This is the team of people who work for the National Advocacy Service
Joanne is the National Manager of the National Advocacy Service (NAS). Joanne has worked with NAS since 2014, working as a Regional Manager until November 2022. She has 22 years’ experience in a variety of roles across the health, social care and advocacy sector and has over 19 years of senior management experience. Joanne holds a Degree in Social Science and a Masters in Youth & Community work, a Diploma in Leadership (DIT/IBEC), an Award in Managing People (DIT/college of Business), a QQI level 6 Special Purpose Award in Training & Development and a QQI Level 7 qualification in Patient Safety Complaints Advocacy.
Joanne has a particular interest in advocacy practice and policy development and has played a central role in the development of NAS’s suite of Advocacy policies. She also has a keen interest in supported decision making and has written and presented on this topic extensively, particularly in the lead up to the commencement of the ADM (Capacity) Act. Joanne is a member of the HSE National Disability Consultative Forum, a member of the National Care Experience Programme Steering group, a member of the HSE’s Under 65 Stakeholder Reference Group and a member of the HSE’s ADM Implementation Steering Group among others.
Corporate Services Manager
Elmar Jansen joined the National Advocacy Service (NAS) in November 2020 as Corporate Services Manager. He has extensive experience in the Finance sector.
Elmar gained a Business Degree in Germany in 1995. He started work with Schnittger & Associates, a chartered account company in Dublin. In 2000, he took up the role as Finance Manager of Lufthansa Global TeleSales in the Eastpoint Business Park. In 2006, he became the Finance Director of the National Institute for Bioprocessing and Training (NIBRT). During his 13 years in NIBRT, a 6500 square meter research and training facility was built and 75 new staff were hired.
Policy, Communications and Research Officer
Dearbhla is the Policy, Research and Communications Officer at the National Advocacy Service (NAS). She joined NAS recently after working in media and communications for over ten years across Europe and the Middle East. During this time, she worked with a range of organisations partnering with and/or targeting governmental, non-governmental and private sector actors. Dearbhla holds a Masters in Journalism, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a BA in French and Sociology. She has considerable experience working for non-profit organisations on key thematic issues under the UN sustainable development goals, and has written extensively on disability rights, women's empowerment and education. Dearbhla has a special interest in working with intersecting and marginalised communities. As a person with a disability, she has gained a much deeper insight into the need to advocate for improved public services and increased awareness on the issues affecting the disability sector.
Greater Dublin Regional Manager
Suzy Byrne is the Regional Manager in the Greater Dublin Region which includes Dublin and Wicklow. Suzy joined NAS in 2011 and has a background in community development and rights work. She has a particular interest in access to justice issues and the right to a family life for people with disabilities. Suzy was appointed to the board of Iarnród Eireann in 2018 by the Minister for Transport and Sport as a person with a disability.
Midlands/North East Regional Manager
Mark has worked in the disability advocacy sector for the last 13 years. He has a particular interest in including the voice of disabled persons in decisions that directly impact on their lives, and people’s right to make their own decisions in life. Mark has previously campaigned on fundamental rights issues such as the use of seclusion in schools and assisted decision-making. Mark is passionate about human rights, having studied in this area and is a past member of a large residential setting Human Rights Committee and a past board member of the Children’s Rights Alliance.
Southern Regional Manager
Micheál is the Regional Manager for the Southern Region of the National Advocacy Service (NAS), covering the counties: Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. Micheál has over 13 years of senior management experience in a number of roles across the health and social care sector and within the sphere of equality diversity and inclusion (EDI). Micheál has been involved in the development and growth of social care and community organisations within these areas and has a particular interest in the development of social policy reports to highlight gaps for change for marginalised groups.
Prior to joining NAS, Micheál has worked in the area of advocacy and support to survivors of childhood abuse and was instrumental in the development of social policy documents and representative advocacy in this area. Additionally, Micheál led in the development of purpose-built support structures for migrant populations across the geographical region of responsibility. He was also the training manager of a large Multinational organisation which involved work in Ireland, the UK and India. A graduate of both the Waterford Institute of Technology and Southeast Technological University in the area of social care, Micheál has a particular interest in social policy and inclusion of marginalised groups. He continues this work through voluntary Board memberships. One a regional organisation focused on EDI across the Southeast of Ireland and continued support to organisations who support survivors of abuse.
Western Regional Manager
Anne is the NAS Western Region Manager covering counties Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Clare and Limerick. Anne has previously worked in Business Development, HR and Consultancy roles in companies across Europe the US and Australasia. She has established, managed and advanced businesses in sectors including HR, Services, Technology and Manufacturing before moving into the Public Sector.
Prior to joining NAS, Anne was employed in the area of Supported Employment, advocating for people with disabilities to source and secure paid mainstream employment across the North West of Ireland. She has a Masters in Leadership & Management in the Public and Community Sector and a Degree in European Studies and a Diploma in Digital Marketing. Anne has a particular interest in client centered empowerment to enhance organisational service delivery.