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  (Board Member)

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.

Dr. Denis Ryan (College Director)

Professor Ryan has extensive experience in research and teaching in the areas of health and social care provision in Ireland and in a broader European context.  He was appointed by the college as Director of Academic Affairs in 2009 and in this role he has been central to the college’s continuing development and expansion.

He has held a number of academic appointments in Ireland,  the UK and Europe over the years, including those as a visiting Clinical Lecturer with the University of Hull and as Visiting Professor with the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium. He currently jointly leads a Centre of Excellence in Acute Mental Health Care in the University of Applied Science in Utrecht and is a longstanding member of the European Violence in Psychiatry Research group as well being as a member of the Expert Panel of Horatio and a peer reviewer for a number of peer reviewed Publications.

He served on the Development group for Award Standards in Counselling and Psychotherapy with QQI from 2012 – 2014 and currently serves on the Irish Higher Education Quality Network as well as the Board of the Higher Education Colleges Association (HECA).

Meet the Members of our Faculty

Prof  Denis Ryan (College Director)

Denis is both College Director and Director of Graduate Studies with ICHAS. Prior to his current post he held the post of Director of Academic Affairs and is the Foundation Professor of Counselling & Psychotherapy in the College since his initial appointment in 2009. across his varied career, Denis had over 33 years experience in the service delivery, management and education sectors in Health related disciplines in Ireland and internationally. His academic posts include appointments at Lecturer and Senior Lecturer level with the University of Limerick as well as with the University of Applied Science in Utrecht, the Netherland. He held a three-year appointment as Visiting Clinical Lecturer with the University of Hull and the position of Visiting Professor with the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium.  He has also taught on programmes with University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology and Dundalk Institute 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 and External Examiner for programmes across Ireland in Counselling & Psychotherapy as well as broader mental-health related programmes.

He served as moderator for an International Internet based Discussion Forum for Mental Health Nursing and served on the Executive of the European Violence in Psychiatry Research Group as Scientific Programme Co-ordinator 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 subsequently 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 of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications in  a range of Colleges in which he has worked, as well as having been involved in the supervision and examination of doctoral level students in Ireland, Australia and the UK. He has chaired and been actively 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 programme  validation processes with QQI, Dundalk Institute of Technology, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland. He currently acts as External Examiner for programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Sligo Institute of Technology and Dublin Business School.

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.

In addition he served on the Award Standards Development Group with QQI (formerly HETAC) in the development of award standards for counselling & psychotherapy. He has also served on the Psychological Therapies Forum since 2010 where he was actively involved in working collaboratively with professional accrediting bodies in making submissions to the Department  of Health and others on the statutory regulation of counselling & psychotherapy.

He is also a Board member of the Higher Education Colleges’ Association (HECA) and in that role has collaborated with other HECA Board members on a range of submissions to QQI and other agencies regarding quality issues in Higher Education and has represented HECA on a number of consultative fora.

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.

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.

Finbar Chambers

(M.A, B.A)

Finbar has been working in the education sector for the past 18 years both at home and abroad. He achieved his MA in psychotherapy in 2010, his dissertation focusing on the experiences of those in education working with socially disadvantaged groups in general and more specifically with early school leavers. He also has a BA in Legal Studies and a post graduate diploma in Education both attained from the university of Limerick. Finbar has been a lecturer in ICHAS since 2008.

John Hickey

M.Sc; P.Grad Dip; B.Sc (Hons) Psychology; Dip (MAPCP; MACI Accredited Clinical Supervisor

John has worked with ICHAS since 2010 and provides a range of services including Academic and Clinical Supervision whilst also lecturing on our Undergraduate Degree Programmes in conjunction with Griffith College. John has a keen interest in the area of Addiction related presentations and also works closely with Families experiencing relationship and emotional difficulties. He also works with individuals who experience Depression and Anxiety related conditions. He has worked extensively in the Bereavement sector and currently engages in on-line or e-therapy practice also.

Ian Molloy

Ian Molloy, (MA, BSc.), is a practicing therapist of over 15 years standing, with a wealth of experience in the field of education. Ian is passionate about education and makes every effort to make his lectures interactive, informative, fun and a meaningful learning experience.

Ian has worked on a one to one basis with people from all walks of life presenting with a wide range of psychological issues, both privately and within the business environment. Ian’s initial training was rooted within the psycho-dynamic model, and he has a particular interest in communication strategies that target the unconscious mind.

Ian is an MA  graduate of ICHAS, and remains proud to be associated with the College as one of its lecturers on its undergraduate programme.

Alan Galvin

(M.A, MBA)

Alan Galvin has been lecturing on the counselling and psychotherapy programmes at ICHAS since 2004. Alan has lectured in many modules across a range of the programmes in ICHAS. Alan holds qualifications in accountancy and an MBA in business, he most recently completed his MA in counselling and psychotherapy. Alan is employed in the Addiction Treatment sector and currently manages a nonresidential addiction treatment center in Limerick City, which he also co-founded.

Roisin Taaffe

(MA, BA.)

Roisin has been a member of the ICHAS lecturing staff since 2013, She is an MA graduate of ICHAS, and remains proud to be associated with the College as one of its lecturers on its undergraduate program. She holds a B.A. degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy in addition to a Masters of Arts in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Since 2009, she has focused her career on the helping and counselling professions and has worked in her own counselling private practice since 2012.  She has experience that is grounded in real life practice and brings this experience in to the classroom. She prides herself on having an ethos of student centeredness. Roisin is passionate about education and makes every effort to hone and develop the practical skills and critical thinking skills of the students.

James Harrington

B.Sc, H. Dip. & M.Sc

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.

Sally Howard

Sally Howard is a registered psychiatric nurse and also as an advanced nurse practitioner with NMBI and holds the following qualifications :Certificate  Behaviour Therapy, Diploma Professional Studies, Diploma Social Studies, BSC Nursing , MA. Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapy, MA. Clinical Supervision in Professional Practice.

She recently retired from her role as an advanced nurse practitioner with the Limerick Mental Health Services. The role involved individual psychotherapy with service users, assessments and the advancement of service users in personal recovery, dissemination of  CBT, psychosocial interventions & recovery skills to MDT members & support staff. This role also involved engagement with families, peers & voluntary agencies and contributed to the development of policies, procedures guideline & service plans that helped to promote and contribute to team research & audit. The role also provided professional supervision to nursing team members and support staff and contributed to the development of the Advancing recovery in Ireland project. I also engaged in successful application and delivery of Genio funded projects over the past three years.

Joseph Forde

Joseph Forde, a graduate of NUIG, OU and ICHAS, has over twenty years experience in adult education, childcare management, community education and project management.  He holds post graduate qualifications in education and education research and holds an Honours Masters’ Degree in Child and Adolescent Development.  He has also completed several research projects and is published within these subject and experiential domains.

Backbone of the College

Marie Mulcahy

Head of Finance / Acting Director of Corporate Affairs
061 216288   Mobile: 0858031237

Roisin Taaffe

Level 9 Programme Coordinator / Lecturer
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Joan Barry

Level 9 Programme Co-ordinator

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Anne Conlon

Level 6 /7 and 8 Programme Co-ordinator (Limerick Students)
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Jonathan Flynn

Educational Technologist

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Tony O’Brien

Level 6, 7 & 8 Programme Co-ordinator (Dublin Students) / Quality Assurance

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Jane Tiernan

Communications and Public Engagement

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Dolores McMahon

Practice Placement Coordinator:

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Dolores recently took on the role of Student Placement Coordinator at ICHAS this year. She liaises with students, placement providers, clinical supervisors and oversees all elements of practice placement for undergraduate and postgraduate students in their chosen organisations.

Practice Placement is an integral part of the undergraduate and post-graduate Degree and Maters programmes offered by the College. The core purpose of Practice Placement is to facilitate the translation of theory to practice offering students the opportunity to acquire quality experiential learning in a professionally mentored environment.

Danny O’ Brien

Digital Marketing Manager

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Danny recently joined the ICHAS team as digital marketing manager. Since 2013 he has experience creating, executing and managing online campaigns for brands in a wide range of industries ranging from third levels to sport & leisure to hospitality to retail to name but a few. His focus has been on social media as well as content marketing and the related areas of online advertising and email marketing.

As well as being the digital marketing manager Danny has also taught Social Media modules at ICHAS as well as Digital Marketing with Griffith College. Danny Graduate from Waterford Institute of Technology with a BBS and MBS in Marketing. His dissertation focused on social media and the importance of it for businesses. He also presents a weekly social media radio show as well as a sports show in his spare time.

Learn with 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