Misean Cara is guided by a Board of Directors who assist with oversight in matters of governance, organisational and operational issues, policy development, strategy and other areas. Our Board members draw on vast experience in overseas development and humanitarian projects, as well expertise in other areas including marketing, fundraising, financial services, education, healthcare and more. Board members are elected at our AGM and serve for a three-year term. Meet our exceptional team of advisors below.
Appointed to the Board in 2019, Chairperson Kevin Carroll has worked in international development for over 30 years, including with the Irish Aid programme, Trócaire and Concern. During his career he has served overseas in five countries, four in Africa and one in Asia. He has lectured part-time in development studies at University College Dublin. He retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2014 and subsequently worked as a Missionary Development Officer with Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society until early 2019. Kevin is also chair of the Financial Oversight, Risk & Audit Committee.
Sr. Josephine McCarthy
Sr. Josephine McCarthy, a Presentation Sister who has spent over 20 years in Ecuador and Peru, was co-opted to the Board in September 2018 and currently serves as Vice-Chair. She is a coordinator of the Presentation Global Education Experience project, linking teachers and students from Ireland with communities in India and Zambia. She is a Director of the Cork Alliance Centre, providing support for young people on release from prison, and co-ordinates a drop-in centre for immigrants in Cork city.
Co-opted to the Board in November 2020, Charlie Lamson has over 20 years of experience as a not-for-profit leader and fundraising professional in the US and Ireland, most recently as CEO of Sightsavers Ireland. Charlie has also served as Director of Development at Dublin City University Educational Trust, Head of Development for Front Line Defenders, and Corporate Campaigns Manager for Children’s Hospital Boston, and has served as a Board member of Dóchas. His experience in international development includes a posting with the United States Peace Corps in Bulgaria from 1993-1995.
Sr. Franca Onyibor
Sr. Franca Onyibor is a Missionary Sister of the Holy Rosary, with over 20 years of mission experience in Zambia and Nigeria. While serving in Zambia, she pioneered the ‘Education for Social Transformation Program’, which combines the teaching of science with ‘Training for Transformation’ programmes for students and teachers. With a background in counselling, spirituality and non-violent communication, Sr. Franca introduced a ‘Non-Violent Communication for Social Change’ programme in Nigeria, establishing support systems for dialogue and peace building in partnership with national and international teams. She also pioneered ‘Drinking from a Common Well’ a project to promote inter-religious dialogue in communities with both Christian and Muslim populations. Sr. Franca has also worked on the rights of children in the inner-city area of Chicago, and also with international teams tackling child labour. With a background in the An Tairseach programme at the Dominican Centre in Wicklow, Sr. Franca is passionate about ecological and environmental issues, and works to create environmental awareness in Nigeria and beyond. She joined the Misean Cara Board in June 2021.
Fr. Seamus O'Neill
Fr. Seamus O’Neill joined the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan in 1967 and was ordained as a priest in 1974. He has worked extensively as a missionary in Turkana, Kenya first in the 1970s and again in the 1990s, later serving as the Chancellor of Lodwar Diocese in Kenya until 2002. Fr. Seamus undertook post-graduate studies in philosophy at Fordham University, New York in 1977, and later taught philosophy and directed the congregation’s Student Formation Programme in Ireland. In 2002, he was appointed the Congregational Leader of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, continuing in that role until 2014, and currently serves as the congregation’s Bursar General. Fr. Seamus joined the Misean Cara Board in June 2021 and is also the Chairperson of Misean Cara’s Financial Oversight, Risk & Audit Committee (FORAC).
Since 2007, Sandra Neville has worked primarily in the area of safeguarding, serving in a Diocesan setting and more recently with various religious congregations and societies. She was also the Safeguarding Advisor for Misean Cara from 2016 to 2018. Sandra’s work in safeguarding has taken her throughout the Global South as a consultant with many faith-based organisations and NGOs. She has also completed training in CHS (Core Humanitarian Standards) investigation and has undertaken investigations in Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sandra's background is in nursing and midwifery and in this capacity has worked in Zimbabwe, DRC, Rwanda, Lesotho and South Africa, both in development and emergency projects. Sandra joined the Misean Cara Board in June 2021.
Rev John Parkin
A retired Methodist Minister and native of Yorkshire, Rev John Parkin spent several years working with Christian Aid (India, Pakistan and Ethiopia). He also travelled with the Methodist World Development and Relief Fund in Ghana, South Sudan, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. His focus on the promotion of human rights includes a post as an election observer in South Africa in 1994 during the country’s first full democratic elections, and as a human rights observer in Palestine. Rev Parkin earned a PhD in Geology from Trinity College Dublin before studying theology in Belfast to become a Methodist Minister. From 1987 to 2012 Rev Parkin served congregations around Ireland including Dublin, the Midlands, and twelve years in Waterford, where he was a dedicated advocate for the community’s immigrant community. He has lived in Ireland since 1971 and is a naturalised Irish citizen. Rev Parkin is the current Chairperson of Kairos Ireland.
Philip’s experience in international development includes specialties in health and educational strategy development, organisational strategy and change; fundraising; child rights; and public policy and advocacy. Much of his career was spent abroad in senior leadership positions and in multiple roles with UNICEF in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, New York, Kenya, Sudan and Bangladesh. He served with Concern Worldwide in Yemen, Tanzania and Bangladesh. He also held a global leadership role with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Geneva and Washington. Philip is currently President Emeritus of the Board of Association Montessori Internationale, and a founding member of UNICEF Hungary. He holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Science and a Diploma in Social Policy and Administration. Philip joined the Board in 2023.
Eileen has a background in community development having worked with the Society of St Vincent de Paul for 18 years. From 2016 to 2019, she was CEO of international development and volunteering charity SERVE during which time she travelled in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. Her international development experience is in the areas of youth, vocational education and community based initiatives. She has worked on projects with several missionary congregations. Currently, she is working with the University of Limerick coordinating their community based CWELL diploma. Eileen runs her own non-profit consultancy and is currently a PhD candidate researching Irish missionaries’ response to evolving development discourse.
Aidan Eames is the former Managing Partner of Eames Solicitors, a business law firm. He is currently a practicing solicitor and consultant with Clark Hill LLP, a large US law firm with offices in Dublin, where he continues his legal work having merged his business with that firm in 2022. Aidan specialises in the areas of regulation and governance in for-profit and not-for-profit organisations and charities and also works in the areas of litigation and commercial law, technology and renewable energy law. He advises and has acted as a member and chairman of a number of charitable organisations and is active in several policy organisations relating to Irish enterprise and technology. He was previously the Chairman and Acting CEO of the Agency for Personal Services Overseas/APSO. Aidan joined the Misean Cara board in 2023.
Elizabeth has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years, in Ireland and abroad, most recently as Director of People, Programmes & Strategic HR with The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of charities, community groups and social enterprises. This involved the development and implementation of the programmes and HR strategy, providing supports to The Wheel’s more than 2,300 members.
Elizabeth has previous experience of working for three years on an international development agriculture project in rural Uganda, and has served on the board of Comhlamh. She was co-opted to the Misean Cara board in December 2023.