How We Operate

Our People


Dara Hogan, Finance Director

I’m a retired Chartered Management Accountant with extensive, board-level experience in the logistics and FMCG sectors. The last 7 years of my career were in social enterprise at An Cosán in Tallaght West where I devised the award-winning Fledglings Early Years group of 8 crèches / pre-schools for families in areas of deprivation.

I have had a life-long commitment to the sport and not-for-profit sectors. In the 1970s I was a volunteer soup-runner for the Simon Community and Treasurer of the Irish Underwater Council. More recently I chaired the Irish Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (IHPA) for more than a decade and I have been Director / Treasurer of the National Aero Club of Ireland (NACI) since 2006.

I’m a HAI member since 2005 and in May 2018 I responded to HAI’s appeal for a director with finance skills. Since my appointment, I registered HAI with Revenue and set up payroll and monthly management accounts in the cloud. I have also built an integrated database in QuickBooks for celebrants’ ceremonies.

I’m a husband, father and grandfather who loves having time with Mary (also retired) and my family. I’m also an active paraglider pilot and a musician.

Michael O’Kane

I have been a HAI member since 2018 but have been an avid humanist for many years before that. One of my passions around humanism is enjoying life and inspiring people to learn, engage and listen. This is especially so as we seek to unite our members more around the humanist values we cherish and want to see enhanced in this time of great change, socially and ecologically, across all ages and social groups within the humanist community. My aim as a Board member is to help create more local, regional events and to develop this concept with all our members and also promoting one day having a wider global humanist Ireland event. I support wider communication and regulatory compliance for the association and have already been working through these topics with the board. Besides being a committed Humanist, I am also a linguist speaking fluent Irish, Spanish, German and some French and Polish too. I am an avid open water swimmer and have recently qualified as an Open Water Level 2 swimming coach.

Naomi Doyle

As member of the HAI since 2018, I was delighted to join the HAI Board in 2021. I’m hugely passionate about facilitating and supporting mindset change and equipping people to think differently and am looking forward to contributing to the further development, growth, and success of the HAI in the future.

I was brought up in a non-religious family and attended one of Ireland’s first Educate Together schools. I was always encouraged to be curious, to question and think critically while understanding other points of view. I’m originally a Biomedical Science graduate and more recently a postgraduate in Creativity Innovation & Leadership and have developed a career as a consultant, change strategist, communicator, coach, facilitator and trainer. I have over two decades of experience supporting and developing organisational goals and driving continuous improvement across a wide range of corporate businesses and charities. I’ve worked with many executive boards and bring with me a working knowledge of a Board’s organisational, legal and regulatory responsibilities and the Charities Governance Code.

I believe strongly in an individual’s right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. I’m committed to the protection of Human Rights and defending the right for everyone to choose their beliefs, values and lifestyles (subject only to them not interfering with other people’s rights). I am committed to the mission and values of the HAI and have a specific interest in the areas of secular education especially since becoming a mum. I was married in a Humanist ceremony and live with my husband, son, dogs, and pet sheep on a farm in the Dublin foothills. I’m a Jaffa Cake aficionado, expert parallel parker, and lover of cheese.

Iseult O'Doherty

I joined the HAI three years ago. After an early career as a secondary teacher in Dublin’s inner city, I worked for almost ten years as a reporter and presenter in RTE television. During my time there, I worked on many areas of human interest for the Would You Believe programme.

I started work as a senior consultant in Carr Communications in 2020 and currently head up the Business and Management Training department. In 2021, I took on the voluntary role of editor for HAI’s new digital magazine Being Human and I work closely with the editorial team to bring features on life as a humanist. The magazine also provides a platform for contributors to write on areas of humanist interest and I welcome contributions from members.

As a newly appointed Board member, I would like to see membership increase. I would also like the HAI to continue to provide a highly professional service for people at major milestones in their lives.

Patrick Cassidy

I am married with three adult children and six grandchildren. I have a Master's degree in Training & Education, and have had a varied career, from being a training and development manager for a number of multinationals to being the business development manager for an engineering company, supporting the power industry.

Having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith, I began to question my beliefs in my mid-thirties. I looked for like-minded people who were applying critical thinking and scientific inquiry in their lives and was fortunate to become aware of the humanist movement.

I joined the HAI in July 2015, and soon became the convenor for the Kilkenny Humanists group. I am also a Humanist Celebrant, and believe that humanist ceremonies are a great opportunity for people to discover humanism.

I am interested in developing humanist pastoral support for non-religious people and would like to see the HAI providing these services to those who need them.

Gerry Kennedy

I am a practising Barrister, Human Resources specialist and Lecturer. My legal work puts me in situations where I deal with the most vulnerable at difficult times in their lives. I joined the Association arising from my belief in the intrinsic good of people. I have a son and daughter and two grandchildren. Caroline, my partner, and I live in Kinsealy.


Jillian Brennan
Chief Executive Officer

Jillian joined the Humanist Association of Ireland as Operations Manager in July 2020 and was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in July 2021. Prior to joining the HAI, she worked as Operations Manager and Project Manager across financial services and the public sector. Jillian has a BA in Communication Studies, an MSc in Management of Library and Information Services and a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Design and Development. Jillian is committed to the goal of promoting and developing the HAI and to delivering meaningful services to Humanists in Ireland.

Kilda Taylor
Administrator and Company Secretary

Kilda joined the HAI in 2012 and shortly after secured the position of Administrator, which has kept her busy ever since! Apart from overall administration and support for the Chair and the Board, she has more recently been helping to develop and implement a new training programme for celebrants. Her background is a wide variety of jobs in the Civil Service – as a training specialist, and in policy roles in a number of government departments where my work was very varied and interesting – including advising Ministers, writing speeches, drafting regulations, representing Ireland’s interests on EU working groups, and overseeing state bodies. Kilda is a TCD graduate - B.A. Mod., H. Dip. Ed and M.Phil - and also holds an M. Ed in Training and Development from Sheffield University.
A keen nature enthusiast, Kilda enjoys nature, and participates in a monthly bumblebee survey for the National Biodiversity Centre. She also enjoys classical music, literature, and lively discussions about things like equality and the evils of the patriarchy.

Valerie McDonogh Gliffe
Membership and Website Coordinator

Valerie has been working on a part-time basis with the HAI since November 2019. Her role involves dealing with membership queries and she has been heavily involved with the roll-out of the current website and CRM system. Previously, Valerie held a number of different roles with Apple Operations Europe from Customer Service, Call Centre Operations and finally Workforce Management. Valerie is technically very capable, but would not describe herself as an expert in any one particular field. She holds a BSC from the University of Limerick and Master of Business Systems from University College Cork both which were gained as a mature student while parenting two small boys. That time gave her a good insight into how busy people’s lives can be for a variety of reasons and why Valerie expresses the utmost respect for people who serve on our Board in a voluntary capacity in addition to other demands on their time. Together with her co-workers, members of the Board and our Celebrants, she hopes we can make the HAI thrive and promote humanist philosophy in Ireland.

Sylvia Farkasovska

Advocacy and Communications Coordinator

Sylvia joined the Humanist Association of Ireland as Advocacy and Communications Coordinator in January 2022. Prior to this, she worked in a rape crisis centre in the North West as a development and research officer. Sylvia holds an MA in English and Psychology, and LLM in International Human Rights Law. She is currently undertaking her PhD studies in International Law at the Queen’s University Belfast. Sylvia believes in promoting equality and upholding human rights of non-religious people. She is a keen reader and feminist.



Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up today and receive our monthly email newsletter straight to your inbox.