Our Staff

Fighting to protect Ireland's birds

Our Staff

Our staff cover a wide range of roles and projects including species- and habitat-specific conservation efforts, management of nature reserves, coordinating and coordinating surveys to monitor of birds in different habitats, engagement with politicians and lobbying on behalf of nature, and communicating and engaging with our branches, members and the general public to help them appreciate and learn about our native wildlife. We also have an experienced admin team who facilitate us carrying out this important work.

Linda Lennon, CEO of BirdWatch Ireland

Linda Lennon

Chief Executive Officer

Linda was brought up on Gerald Durrell books which helped develop a lifetime interest in wildlife and conservation. She has been an RSPB member for over 30 years and loves bird watching in her local parks and woods as well as in cloud and rain forests particularly in Costa Rica and South America. Her previous CEO experience spans Private and Public Sector roles from London Stadium 185 (Olympic Stadium) to the Royal Parks. The role of CEO at BirdWatch Ireland gives her the opportunity to combine her knowledge and experience with her passions.

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Dr. Stephen Newton

Senior Seabird Conservation Officer

Stephen is responsible for managing the long-term conservation projects at Rockabill (Roseate Terns), Kilcoole (Little Terns) and a variety of other seabird monitoring and research initiatives, including the FAME and MarPAMM programmes which have focused on deploying loggers on seabirds to identify key feeding areas and migration strategies.
Away from seabirds, Stephen has coordinated surveys of Choughs, upland birds and was a member of the team who developed the ‘Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland’ concept back in 1999. He is also Chairperson of the Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panel and in his spare-time is a keen local patch ‘Birdtracker’.

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Brian Burke

Conservation Team

Brian is the coordinator of the Irish Garden Bird Survey as well as a key member of the I-WeBS and CBS teams. Under the banner of I-WeBS he coordinates annual nationwide surveys of post-breeding Tern roosts (Aug/Sept) and the Icelandic Goose censuses (Greylag, Pink-foot) in liaison with WWT. Having spent three breeding seasons working on the Rockabill conservation project, Brian retains a strong interest in the monitoring and conservation of our Tern and Gull species. He has a BSc. in Zoology and MSc. in Wildlife Conservation and Management, both from UCD. Brian is also a keen bird ringer.

Kathryn Finney

Curlew EIP Project Manager

Kathryn is the Irish Breeding Curlew EIP Project Manager. An agri-environment specialist, she joined BirdWatch Ireland in 2005 and has worked in breeding waders, scheme design, specialist advisory, habitat management and predator control.
In addition to designing nationally adopted breeding wader schemes, she also worked on the RBAPS project to develop and trial results-based schemes. She has experience in predator proof fence design and habitat restoration for breeding waders.
A graduate of Aberdeen University, she holds an MA degree in Countryside and Environmental Management. Kathryn believes passionately in working in co-operation with farmers to ensure a more sustainable future for Ireland’s biodiversity.

Tara Adcock

Conservation Support Fieldworker

Tara is a Conservation Support Fieldworker on both the Dublin Bay Birds Project and on the EU Life Roseate Tern Recovery project on Dalkey Island, where she works as a warden. These projects involve a variety of elements including Tern monitoring, waterbird censusing, predator control and monitoring, and public engagement. Tara has an MSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare from Queen’s University Belfast and a BSc in Geography from Trinity College Dublin.

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Niall Hatch

Head of Communications & Development

Niall heads up BirdWatch Ireland's membership recruitment, fundraising, education & communications work and edits our membership publications. A keen birdwatcher since early childhood, he is a frequent contributor to radio and television programmes and works closely with our BirdLife International Partners. Niall is a qualified solicitor and is a graduate of University College Dublin and Cornell University, New York.

Oonagh Duggan

Head of Policy and Advocacy

Oonagh heads up the advocacy team which focuses on a better future for birds, their habitats and other biodiversity in Ireland. She has 25+ years experience working for the environment in Ireland and in California including in the areas of climate change, marine and inland waterways, energy policy, and working with farmers on biodiversity issues. Oonagh has worked for business, the Irish government, NGOs and as a self-employed consultant. She holds an undergraduate degree in European Studies and Languages, a Masters in Arts in International Development and a Masters in Science in Biodiversity and Land Use Planning.

Valerie Lowth

Valerie Lowth

Membership and SEUPB Administrator

Valerie joined us 2018. She is responsible for the membership department, Cape Clear bookings and is involved with the shop and general office administration duties. Valerie is the administration assistant on two European projects under the SEUPB umbrella.The SEUPB is responsible for the implementation of the EU’s PEACE IV (€270m) and INTERREG VA (€283m) Programmes. In her spare time she enjoys watching all sports particularly Football, Golf and Rugby. She is a life long Liverpool supporter and also enjoys cinema and socialising with friends. She is a super fan of Game of Thrones.

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Annette Lambkin

Office Manager

Annette has worked with BirdWatch Ireland since 1993 and is the longest serving member of staff. She is responsible for the daily maintenance of accounting records, payroll and office administration. She also assists with the shop and answering the telephone. Annette qualified in 2011 as an Accounting Technician and is a member of Accounting Technicians Ireland. In her spare time she enjoys the Gym and socializing with friends and family.

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Dave Suddaby

Reserves Manager

Dave is responsible for overseeing our Reserves work across the country, principally in advising and managing land under our ownership. He also participates in other projects, including those related to breeding waders, seabirds and wintering birds. He is based out at our Mayo Office on the Belmullet Peninsula and joined BirdWatch Ireland in 2001 to lead and deliver on a LIFE-Nature funded project based at the Termoncarragh Lake SPA. This has resulted in the successful restoration of our Annagh Marsh Reserve and the ultimate return of breeding Red-necked Phalaropes. Before joining us, Dave worked on a variety of projects linked with seabird research and monitoring, and wetland ecological management for breeding waders.

Andrew Lynch

CBS National Coordinator

Andrew is the National Coordinator of the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS). CBS has been in operation since 1998 and its primary aim is to monitor breeding bird populations in the Republic of Ireland. Andrew is responsible for carrying out the general administration of the CBS project and is the main point of contact for volunteer surveyors. Previously he was the East Coast Nature Reserve warden, responsible for the day to day running of our flagship reserve. He holds an MSc in Environmental Management (Countryside Management / Protected Area Management) from Birkbeck, University of London.

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Dick Coombes

CBS National Coordinator

Dick is National Coordinator of the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS). He oversees some 380 sample sites across the country which are surveyed by over 220 participants annually, most of whom are volunteers. He participates in several other surveys including I-WeBS and the Swift Survey and is a regular contributor to Wings magazine. Dick has had a lifelong interest in birds and is always especially active in spring and autumn when migration is in full swing. Dick is a frequent visitor to Cape Clear Island where he holds a week-long course every year. For more than 10 years, he has been studying and documenting the colonisation of Ireland by Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

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Anita Donaghy

Assistant Head of Conservation

Anita heads up the Species and Land Management section of the Conservation Division. She has been with BirdWatch Ireland for over ten years, previously completing her PhD on the management of habitats for Corncrakes in the Shannon Callows. She oversees a range of projects and work areas related to practical conservation management for some of Ireland’s most threatened species, including Corncrakes, breeding waders and seabirds.

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Helen Boland

Dublin Bay Birds Project Manager

As manager of the Dublin Bay Birds Project (supported by Dublin Port Company) Helen’s primary interest is in the wintering waterbirds and breeding terns of Dublin Bay. Since joining in 2003, Helen has worked on a range of projects with BirdWatch Ireland including garden birds, terns and seabirds. But with 10 years as I-WeBS Organiser, and her involvement in several wader colour-ringing schemes, her main expertise is in coastal waterbirds. Helen is carrying out PhD research on wintering wader ecology, distribution and population trends, and the factors influencing them, including climate change and human-related disturbance. Helen enjoys the connections with other organisations, researchers and enthusiasts that the study of migratory birds brings about.

Ricky Whelan

Project Officer - Citizen Science and Outreach

Ricky is a Project Officer with BirdWatch Ireland overseeing many aspects of our citizen science and outreach work as well as playing a key role in the Dublin Bay Birds Project and Urban Birds Project. Ricky coordinates our work on Swifts including our County Swift Surveys as well as other seasonal volunteer surveys including Project Lapwing and Riverbird Surveys. As part of his work Ricky hosts many bird and wildlife related events. Ricky started his career in the UK working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as part of their reserve’s teams in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Ricky has a BSc in Zoology from NUI Galway, is an experienced bird ringer and is involved in various wildlife related voluntary roles outside of work.

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Daniel Moloney

CABB Breeding Wader Advisory Officer

Daniel is the Breeding Wader Advisory Officer on the Cooperating Across Borders for Biodiversity Project (CABB). His role is the management of breeding wader sites in the border counties. He has been working with Birdwatch Ireland since 2008 where he initially spent 5 years on the corncrake project based in Co Donegal. Daniel is a keen birdwatcher in his local peninsula and is involved in various voluntary projects as well as having a keen interest in the monitoring of Raptors in the North West.

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Brian Caffrey

Brian Caffrey

Assistant Head - Surveys & Monitoring

Brian heads up the Survey and Monitoring section of the Conservation Division. He has been with BirdWatch Ireland since 2003, previously working on a range of projects including Corncrakes, bird atlases, corporate engagement and citizen science. Brian is responsible for the volunteer surveys and research projects which allow us to monitor the changing status of birds in Ireland, helping us to focus our conservation work on our most threatened birds and habitats. A graduate from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Gloucestershire he holds a BSc in Environmental Management and Policy. Based in the Midlands Office in Banagher, he loves living in the Shannon Callows, but also enjoys escaping to the coast for a bit of whale watching.

Steve Wing

Cape Clear Wildlife Officer

Steve runs the day to day operation of the BirdWatch Ireland Bird Observatory on Cape Clear Island, where he has been involved with the ‘Bird Obs’ since 1998. Steve carries out daily bird surveys around the island, seasonal breeding seabird surveys, bird ringing in the famous Cotters Garden in addition to a constant effort ringing site on the island. Over the years, Steve has welcomed many thousands of guests to the Obs, showcasing the impressive wildlife found on Cape Clear. His Birding interest began while living and working on Lundy, another ‘bird’ famous island, in the Bristol Channel.

Lesley Lewis

Project Manager I-WeBS & CBS

Lesley began working for BirdWatch Ireland in 2009, initially as a waterbird ecologist to NPWS, but from 2014 worked on a variety of other projects before taking over the project management of the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) and the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) in 2017. Lesley has a BSc in Zoology and a PhD in shorebird ecology from University College Cork and maintains a research interest in shorebird ecology and human disturbance.

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Niamh Fitzgerald

I-WeBS National Coordinator

Niamh started with BirdWatch Ireland as an Intern to the conservation team and is now the National Organiser of the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS). She coordinates the survey and its 400 plus participants – largely consisting of volunteers. This work is instrumental in monitoring waterbird populations and protecting the wetlands they rely on.

Sinéad Loughran

Marine Policy and Advocacy Officer

Sinéad is advocating for seabirds and healthy marine ecosystems as part of the Fair Seas marine protected area campaign. She recently graduated from Dublin City University with an MSc in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society. My dissertation, 'Crossing whose boundaries? Transboundary species management and environmental harms’, used a green criminology approach to focus on climate change and biodiversity and explored the environmental harms caused by transboundary bilateral agreements and management practices related to biodiversity. She has several years’ experience in project management in the private sector. She is a member of the An Taisce Climate Committee and in my spare time, she enjoys hiking, swimming and bird watching.

Alan McCarthy

Barn Owl Project Officer

Alan joined BirdWatch Ireland as the Barn Owl Project Officer in April 2022. He graduated from University College Cork with a BSc. (Hons) in Ecology in 2017. During his four years as an undergraduate student, he advanced his lifelong interest in wildlife, particularly birds. Following his undergraduate studies, Alan commenced his PhD, which examined the seasonal ecology and conservation of Hen Harriers in Ireland. His PhD research was wide-ranging and included dietary analysis, prey abundance surveys and a satellite tracking study. Alan submitted his PhD thesis in early April 2022, including a suite of conservation recommendations aimed at addressing the pressures experienced by Hen Harriers across their life cycle. Alan has a wide range of experiences in ornithological research and conservation in Ireland. He has been assisting with Barn Owl conservation efforts for the last number of years, including nest box and monitoring projects. He is also a trained ‘C’ permit bird ringer.