Conor Faughnan announced as new Chair of the Board; Aoife Kelly-Desmond is Vice-Chair

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New Chair, Conor Faughnan, and Vice Chair, Aoife Kelly-Desmond reflect on their appointments


A veteran in public affairs, Mr. Faughnan has been involved with development and humanitarian organisation Plan International Ireland since 2013.  

Plan International Ireland is a development and humanitarian organisation that supports projects on the ground in 54 countries to advance children’s rights and equality for girls. Following a meeting of the Board of Directors last week, the organisation announced the appointment of Conor Faughnan as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. Aoife KellyDesmond of A&L Goodbody was announced as the new Vice-Chair.  

Mr. Faughnan is the current Director of Consumer Affairs with AA Ireland and a frequent commentator on transport, motoring, and consumer issues. He has been on the Board of Directors of Plan International Ireland since 2013, and has taken the role over from former Chair, Bernard Daly. His experience in advocacy and public affairs has proved extremely valuable during his tenure to date, particularly through his involvement on the Marketing and Fundraising sub-committee.  

Mr. Faughnan said¬†it was an honour¬†to have been elected to serve as Chair.¬†‚ÄúPlan International Ireland is an organisation that is close to my heart and has been a part of my life for over 7 years.¬†Our¬†mission is¬†clear: we strive for a just world¬†where children‚Äôs rights are realised, and they can fulfil their potential.¬†We work with partners¬†in development and humanitarian contexts¬†in¬†54¬†countries¬†to¬†achieve¬†this¬†mission, and¬†are part of a global federation operating across 76¬†countries.¬†Many¬†of our¬†Irish supported¬†projects are in West Africa, and¬†we prioritise¬†the provision of quality and inclusive¬†education¬†in¬†much of¬†our¬†work.‚Ä̬†

Reflecting on the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic¬†on the charity‚Äôs work,¬†Mr. Faughnan¬†said:¬†‚ÄúOf course, this year has been a very¬†challenging¬†time for all of us. However, the reality is¬†that¬†the pandemic is impacting¬†people in¬†some¬†parts of the world more than others.¬†Always when¬†a¬†crisis¬†strikes, it is those who are already the most vulnerable and marginalised who¬†are disproportionately affected.‚Ä̬†

‚ÄúAs we all focus on the¬†broader¬†health¬†and economic¬†implications of the pandemic, a¬†‚Äėshadow pandemic‚Äô¬†is occurring across the world.¬†Women and children,¬†girls in particular, are¬†at¬†more¬†risk¬†than ever¬†of¬†gender-based¬†violence, exploitation¬†and harmful practices¬†such as child marriage¬†and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).¬†We are working to end these¬†practices that violate girls‚Äô rights and strip them of their potential.‚Ä̬†¬†

Mr. Faughnan concluded by¬†saying:¬†‚ÄúAs we look to the future of the organisation, we will continue to respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of the communities where we work.¬†I look forward to¬†working¬†with my colleagues on the board,¬†and the staff team at Plan International Ireland, led by¬†CEO Paul O‚ÄôBrien,¬†as we continue to endeavour to make our¬†vision¬†a reality for children around the world.‚Ä̬†¬†

Aoife KellyDesmond, Associate at A&L Goodbody, was announced as the new Vice-Chair of Plan International Ireland. Ms. KellyDesmond has been on the Board of Directors since 2017 and has given additional support to the organisation through her role on the HR & Remuneration sub-committee.  

Following her appointment, Ms. KellyDesmond¬†said: ‚ÄúI feel privileged to have been selected to serve in such an important role.¬†It is a real source of pride for me¬†to be involved in an organisation that is so wholeheartedly committed to advancing children‚Äôs rights¬†and equality for girls across the world.¬†Plan International Ireland has also been recognised for its commitment¬†to good governance¬†through shortlisting for the Good Governance Awards. Additionally, the organisation was listed as¬†one of Ireland‚Äôs Best Workplaces in 2020.‚Ä̬†