins, Sean O’Keeffe, Pauline Jordan, Paul Murphy, Shane O’Brien


  • The promotion of efficiency and standardisation of the Lifeguard Service
  • Develop and implement a strategy for the improvement of national standards for Lifeguards
  • Oversee all matters relating to the provision and training of Lifeguards (Pool, Beach, River)
  • Recommend and publish national standards for all lifesaving equipment
  • Develop and implement a national standard for the provision of instruction in water safety, rescue,
    resuscitation, and recovery skills
  • Ensure European Resuscitation Council guidelines are adhered to by our membership
  • Liaison with PHECC WG
  • European Qualification Framework in Lifeguarding
  • Implement training in Critical Incident Stress Management suitable for WSI members.

Education Commission

Members: Leo Mahon, Caroline Casey, Ashling Nesbitt, Sinead Weldon, Ciara Gleeson


  • Promotion of measures, including the advancement of education, related to the prevention of
    accidents in the aquatic environment
  •  Maintain and develop training and water safety awareness programmes within the Irish
    Educational System.
  •  Develop and implement Transition Year water safety programme
  •  Paws and Hold Hands: monitor and track and promote
  • Liaise with the Department of Education on the implementation of the Leaving Certificate
  • Develop and implement the Teachers Training Courses
  • Development of further QQI awards
  • Review and update all Children’s welfare, protection & educational documents
  • Arrange seminars for Designated Liaison Persons
  • Liaise with the Dept of Education to maximise water safety awareness training and public
    awareness programmes.
  • Manage, monitor, and enforce best practices in accordance with Children First and our own
    Code of Ethics for children and all relevant legislation pertaining to child welfare and protection.
  • Review and update the National Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children & National
    Volunteer Policies

Swimming Commission

Members: Paul Burke, Breda Collins, Deirdre Webster, Clive Seawright, Ameilia Reily, Darren Ryan.


  •  Oversea the provision of instruction in Swimming as a key element of the teaching of lifesaving
  • Develop and implement a strategy for increasing the delivery of WSI Swimming awards
  • Develop and implement a strategy for increasing the number of WSI swimming teachers.
  • Develop a strategy to improve the teaching of water safety and lifesaving to individuals with
  • Oversea the provision of training and certification of Swimming teachers and Swimming Tutors
    to National Standards
  • Liaise with the Education Commission on matters relating to swimming teaching and water
    safety awareness
  • Represent WSI at IFSTA
  • Ensure WSI is represented on the White Flag Jury
  • Evaluate the number of Swim Certificates in WSI
  • Review all swimming related documents and update as necessary
  • Liaise with the Rescue Commission on the implementation on the Swimming Pool risk
    assessments programme.

Rescue and Inshore Rescue Boats (IRB) Commission

Members:  John Claffey, Valerie Stundon, Ronnie Horan, Patrick O’Grady, Kevin McCluskey, Graham Kerr.


  • Develop and implement a strategy for the Promotion of Blue Flag safety standards
    and other aquatic environmental issues
  • Oversea the Management of Risk Assessments at local, national & international level
  • Implement a programme of risk assessments in swimming pools adhering to Pool
    Safety Guidelines
  • Manage the VAT Exemption Inspections as per S.I. 249 of 2013
  • Development of a skilled trainer base to facilitate the Training of CRBI personnel in
    rescue on inland and maritime water
  •  Development of a Inshore rescue syllabus in co-operation with CRBI.
  •  Liaise with Community Rescue Boats Ireland. Carry out usage tests on rescue
    equipment & review documentation
  • Oversea the management of the Open Water Safety Awareness courses
  •  Develop a syllabus for training lifeguards in the use of IRB’s and other power craft
  •  Arrange training courses for lifeguards in the use of IRB’s
  •  Arrange rescue boat handling courses for WSI members
  •  Develop and deliver a syllabus to train WSI members as Rescue Boat Trainers
  •  Manage National & International IRB Competitions
  •  Arrange for safety cover at all WSI and ILS events & competitions where such cover is
  •  Organise VHF Radio short range courses for WSI members

Working Groups

National Designated Liaison Person for Child Safety: Ashling Nesbitt

Meet Our Staff

Alanna Scully

I administer course registration and certificates. I am also often the first point of contact for queries to the office and am happy to assist or help you find who is the right person to help you with your question.

Garda Vetting and Insurance Queries

087 060 8543 / [email protected]

Jocelyn Cunningham

I am responsible for Events planning and management, course organisation, and also coordinate and manage the risk assessment process.

0879375883 / [email protected]

Alison Elstone

As the financial administrator, my main responsibilities are the maintenance of financial records, the processing of income and expenditure, and the undertaking of a range of financial reporting and administrative tasks, including auditing Water Safety Area Committees. We operate in a team environment, and I work in a collaborative way with staff and volunteer colleagues.

087 4126 456 / 091 534972 / [email protected]

Joan Harte

I am the Office Manager and Financial Officer. I manage Financial Management & Compliance, National Budget, Banking, Accounts Payable, Payroll, External & Internal Audit Coordination, Office Management, as well as a Line Manager and Secretary to the Audit Commission.

087 3631 992 / [email protected]

Jennifer Joy O’Neil

As the HR Officer and Compliance Officer for WSI, I aim to ensure that we have the best practice structures, policies, and procedures in place to continue to meet all the requirements of a state body. I value our people (employees and volunteers) and believe they are our most important asset. I also work closely with Council as the Board Secretary.

087 2617 979 / [email protected]

Padraig Judge

As the Marketing Executive, I work on marketing and communication initiatives across the organisation, including those around brand management, media relations, advertising, campaigns and publications.

087 4590 156 / [email protected]

Paul McGowan

As part of the marketing team, I manage the various social media platforms ensuring that the brand voice remains consistent and prominent throughout Ireland. I also maintain the website and purchase marketing materials as required.

087 1667 103 / [email protected]

David Ruch

My role as Data Officer provides the opportunity to coordinate critical information with national and international water safety organisations to improve and target our education programmes to the locations and people that will benefit most. My aim is to use data to direct our initiatives and identify best practices to share with the local water authorities and international bodies. Anyone can drown, no one should, and data plays a major role in making that a reality.

087 476 1143 / [email protected]

Frank Hughes

My focus as Development Executive is to identify and secure funding opportunities for WSI, including the development of WSI products and services, and other income streams.

087 476 2274 /  [email protected]

Ciara Gleeson

As the Education Development Executive, I manage, develop, and promote our suite of water safety school programmes, Hold Hands, PAWS, and WISE. I deliver water safety workshops and maintain partnerships with government agencies and organisations to implement education strategies and reduce drownings in Ireland.

087-3319164 / [email protected]

Rosie O Regan

As the Education Officer, I promote our suite of water safety school programmes, Hold Hands, PAWS, and WISE. I deliver water safety classes to schools to implement education strategies and reduce drownings in Ireland.

0871263524/ [email protected]

David Fitzpatrick

As Technical Officer my focus will be to further develop our syllabus material, coaching structures, and training to align with international best practice. I will also be aiming to develop a framework that promotes and enhances all WSI lifeguard qualifications.

0874705427 / [email protected]

Roger Sweeney

I manage media comms, marketing and education campaigns and related staff projects and budgets. As Deputy CEO I also support our CEO with the management of strategic planning and core operations.

0876789601 / [email protected]

Joanne Walsh

I am the CEO for Water Safety Ireland. I am responsible for delivering Water Safety Ireland’s Strategic Development Plan 2023-2027. I align our goals and objectives with the organisation’s direction, work closely with Water Safety Ireland’s Council and ensure accountability for our statutory prescribed remit. I believe in delivering public service with good governance, professionalism, and integrity.

087 199 0339 / [email protected]

List of Staff

Alanna Scully, Jocelyn Cunningham, Alison Elstone, Joan Harte, Jennifer Joy O’Neil, Padraig Judge, Paul McGowan, Ciara Gleeson, Rosie O Regan David Fitzpatrick, Roger Sweeney, Joanne Walsh.

What We Do At Water Safety Ireland


Our focus is on public awareness and education. Tragically, an average of 118 people drown each year in Ireland.  We feel that this is simply unacceptable considering that most fatalities are avoidable.  We strive to reduce these fatalities by increasing water safety awareness and by changing attitudes and behaviours so that our aquatic environments can be enjoyed with confidence and safety.

History Of WSI


Water Safety Ireland’s long and proud history has been published, thanks to the wonderful efforts of author Tiarnan O’Sullivan who has been involved with WSI since 2002, working as both a pool and beach lifeguard and volunteering as an instructor and as secretary of our Cork committee.

Tiarnan began researching our history in early 2013 and has captured delightful stories, many from the founding members of the organisation, established in 1945.

Doors were opened, attics were trolled and memories awoken that are now reflected in 288 pages of vigorous and often witty reflections.

Order via [email protected] / 091-564400

Softback: 15 Euros; Hardback: 25 Euros