Meet the Team
The IBA Board of Directors are elected by our membership at our AGM’s. The roles are voluntary and with term limits.
Directors take on specialist responsibilities within the IBA. We also have a number of non director roles and sub committees within our organisation.
Board of Directors
Damien Mac Aodha
Damien Mac Aodha began beekeeping since retiring seven years ago. Damien worked professionally in a special needs school in Dublin before migrating to Corcha Dhuibhne.
He also served as Chairman of the Primary School and Board member Second level. Damien is also a former Company Secretary and Director of Community and Cultural Clg.
Honoured to be assisting Peter McEvoy, Company Secretary IBA. Clg, since 2021.
Seal ar Bhord na Mumhan MFG teoranta. Béarla réasúnta líofa ach Gaeilge mar rogha teanga gnó.
Mr Peter McEvoy has been Secretary of the IBA clg since 2021 while being assisted by Damien Mac Aodha.
Mr McEvoy was a career member of the HSE in his professional capacity.
Public Relations Officer
Colette O’Connell, is a third generation beekeeper and began beekeeping in the 1990’s in Co. Waterford, where she was tutored by some of the greats, many no longer with us, Claire Chavasse, Tom and Noel Lonergan, (The Tailors in Cappoquin), Martin the Captain Curran whose sons PJ and Jack, daughter Mary, continue in beekeeping, Michael Moynihan and his son Micheál, who with his son now continue the family business, Moynihan’s Honey.
After a break of several years, with serious environmental battles which ended in success at the European Court of Justice, she returned to the world of beekeeping. Determined to give back some of what the previous generation gave she threw herself into the Co. Waterford Beekeepers’ Association and was secretary for three years before taking on the role of Chairperson for three years.
During that time, Co. WBKA have been overall runners up in the Waterford City and County Community and Voluntary Awards; and in subsequent years won the Environmental Section of these awards. Under her lead and working in partnership with the local authority. Co. WBKA set up it’s own apiary. The apiary has been a huge bonus for beekeepers and a focal point during the summer months; the experienced eyes and hands showing how quickly a virgin is found, handled and marked; whilst the conversation continues on how many supers are on hives and comparisons and suggestions shared. An experience not to be missed!!!
Colette is one of two elected Environmental representatives on the Waterford Secretariat and uses this position to highlight and put in place practical measures to assist pollinators and honey bees.
In 2016, Colette was given the honour of being “Honey Queen” and represented beekeepers around the country. Colette was involved in setting up the Native Irish Honey Bee Society, (NIHBS) and acted as Honorary Secretary for the society during it’s inaugural year. She is a staunch supporter of our Native Irish Honey Bee, Apis m. mellifera.
Colette has four children, now young adults, some of whom continue in University. All have assisted her with beekeeping; with the younger two enjoying the Gormanston experience. Dominique with the assistance of Micheal and Aoife Mac Giolla Coda, did some research on the grooming characteristics of Apis m. mellifera, which culminated in prize winning Projects at the BT Young Scientist and at GMIT and at the Eco Unesco Young Environmental Awards.
Colette believes that Ireland needs a fair and equal organisation to promote honey bees and foster mutual respect amongst all beekeepers. For this reason she supports the creation of The Irish Beekeepers’ Association, CLG
Research, Health & Safety
Alan Forskitt, is a beekeeper based in the Galtee Valley in Tipperary. He is active in beekeeping for over a decade. His wife thought that it would be good to keep bees, he agreed and they decided to keep native bees with as little management as possible. The next day his wife decided that he would look after them as she was working full time and he was not.
After joining the South Tipp Beekeepers Association, he went on their beginners’ course and became hooked. Following this, he was on their committee for 3 years and after helping set up the 3 Counties Beekeepers Association, he became their assistant secretary & honey show secretary.
He is also on the NIHBS committee, specifically in their conservation group, and has an interest in their scientific funding budget use.
During his early years as a beekeeper, Alan was mentored by Micheál Mac Giolla Coda who helped him immensely through a couple of not so good years. Alan can safely say that he encountered most things that could go wrong with a hive in those early years and was steered thorough them by Micheál.
Alan is always keen to help beginners and have mentored many of them in the same way he was. This is the best way to for beginners to learn beekeeping and Alan am always keen to promote mentoring as a necessity for all new beekeepers.
It will be good to see the IBAclg develop further in the way that we have started, being clear and open in what we do. Alan know’s that we can succeed well into the future by building on the blocks that have already been laid.
Alan would like to see the IBA start a research fund for projects especially where the health benefits of honey and disease resistance of honey bees are concerned.
Alan also wishes to see IBAclg becoming involved with the GLAS scheme to develop better bee and pollinator friendly actions for the scheme, develop links with the Heritage Council and others regarding pollinator initiatives, while still maintaining our links with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
David Lee, of Kildorrey, Co. Cork, father of five and grandfather to five, lover of dogs and honeybees, is supported by his silent partner in the background, Maureen. David proudly tells us that Maureen under took an up-skills course in computers to be a more effective support to David and the many, many campaigns he is involved in.
Her skills have also been put to good use for David’s many beekeeping contacts around the country…..a special thanks to Maureen, the lady of the house, who always has a smile and good natured words for us when she answers the phone in the Lee residence.
A fisherman, David is Chairman of his local fishing club, and he is also a farmer.
A Master Beekeeper, a past president of FIBKA tells me that David has been the “favoured lecturer on mead making within FIBKA for many years”. I also learned from another reliable source that he has won many prizes for Ireland, over the years, for his Mead and honey and other products at the World Honey show in London.
Advocate for bees and beekeepers for many years, David continues to travel tirelessly around the countryside to assist beekeepers in any way he can; teaching, lecturing, assisting the setting of up local associations, you name it, David has done it and continues to do it!
Staunch environmentalist and part of the sustainable network, David is a Director of SWAN, a body pursuing clean water and a reduction in green house emissions. SWAN has 3 full-time staff and assists government agencies providing the public with a voice on environmental issues such as fracking. David tells me that “..SWAN is best described as an advocate for the public.”
A current live issue for David is the EU Water Framework directive which came into force in 2012 and which will impose huge fines on Ireland due to Ireland’s non compliance with the Directive.
David is also part of a company which was formed to improve the quality of the water of the River Funcheon from a scale of 3 to 4 within a three year period. David explains that water quality is measured on a scale of 1 to 5. He further explains to me that LAWCO was formed to implement this throughout the 52 county councils throughout the country. Farmers and fisherman are represented by LAWCO through the goals of clean water and reduction of emissions.
David, advocate for the environment and bees, argues that beekeepers need to achieve these goals too. Clean water and a clean environment will benefit honey bees and all pollinators. He argues that with the contacts of LAWCO in Europe, these contacts can be used to benefit beekeepers in Ireland and throughout Europe, for example by pushing for a total ban on neonicotinoids, whilst also encouraging farmers to reduce their use of pesticides and allowing forage areas for honeybees and pollinators on farmland etc.
David firmly believes that “working together, fishermen, farmers and beekeepers, supported by local groups can work together to build a sustainable environment.” David further states that “local communities know best how to achieve sustainable environments within their locality. Groups such as LAWCO provide a voice to achieve these ends.”
And David, advocate for our environment, and for beekeepers, firmly believes that “beekeepers need to move now to protect honeybees and all pollinators for the good of our planet and mankind”.
We in the IBAclg are lucky to have a director with such drive and far sight, working alongside us to pursue these common goals. Together, we can and will move mountains!
Stephen Gallagher is a North Kildare based beekeeper involved in the craft since 2016. He has been an IBA clg director since 2020 & the appointed technology officer. He specializes in the technology and media asset needs for the association and its affiliate branches. Steve works on our webinar content, websites, social media and other digital assets.
Steve runs a number of beekeeping related personal projects; most notably Swarms.ie, Ireland’s honeybee rescue network (999 for bees). Swarms.ie is a network of 600+ beekeepers across the island of Ireland who respond to swarm calls originating from the public. Swarms.ie also coordinates colony removals from property where removal can be achieved safety and successfully.
Steve is interested in cutting edge beekeeping technology as it applies practically to the craft, such as utilizing CAD design and 3D printing to produce tools for the apiary and the beekeeper.
Caroline McDonald, is the current head of the IBAclg Education Subcommittee.
Caroline is based in Kildare and is a dual member of both North Kildare Beekeepers & Eblana Beekeepers (based in Lucan).
Myfanwy Blissett, lives in Castlecove, Co. Kerry and works part-time in tourism. Since her sons have flown the nest, she has taken up beekeeping under the care of the Sneem Beekeepers’ Association. Since early 2021, Myfanwy has taken the torch of Editor of the IBAclg Newsletter.
“Beekeeping has a wonderful social element, in that people from all different walks of life come together through their love and respect for bees. We have much to learn from the bees and from each other.”
Andrew Shinnick joined the board of the IBA in 2021.
A 3rd generation beekeeper, Andrew has won numerous awards for his honey; Blackwater Honey, including a gold and silver in the blas na eireann awards. An active member of the Irish Defense Forces, Andrew splits his time between work, family and bees in Lucan, co Dublin. His home association is Eblana Beekeeping.
Other Officers of the IBAclg
Denis O’Sullivan, is a second generation beekeeper born into a small farm in a townland named Insebuí in the
Dromid Gaeltacht near Waterville in Southwest Kerry.
“My father is still farming with my older brother there and they still keep a few hives. Bee foraging in this beautiful exposed rugged landscape is predominantly heather on the bogs and the hillsides. The two other main sources are bramble and gorse.
The latter two are quickly declining due to modern farming and hedge cutting.
We never extracted honey at home growing up just kept taking ‘robbing’ frames (often one by one) of honey from the supers and cutting the comb from the frames. Today I live with my wife and our four boys aged between 14 and 8. The only livestock we have are the bees!
We live in Killarney near my wife’s family farm in equally beautiful countryside. Lifestyle is is much different nowadays. From a beekeepers’ perspective life is not so simple. When I was young I never heard of disease control or medicine. I thought swarming was the only ‘’disease’ that we should worry about. Now swarming is the only thing that has remained, and of course we know it is the bees’ natural way to survive into the future.
So, the bees have not changed. We have.
Farming methods today are only faint reflections of what was done 35-40 years ago. Gardening has also changed in many ways also. We blame the varroa or the infected bee for declining populations. Perhaps we should not look beyond ourselves when the finger of blame is being pointed for the decline in numbers of our beloved honeybee. I am not against development and progress. I enjoy convenience and technology just as much as everybody
else. Perhaps we should look at a way where wildlife could get more consideration in everyday life, after all we a merely the caretakers of this environment for the next generation. We have admitted our failings and I welcome the rollout of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2025. This is a great step in the right direction by our current administration.
I am currently secretary of Beaufort Beekeepers Association. Our club has just over 50 members at present (April 2021) I am excited for the IBA since rumblings of its foundation. I am happy to be your treasurer but in truth equally anxious about my role. I feel obligated to you, our members who took a leap of faith on a new fresh open way of doing things. My wish for the IBA and its members is do the simple things and do them well. Give power and a voice to its members regardless of their colony numbers. I believe together we are the Meitheal* that happens to be the IBA. Yes of course there will be leaders, in your association and in the company.”
These same leaders are not there to tell you what to do and how you should do it. These leaders are there with you, guiding and helping you on a path that ensures your enjoyment and accomplishments as a beekeeper. Huge progress has been made by the IBA in such a short time period and its founders need to be commended for this.
The future is bright I believe together we will achieve great things. The best is yet come.
*Gaelic word for group of people working together for the common good.
Garrett Dempsey, is the current Membership Secretary of the IBA clg. He has assisted the IBA as its company secretary until 2021 and had acted in this capacity, bringing his wealth of industrial knowledge to Irish Beekeeping, since 2018.
Garrett joined North Kildare Beekeepers in 2014 and spent the first year watching and learning, including attending the 8-week Spring beekeeping course.
Then in 2015, he commenced as a beekeeper with native Irish honeybees and Swienty poly-hives in a small apiary along The Grand Canal.
He acted as Hon. Secretary in North Kildare from 2016 to 2019, one of the largest beekeeping associations in the country (over 300 members). Garrett is a founding member and Secretary of Eblana Beekeepers Association, based in Dublin.
Garrett works as a Finance Director and also has experience as a director and company secretary and was delighted to join the IBAclg board as company secretary in March 2018.
IBA clg Company Particulars
Company number: 614820
Unit 2, The Reeks Gateway, Tralee Road, Killarney, Co Kerry V93 TX94
Damien Mac Aodha, Colette O’Connell, Caroline McDonald, Alan Forskitt, Stephen Gallagher, David Lee, Andrew Shinnick