Meet the team

Irish Wetlands Team

IRWC visits The Gearagh, near Macroom in County Cork, October 2011

Irish Wetlands Team
IRWC hosts public event at Scohaboy Bog near Cloughjordan, May 2018

As a group, we meet quarterly to discuss and advance a plan of work that is focussed on achieving our objectives. Our members currently include:

Bridgeen is an Engineer in the Office of Public Works (OPW) her work focuses on environment issues within Flood Risk Management services.  OPW are the lead statutory authority for implementation of flood risk management in Ireland, which includes arterial drainage programmes, flood relief works and implementation of the EU Floods Directive.


CEPA Focal Point

Karin is based at Trinity College Dublin. She sits on the Environment Pillar steering froup, National Biodiversity Forum and Council of the National Economic & Social Council, and on a variety of wetland expert groups. She brings practical wetland protection and restoration experience as well as project design and implementation.

Maurice has worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht since 1999. In 2015 he was appointed Senior Wetland Ecologist with the Science and Biodiversity Unit. Since that time a lot of his work has been on raised bog conservation and restoration, with a focus on efforts to meet Ireland’s commitments to the Habitats Directive. He is responsible for managing survey, research and monitoring work on Ireland’s wetland habitats and for communicating the results of this work within the scientific community and to the public at large.

Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) Coordinator at BirdWatch Ireland

Niamh works for BirdWatch Ireland and sits on the committee as a representative of the Irish Environmental Network (IEN). The IEN is an umbrella network consisting of environmental NGOs that carry out their work through practical conservation work, campaigning, lobbying and raising public awareness of environmental and conservation needs. The network objective is to support environmental NGOs through access to funding and services. Day-to-day Niamh coordinates I-WeBS and its 400 plus participants – largely consisting of volunteers. The survey has monitored wintering waterbirds that use wetlands throughout Ireland, every winter, since 1994. It is instrumental in monitoring waterbird populations and protecting the wetlands they rely on.


Heritage Officer Waterford City &  County Council

Bernadette  works for  Waterford City &  County Council, and is one of twenty eight Heritage Officers employed by local authorities across Ireland. Heritage Officers work to strengthen policy and decision making within the local authority in relation to natural, built and cultural heritage and to provide advice and guidance for the wider community. Bernadette co-ordinates a programme of work in Waterford through the County Heritage and Biodiversity Plans that in recent years has included the production of a County Habitat Map, County Wetlands Survey, Seminars on the Value of Wetlands  and ecological monitoring of  constructed wetlands.


Hydraulic expert, Education Trinity College Dublin


Catherine Keena is a Countryside Management Specialist with Teagasc.



Dr. Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Liam Lysaght is Centre Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, an organisation that collates and manages data on Ireland wildlife.  Wildlife, or biodiversity, data are a key requirement for understanding our natural surroundings, for tracking change in our environment and for gaining a greater insight to how we benefit from, and impact upon, the ecosystem goods and services provided by biological diversity. The Data Centre works with partner organisations and other national initiatives to ensure that biodiversity data is available to assist decision making to benefit biodiversity.

Liam is one of the most experienced conservationists working in Ireland at the moment, having worked on heritage policy advice with the Heritage Council, and prior to that on protected areas management when he was employed as Park Ranger in the Burren National Park.

Graham McGovern, Assistant Principal Officer, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Graham works in the Water Advisory Unit of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. This Unit is responsible for delivering measures to help protect and improve Ireland’s water environment, together with the provision of policy and technical advice to various stakeholders across the water sectors. Graham’s work includes the implementation of measures contained in the 2nd River Basin Management Plan and the production of the 3rd River Basin Management Plan to comply with the EU Water Framework Directive.


Paul works in Research and Development in Inland Fisheries Ireland, conducting research into the ecology and surveys of fish stocks in Ireland’s lakes and rivers.  Paul’s work focuses on the coarse fish species (non-salmonids) and pike.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is the statutory agency responsible for inland fisheries in Ireland. It operates under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and is responsible for the conservation, protection, management, marketing, development and improvement of our inland fisheries and sea angling resources.  Its mission is ”To ensure the valuable natural resources of Inland Fisheries and Sea Angling are conserved, managed, developed and promoted in their own right to generate a positive return for the community and the environment”.

Patrick is a numerical modeller working with the EPA in the Catchments Unit. Patrick has completed a number of research projects involving wetlands including fens, bogs and turloughs, with an emphasis on their hydrological response both through the saturated and unsaturated zones. Patrick retains a keen interest in wetlands in both advancing the understanding of their hydrological processes and in their protection and restoration.


Dr Catherine O’Connell is the Chief Executive of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council. She is a peatland conservation specialist with a considerable breath and depth of experience and knowledge of Ireland’s peatlands. She can engage with all the relevant sectors of society – local communities, central and local government, the peat extraction industry, international agencies, NGO’s, and academic institutions – on a wide variety of peatland issues. She has campaigned vociferously over the years to promote the protection of Ireland’s peatland habitats and is unique in promoting the educational value of Ireland’s peatland heritage.


Gearóid, a native of Thurles, ‘discovered’ Cabragh Wetlands in his adolescent years and found his passion and dedication to the natural world. Fast forward to today, Gearóid is resident in Cloughjordan village and is the Chair of the Cloughjordan Community Development Committee. The committee are the local partners in the LIFE raised bog restoration project at Scohaboy Bog, a national award winning community conservation project with Coillte Forest and the NPWS. Scohaboy forms part of the Community Wetlands Forum and Gearoid is the Forum’s representative on the RAMSAR committee. He is a passionate advocate for community led conservation and community development. Gearóid coordinates the annual Cloughjordan Biodiversity Week Festival, the largest initiative of it’s kind in Ireland and is Vice-Chair of the North Tipperary LEADER Programme Independent Evaluation Committee. These roles are all undertaken in a voluntary capacity.

Mary is one of 20 Teagasc advisors working in a new collaborative targeted “Agricultural Sustainability Support & Advisory Programme “ (ASSAP) which has been jointly funded by DHPLG & DAFM and will be implemented from 2018-2021. Marys function is to improve environmental sustainability of farmers through one to one advice and group/public activities with an initial focus on water quality. She is involved in providing a free advisory service to farmers who manage lands around “critical source areas” of catchments that are currently under significant environmental pressure. These areas have been identified and set out in the River Basin Management plan.

Niall joined the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2001, assigned to the Agricultural Environment and Structures Division working in the Organic Unit based in Johnstown Castle Co. Wexford. In 2008 he moved role within the Division and his duties included the delivery of controls on Argi-Environmental Schemes, e.g. REPS, AEOS and the current scheme GLAS. He was also involved in the design of GLAS. Following promotion in November 2016 he moved to Crop Evaluation & Certification Division based at Backweston Farm, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. He was head of the herbage evaluation section which implements the National Crop Evaluation Programme for grasses and clovers. In March 2019 he moved to the Nitrates Biodiversity and Engineering Division based in Johnstown Castle Co. Wexford and his main responsibilities focus on Biodiversity policy, soils and EIA (agriculture) Regulations.

Micheline is Emeritus Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway, where she lectured in plant ecology and set up the Plant Ecology Research Unit. Her research interests focus on wetland habitats, notably turloughs. Her publications, many with postgraduate students, also include many other wetland habitats such as upland plant communities and threats to them through climate change, peatland rare species and habitats in the west of Ireland, flood-meadows and sustainable agriculture. She continues to research and publish on wetland plant species and habitats.