Stephen McNamara / CEO
Stephen joined Paralympics Ireland as CEO in February 2023 from the Irish Rugby Football Union, where he was Director of Communications from 2012. During his time with the IRFU, Stephen helped to ensure that rugby continued to grow in popularity, while working with multiple stakeholders to ensure that the IRFU remained one of the country’s most respected and popular sports organisations, with digital reach and engagement levels fitting of one of the country’s strongest brands.
Dave Malone / Para Swimming Performance Director / Sport Department
Dave is the Para Swimming Performance Director. Prior to this, he competed for Ireland at four Paralympic Games, winning medals in his favoured 100m backstroke event at Atlanta 1996 (silver), Sydney 2000 (gold) and Athens 2004 (silver). As team manager at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Dave led a team of six swimmers to two gold medals and several Personal Bests.
Neasa Russell / Sports Director / Chef de Mission
Neasa took up the position of Sports Director in April 2021. Prior to this, Neasa was the Head of Talent Development in Sport England, developing a world leading talent identification system. Neasa was also the Lead Performance Pathway Scientist for UK Sport, having also worked in GB Rowing Team and Rowing Ireland.
The Galway native also led Team Ireland to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as Chef de Mission.
James Nolan / Head of Paralympic Athletics / Sport Department
James became head of Paralympic Athletics in April 2010 after enjoying a distinguished athletics career, winning 800/1500m silver at the European Indoor Championships in 2000 and competing at two Olympic Games (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004).
James is a graduate of UCD in Sports Management, an IAAF level IV athletics coach and a member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s athletes commission. As Para Athletics team manager at 11 major Championships’s (WPA European, World Championships and Paralympic Games) James has led the team to 58 podium finishes over the last decade.
Ana Carolina Maia / Classification Manager / Sport Department
Ana joined Paralympics Ireland in March 2016. Hailing from Brazil, Ana has a background in Physiotherapy and has a Masters Degree in Sports and Exercise Biomechanics from Manchester Metropolitan University. She has been involved with Paralympic sport since 2005, and was part of the Brazilian team at the Para Pan-American Games in Mexico in 2011, and at London 2012. Prior to joining the staff she volunteered for Paralympics Ireland as a classifier since 2013.
Derek Kinnevey / Corporate Affairs Director
Derek has more than a decades experience in Sports Communications and Marketing. Having qualified with a Master Degree in Public Relations from Dublin Institute of Technology he took the role of Marketing and Events Executive in the Football Association of Ireland. After transferring into the Communications Department of the FAI he then accepted the role of PR and Media Manager with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. Derek held the post with the LGFA for 5 years overseeing unprecedented growth and popularity in the sport before joining Paralympics Ireland in 2017.
Fiona Scally / Corporate Affairs Executive / Communications
Fiona joined Paralympics Ireland in September 2022. A University of Limerick alumni, she holds an undergraduate degree in New Media & English along with a Masters in Sports Journalism.
Marisa Kennedy / Corporate Affairs Executive / Commercial
Marisa joined Paralympics Ireland in November 2023 to complete the Corporate Affairs Department. She joins the team from W-Sport, a broadcast channel dedicated to showcasing women’s sport from around the globe. Previous to her role at W-Sport she spent five years as a digital journalist and partnerships manager with Pundit Arena, a role which saw her cover the Tokyo Paralympic Games. She holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism and New Media from the University of Limerick and is currently studying for a M.Sc. in Sport Management at University College Dublin.
Natalie O’Callaghan / Finance & Resources Manager / Administration Department
Natalie joined Paralympics Ireland in August 2018 as Executive Assistant, having previously worked in the financial services for 13 years from positions as secretary up to Supervisor in Transfer Agency. In this time Natalie completed courses in Compliance, Anti-Money Laundering and Investment Funds. In March 2019 with her financial background, Natalie changed positions to Paralympics Irelands Finance Administrator.
Sarah Hurley / Swimming Coordinator / Sport Department
Sarah Hurley joined the Performance Operations team in Paralympics Ireland in December 2020 through the Sport Ireland ASPIRE Graduate Programme. Sarah plays an essential operational role for Team Ireland in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport & Exercise Management from University College Dublin. She is a sport enthusiast who also carries experience in the business world through her previous roles. Sarah currently takes part in swimming, and volunteers as a kickboxing coach as she holds a black belt status.
Brian Hughes / Pathway Lead
Brian recently joined Paralympics Ireland in the new role of Pathway Lead in October 2022. He has a background in Sport Science and Exercise Physiology, as well a master’s degree in Sports Directorship from the University of Salford. Prior to taking up the role with Paralympics Ireland, Brian was the Senior Physiologist at Sport Wales supporting multiple sports including Welsh Cycling and Welsh Gymnastics as well as leading the Welsh Institute of Performance Science research and innovation team. He previously worked as a physiologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport supporting Scottish Hockey, Netball and Para-Snowsports GB.
Richard Doyle / Performance Operations Manager / Deputy Chef de Mission
Richard joined Paralympics Ireland in October 2022 taking up the role of Performance Operations Manager. As part of his role Richard will also act as Deputy Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 games. Prior to joining Paralympics Ireland Richard worked for Connacht Rugby overseeing many of the operational elements within the domestic game in the province. The Wexford native is a graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology (now SETU) and has a Masters Degree in Sports and Exercise Management from University College Dublin.
Hayley Burke / Performance Coach & Coach Developer / Sport Department
Hayley joined Paralympics Ireland in January of 2023 as Performance Coach & Coach Developer. She previously worked with the team in the role of Para Swimming Manager and as a volunteer coach between 2012-2021 and was part of the swimming team at multiple European Championships, World Championships and three Paralympic Games. She holds a MA in Sport Management and a level 3 coaching license. Hayley is also a qualified Swim Ireland Tutor and brings a new aspect to Paralympics Ireland’s swimming program by introducing a new Coaching Development Program.
Alex Malone / Aspire Graduate
Alex has recently graduated from UCD with a BSc Sports and Exercise Management. His thesis focused on children with disabilities in sport and physical activity. Before joining Paralympics Ireland as an Aspire Graduate, he worked with Cricket Ireland and sports sponsorship firm Sport Endorse.
He was a member of the Irish Archery Youth Team at 13 and holds several national records in the Olympic recurve cadet division. His sporting career has taken him on the European circuit where he has won 3 silver medals in Milan and competed at the European Championships in Romania.
Dermot McDermott / Para Athletics Performance Pathway Coach / Sport Department
Dermot has a background in financial planning, sport programme development, talent identification and elite level athletics coaching across a range of athletics disciplines. He is also a qualified special needs assistant.
Kevin Williamson / Para Swimming Pathway Coach / Sport Department
Kevin joined Paralympics Ireland in February 2023 as a Para Swimming Pathway Coach. He has a proven track record in coaching having developed over 25 international swimmers. He was also the coach for the Irish Swimming team at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
An accomplished swimmer, Kevin has outstanding achievements in both swimming and water polo. He swam for the University of Michigan where he was on a sports scholarship and represented Ireland at both the 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow Olympics. He achieved fastest times in both the Liffey Swim and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Open sea race on numerous occasions. In water polo he won a Irish Senior Cup gold medal with Half Moon Water Polo Club.
His Irish senior record for the 1500m freestyle stood for 28 years from 1976 – 2004, eventually broken by Steven Manley whom Williamson coached at the time.
Tara Evans / Sports Administrator / Administration Department
Tara joined Paralympics Ireland in April 2023 in a new role of Sports Administrator. With degrees in psychology, science and social care Tara brings a widely varied background to the role. Transitioning from working directly with the disability population in frontline services, Tara’s passion for inclusivity is something she ensures is central to her work in Paralympics.
Jason Smyth / Strategy Manager