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.

Staff Member - Declan O'Sullivan (Photo: Dick Coombes)

Declan O'Sullivan

Interim CEO

Declan has been an Interim CEO across a number of industries and NGOs. He holds an MBA, is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, and is a Banking Licentiate of the Irish Institute of Bankers. Declan’s interests include Masters’ Swimming at international level, flying and coffee.

Fintan Kelly

Policy Officer

Fintan is a Policy Officer with BirdWatch Ireland. He works to make Irish fisheries and land-use policies more sustainable for wildlife and people. He has a MSc in Environmental Biology from Utrecht University and a BSc in Environmental Science from NUI Galway. He has previously worked for An Taisce, SWAN and the Irish Wildlife Trust. Fintan likes hiking and running in wild places, photography and travel.

staff-member-at-giant's-causeway

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.

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.

Staff-Dick-Coombes

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.

Steve-Newton-in-a-seabird-colony

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’.

Brian-Burke-Gull-Ringing

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.

Darren Ellis

Little Tern Warden

Darren currently works as a warden on the Little Tern Consevation Project in Kilcoole. Recently he worked as Public Relations & Fundraising Support Officer for BirdWatch Ireland and prior to that he coordinated the National Black Guillemot Survey 2018. He has a MSc. in Biodiversity Conservation from Nottingham Trent University and a BSc. in Environmental Protection from IT Sligo. Darren is a keen birdwatcher and is passionate about the preservation of wildlife and restoration of the natural world.

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.

Niall Hatch wearing headphones in a radio studio

Niall Hatch

Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer

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

Assistant 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 23-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 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.

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.

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.