Our Board

Overseeing the governance of BirdWatch Ireland

Our Board

We are the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland. The primary objective of BirdWatch Ireland is the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Ireland. Governance of BirdWatch Ireland is overseen by our Board:

Board Member - Jim Fitzharris - Outdoors

Jim Fitzharris


Based in Dublin, Jim has been a keen birdwatcher since his teens. He has served on several BirdWatch Ireland committees in the past, including a long tenure on the Irish Rare Birds Committee. With a degree in Mathematics and a Masters in Statistics, Jim worked in both the public and private sectors and has extensive experience in corporate governance. Married with two sons, his other interests include wildflowers and wildlife generally. Jim also serves on the board of the Smurfit Kappa Foundation.

Board Member Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor


Jonathan was born in Dublin. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1981, and his career was in the accountancy profession, both in Ireland and overseas, and in the field of education. He is a long-term member of BirdWatch Ireland with an abiding interest in nature and in gardening, especially gardening to encourage wildlife. Other interests include travel, art and cooking. He is married to Jean, with three daughters (and, latterly, four grandchildren).

Board Member Des Fagan

Des Fagan

Board Member

Des Fagan has worked in the employment rights area for the last thirty years. As a member of BirdWatch Ireland with an interest in all of nature's flora and fauna, he wanted to use his work experience to assist with making BirdWatch Ireland the prominent protector of birdlife in Ireland. Des has undertaken many island-hopping trips to view nature and seabird life. He hopes that the Board and BirdWatch Ireland can continue to grow and make strident efforts to increase awareness of the valuable natural resources that Ireland has and the need to protect these habitats.

Board Member Congella McGuire

Congella McGuire

Board Member

Congella McGuire is from Co. Clare and has worked as the Clare County Council Heritage Officer for more than 20 years. The role involves biodiversity project management, survey work, research, training, education and media campaigns. As Heritage Officer, Congella has long term experience in community development, public consultation, budget management, as well as environmental assessment, planning and development.

Congella previously worked as a Conservation Wildlife Ranger with National Parks & Wildlife Service and worked with BirdWatch Ireland as a Corncrake field worker in the midlands. Congella has a passion for birdlife and for bird conservation and is a keen birdwatcher having taken part in many BirdWatch Ireland bird surveys over the years.

Board Member Alan Mulligan

Alan Mulligan

Board Member

Alan retired as Head of HR in An Garda Síochána in 2021, having previously worked as a civil servant in the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Justice. He has been a keen birdwatcher since he was a teenager. Alan was delighted to join the board of BirdWatch Ireland in 2022 and hopes to use his HR and governance experience for the benefit of the organisation. Alan is married to Noreen and they have two sons and a daughter.

Board Member - Conor O'Brien

Conor O'Brien

Board Member

Conor O’Brien is a long-time member of BirdWatch Ireland and a firm believer in its mission. He has a keen interest in natural history and conservation, being the author of two books, Ireland Through Birds: Journeys in Search of a Wild Nation and Life in Ireland: A Short History of a Long Time, both of which sought to draw attention to the plight facing Ireland’s wildlife. He has made appearances on numerous radio programmes such as Mooney Goes Wild on RTE Radio 1, as well as Morning Ireland on Virgin Media. In his spare time, he is also an accomplished wildlife photographer.

Board Member - Eugene O'Brien

Eugene O'Brien

Board Member

Eugene O’Brien is a Civil Engineer and a professor in UCD. He has worked on some projects dealing with the conflicts between transport infrastructure and wildlife but, for most of his career, he has worked on bridges and roads. For BirdWatch Ireland, he will be working on the Audit and Risk Committee and hopes to bring something from many years bidding for and managing engineering projects in Ireland and at European level.

Governance Committees

The Governance Committees assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to BirdWatch Ireland to provide good corporate governance.

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BirdWatch Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland is a Registered Charity: CHY 5703 / CRA 20008963
Irish Wildbird Conservancy (trading as BirdWatch Ireland) is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Ireland : CRO No. 116468
BirdWatch Ireland Retail & Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BirdWatch Ireland, registered in Ireland : CRO No. 543457
Registered office: Unit 20, Block D, Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, A63 RW83, Ireland
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