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Meet Our Council
See more about Water Safety Ireland’s Council & what our Commissions do.
Working Groups are appointed within each.
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.
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.
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 a member of the Board of the Federation of Irish Sport) and music (as a recording artist under the stage name Tommy Keyes)
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
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.
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.
John has been an active committee member of WSI Kilkenny for over 20 years as an Instructor, Examiner, Swimming Teacher/Tutor and Cardiac First Responder Tutor , Pool, Beach and IOW Lifeguard Tutor, First Aid Responder Tutor and Pool Risk Assessor, Water Safety Awareness Tutor. During this time John has served as a member of the Lifeguard Commission and as Chair of Water Safety Awareness Working Group. John is an elected Council Member of Water Safety Ireland, and Chairman of the Rescue Commission, IRB and a member of the Technical Committee.
Paul has been involved with water safety for nearly 40 years. He has held many positions since 1984 on the Cork Area Water Safety Committee such as Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Fund Raising Officer. He spent 7 summer seasons (1984 – 1990) working as a Beach Lifeguard on Inchydoney Beach.
Paul is a qualified Examiner, Instructor, Risk Assessor, Poolguard Provider, Beachguard Provider, Surf Lifesaving Referee & Swim Teacher Tutor. He is the current chair of WSI’s Swimming Commission and has sat on a number of Commissions of WSI and ILSE since 2000, such as the WSI Sports Commission (2000,2001,2002), WSI Lifesaving Commission (2003,2004), WSI Education Commission (2016), WSI Audit & HR Commission (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), ILSE Development Aid Commission (2000 – 2005), ILSE Auditor (2004,2005) and the WSI internal auditor since 2016.
Paul is from County Dublin and has been involved with Water Safety Ireland for over 40 years.He is an active Water Safety Instructor, Examiner, Pool & Beach Lifeguard Provider / Tutor. He is presently Chairman of the Lifeguarding Skills & Syllabus Commission and has previously served on the Sports Commission.
He continues to serve on the Dublin Water Safety Committee
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.
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.
List of Council Members
John Claffey; Paul Devins; Leo Mahon; Simon McGarrigle; Paul Burke; Philip Keleghan; Dervla Quinn; Natalie McGuinness; Mary Plunkett; Tom O’Mahony.
Meet Our Commissions
Members: Philip Keleghan, John Claffey, Paul Burke, Leo Mahon, Simon McGarrigle, Paul Devins
- 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.
- 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
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
Members: Simon McGarrigle, Caroline Bentley, James Hassey, 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.
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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
Internal Auditors: Tom Keating, Paul Burke
National DLP: Ashling Nesbitt
Meet Our Staff
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]
I am responsible for Events planning and management, course organisation, and also coordinate and manage the risk assessment process.
0879375883 / [email protected]
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]
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]
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]
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]
As part of the Education Team, I manage, develop and promote our suite of school programmes, including Hold Hands, PAWS, and WISE, and I develop, coordinate and deliver water safety education talks. I also develop and maintain partnerships with government agencies and organisations to implement education strategies and reduce drownings.
087-3319164 / [email protected]
I coordinate and deliver PAWS school visits, manage and distribute certificates for PAWS and create water safety content for programmes, publications and social media.
0874705427 / [email protected]
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]
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
What We Do At Water Safety Ireland
Our focus is on public awareness and education. Tragically, an average of 110 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