Meet the Team

Meet the Team

High standards begins with good governance

Central to maintaining, reviewing and enhancing the experience of all who engage with the Irish college of Humanities and Applied Sciences is the governing authority. The  governing authority in ICHAS is represented by members from an external background and members from the college. The Governing authority in made up of 7 members with the majority of members being external members.

External members have to have extensive experience, knowledge and understanding of the requirements in relation to being a 3rd level provider. The external members of the governing authority all have extensive experience in public life and have an clear understanding of the requirement of ICHAS to deliver a quality service to it students

John Lonergan

John is a native of Bansha, Co. Tipperary.  He served in the Irish Prison Service for over 42 years.   He was Governor of Mountjoy Prison for over 22 years and Governor of the top security prison at Portlaoise for 4 years.   He retired in June 2010 and later that year his autobiography “The Governor” was published.

Dr John Gaffney

John was born in Midleton, Co Cork and educated initially at Midleton CBS. He graduated from UCC with an Honours degree in Applied Psychology and Economics. He subsequently studied at Queens University and graduated from there with an M.A. and PHD. He worked in educational research at the Mater Dei Institute of Education and for the HSE in Dublin and later as a Guidance Counsellor at Maynooth Post Primary School. John recently retired from his position as Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Sligo Institute of Technology where he lectured since 1979.

Gerry Kearney

Gerry served as Secretary General (SG) in the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2002 to end 2009.  Prior to that time he worked across a range of Government Departments including Finance, Revenue, the Tánaiste’s Office and the Department of Labour.

He has been involved with a number of public service reform initiatives including FOI and Ethics, as well as Active Citizenship.

Since completing his term as SG, Gerry undertakes corporate governance work and he has also taken on membership of a number of boards.  He is Chairman of the Irish College of Humanities and Applied Sciences, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, and of the Revenue Audit Committee.

Dr. Noel Colleran

Noel is principal of Templemore College of Further Education and has been involved in education provision for over 25 years. He has worked in the areas of disadvantage and marginalised youth and was part of the national development of the Youthreach programme. As an educationalist he has specialist knowledge in the area of curriculum development and provision

Maria Carmody

Maria Carmody worked in Irish industry for over 20 years prior to becoming president of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Institute of Ireland. She has specialist knowledge in co-ordinating programme provision and engaging with providers statutory, voluntary and commercial to promote and advance the college.

In 2012 she took over the role of Director of Corporate Affairs, a role which focuses on future development of the college across new areas of academic provision.

Declan Carey CEO

A graduate and former lecturer at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth he is a founding member of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Institute of Ireland.He has been at the forefront of the development of counselling and psychotherapy in Ireland for the past 15 years through the development of independently accredited and validated programmes he has worked to develop new strands of counselling in areas such as youth, guidance and adolescents provisions.

Professor Denis Ryan

Professor Ryan is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s  leading academic thinkers in the areas of health and social care provision.  In 2009 he was appointed by the college as Director of Academic Affairs and in this role he has been central to the college’s continuing development and expansion.

He also holds a number of European academic posts including thosel as a visiting Lecturer with the University of Hull and as Visiting Professor with the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium.

Meet the Members of our Faculty

Ailbe Coffey

M.A.; B.A.; B.Eng.; C.Mgt; MAPCP

Ailbe has been a long serving member of the lecturing staff at ICHAS, as well as an experienced accredited counsellor and clinical supervisor for several years. Currently he is a Senior lecturer and Program Lead on the undergraduate BA program in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies. He holds a B.A. (1st Hons) degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy in addition to a Masters of Arts (1st Hons) degree in Clinical Supervision in Professional Practice. He previously obtained an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Limerick in 1995, followed by a postgraduate in Management from the Open University in 2002. He has worked in industry management for 13 years.  Since 2002, he has refocused his career on the helping and counselling professions, where he currently provides a range of services, across training, education, counselling, human development, as well as academic and clinical supervision in professional practice.

Christine Beekman

Christine has been a member of the ICHAS lecturing staff since 2008, providing instruction on both the BA and MA programmes. She has a Masters in Psychoanalysis in addition to professional qualifications in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Stress Management, Bio-spiritual and Empathic Communication, Spiritual Development and Coaching. She also has many qualifications in complementary therapies such as Reiki and Dream therapy. She has been in private practice since 1997 using counselling, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and alternative therapies; and is fluent in English, Dutch/Flemish and German. In addition to her interest in complementary therapies, Christine also specialises in youth & adolescence; using group activities such as the exploration of life values/morality, habit management etc. as a means of encouraging young people to further their development and explore their identity.

Prof  Denis Ryan

Denis  was appointed Foundation Professor of Counselling & Psychotherapy with the National Counselling & Psychotherapy Institute of Ireland in 2009. Prior to that Denis had over 33 years experience in the delivery, management and education sectors in Health and Social Care in Ireland and internationally. He has held academic posts at lecturer and Senior Lecturer level with the University of Limerick as well as with the University of Applied Science in Utrecht, the Netherland and had a three-year appointment as visiting Clinical Lecturer with the University of Hull and as Visiting Professor with the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium.  and has held taught on programmes with University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology and Dundalk Institue of Technology in Ireland. He has provided guest lectures in Universities and Health Services in the US, Australia and across Europe. He has acted as external reviewer for programmes across Ireland.

He also serves as moderator for an International Internet based Discussion Forum for Mental Health Nursing and he sits on the Executive as Scientific Programme Co-ordinator of the European Violence in Psychiatry Research Group as well as the Expert Panel of Horatio (The European Psychiatric Nursing association). In addition he acts as peer reviewer for a number of international journals. In Ireland he was a founding member and Interim National Secretary of the Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing and currently serves as National Vice Chairman.

Denis is committed to the development of best ‘evidence-based’ practice as well as the highest standard of practice in health and social care settings. To this end he has developed and designed educational programmes at Levels 7, 8 and 9 as well as having been involved in the supervision and examination of doctoral level students in Ireland, Australia and the UK. He has been involved in programme development and management at the University of Limerick, University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology, University of Applied Science, Utrecht as well as being an external expert in validation procedures for programmes in Dundalk Institute of Technology, The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland.

He has published widely in health related fields. He regularly presents at international conferences. Much of his academic research work has concentrated in three key areas; namely Stress and Coping; Conflict, Aggression and Work-related violence as well as Evidence Based Health Service Policy and management.

Dr Jane Alexander

Dr Jane Alexander was appointed Director of Undergraduate Studies in 2010. Prior to that she held academic posts at lecturer and senior lecturer level at Trinity College Dublin, Derby University, UK, Lincoln University, UK and City University, London. Her PhD in Mental Health Studies, funded by the Trustees of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London is a qualitative sociologically based study investigating the experiences of acutely ill patients and staff in two acute mental health hospitals in London. Parts of her studies were completed at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Her MA in Counselling Psychology is in psychodynamic psychotherapy and her thesis investigated the close relationships of depressed men. Her main research interests are in acute mental health care and in the relationship between severe life events and depression. She has worked on several major research projects at City University, London. Additionally her research career included work on NHS funded projects as a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Academic and Workforce Innovation (CCAWI) at Lincoln University. Her external links include an adjunct Professorship at Walden University in Baltimore, US and research involvement with Trinity College, Dublin.  She has published widely internationally.

Dr Alexander held several clinical and managerial posts in the UK. He main experience, prior to academia, was in Primary Mental Health Care, working directly with GP’S and liaising with Community Mental Health Teams. She completed major research projects whilst working in this field including an investigation of counselling provision in GP Practices and an evaluation of the placement of community mental health staff in GP Practices.  She began her academic career in 1998 when she obtained funding for full-time PhD studies. Until then her primary degree a BA (Hons) in Social Dimensions of Health, Sheffield University and MA in Counselling Psychology, Brighton University were obtained whilst working full-time and caring for a family.  Consequently, in common with many students, she has a great appreciation of what it means to be a mature student, and of the sacrifices entailed in gaining further qualifications.

Sylvia Duffell

Sylvia has a H. Dip and MA in Education, in addition to an MA in Counselling & Psychotherapy and other qualifications in Nutritional Therapy, Management Studies and Person Centred Art Therapy. Her career began as a teacher, before she retrained as a counsellor in 1995 and combined her two skills by teaching counselling students.  She became an External Verifier of Counselling Courses in the Midlands Region in the UK and set up & managed a counselling service for staff in a large NHS Trust in the West Midlands for 6 years before moving to Ireland.  She currently works in Private Practice, as well as counselling for ACCORD and lecturing for ICHAS.

James Harrington

James graduated from the University of Limerick in 2002 with a B.Sc in Mental Health, before going on to complete a H. Dip. & M.Sc. in Psychosocial Interventions. He is a Mental Health nurse and the works in acute psychiatry. In 2007 he  gained the post of Clinical Nurse Manager 1. He has been working a member of the ICHAS lecturing staff since 2009 on a part-time basis.

Backbone of the College

Learn From the Best

Our range of professional degrees and short courses are some of the most modern and inovative available today. Whether you are training to be a professional, seeking to upgrade your skills and knowledge, or just want learn for your own personal development; we have the course for you.



M.A. Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy – Graduate 2011

Joining ICHAS at diploma level, my aspiration was to discover what counselling was about. After the diploma and through the Level 8 and Level 9 programmes, it became more about discovering who I was and then becoming a reflective counsellor. Understanding my self was most important if I was to help others with their journey. An additional benefit from this course was meeting so many different people from different backgrounds and with different views which taught me more about working with people, as a client or otherwise.

The college, course, staff and peers enabled this journey for me, where I have become a more holistic person. Now that I have ended up with a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy through the various challenges along the way is a great achievement for me.


Sinead MCGuinness
(Graduate of the MA in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; BA (Hons) in Counselling and PsychotherapyBA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I began my voyage with ICHAS in Studying for the BA degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy studies was the beginning of my voyage with ICHAS. I never imaged what an amazing voyage this would be and all the amazing people I would meet along my way.  I am still on my voyage and still meeting amazing people and still learning every day. My studies with ICHAS went further than I could ever have believed with finding myself growing both on a personal and professional level. The college at all times (more…)


Patrick Fitzgerald
(BA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I came into ICHAS knowing that I wanted to help and work with people. Currently in my third year and all I can say is that I am amazed by how much I have grown both as a person and as a student. I was out of education for two years before starting and had fears and reservations about my ability as an academic and still not fully sure what I wanted to do with my life. The environment here compared to University’s or Institutes is not focused on just delivering the content and getting you through your degree or masters. Here they are looking at the individual behind the books and making sure that each student receives the same quality engagement that I have not seen anywhere else. ICHAS has allowed me over the last three years to see my true potential and ability through the stimulating learning environment here. I recommend this college to anyone looking into the areas of Counselling and Psychotherapy due to the high level of engagement with peers and lecturers.

Phone: 061 216 288
Walton House, Lonsdale Rd., National Technology Park,
Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland