Our leadership

The Irish Cancer Society is the national cancer charity (charity registration number CHY5863).

The Society is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors made up of leading medical experts, scientists and business people. The Board is advised by a number of expert committees and is responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of the charity.

Board of Directors

Dermot Breen (Chairman)

Dermot has been a Director of the Irish Cancer Society since 2008.

He has had an extensive career in public affairs management including 17 years as Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco Ireland. He is also a member of the Governing Body of University College Cork.

Irish Cancer Society Board Chairman Dermot Breen

Fergus Brennan

Fergus is a retired Chartered Accountant with a career in finance and senior management in the Jones Group PLC, Aer Lingus Group and Lufthansa Technik Group companies in Ireland.

He holds a number of non-executive directorships across the aviation sector.

Fergus Brennan

Dr Sinead Brennan

Sinead is a Radiation Oncologist in St Luke’s hospital, Rathgar and in St James hospital, Dublin.

She is Chair of the Head and Neck DSSG at Cancer Trials Ireland.

Dr Sinead Brennan

Kieran Crowley 

Kieran Crowley is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Director.

He is a Business Consultant advising boards and business owners on change, risk management, strategy and governance, with experience as a board member in many companies.

Kieran Crowley

Sean Dorgan MRIA

Sean was formerly Secretary General of two Government Departments, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland and CEO of IDA Ireland.

He holds a number of directorships currently.

Sean Dorgan

Professor Liam Grogan

Liam is a Consultant Medical Oncologist in Beaumont Hospital and is an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Professor Liam Grogan

Cormac G. Kilty PH.D 

Cormac is a Biotech Entrepreneur retired from executive functions; managing a biotech investment portfolio and involved with two Angel Investment groups in Ireland.

He was voted one of the top 100 influential Ireland-US business leaders by 'Business and Finance' in 2007 and 2008 and was awarded the U.S.-Ireland Biolink award for contribution to Irish Life Sciences in 2007.

Dr Cormac Kilty

Dr Helen McAvoy

Helen is Director of Policy with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland focussing on progressing the government’s health inequality agenda in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Helen has a primary medical degree and a Masters in Health Promotion and worked for several years in both hospital and general practice.

Dr Helen McAvoy

Willie O Reilly

Willie O'Reilly is former Group Commercial Director at RTÉ.

He was previously Chief Executive of Today FM , President of the Institute of Directors and a director of the Health Service Executive.

He is a Council member of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital.

Willie O'Reilly

Andrew Craig 

Andrew retired after 30 years as a partner in PWC where he worked with a number of Ireland’s largest global companies and he also held a number of important leadership roles in PWC. Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland is now a business advisor and non-executive director.


Our CEO and senior management team (SMT)

The SMT assists the Chief Executive, Averil Power, in managing the Irish Cancer Society's day-to-day business. The current SMT is:

Averil Power, Chief Executive

Averil Power has been Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society since January 2018. She has over fifteen years’ leadership, policymaking and campaigns experience, having served as CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, an elected member of Seanad Éireann and a policy adviser in several Government departments.

Averil holds a Degree in Business, including non-profit management, from Trinity College Dublin and was President of Trinity Students’ Union from 2001 to 2002. She also has a Diploma in Law from the Kings Inns. 

Irish Cancer Society CEO Averil Power

Donal Buggy, Head of Services & Strategic Implementation

Donal has over fifteen years’ experience in a number of leadership roles in the charity sector having worked in the community and healthcare sectors prior to joining the Irish Cancer Society in 2012. 

Head of Services and Advocacy Donal Buggy

Noeleen Donnelly, Head of Human Resources

Noeleen has over thirty years’ HR experience covering all aspects of HR and has worked in the private sector in manufacturing, consultancy, and professional services before moving to the charity sector in 2003.

Head of HR Noeleen Donnelly

Mark Mellett, Head of Fundraising

Mark has over twenty years’ experience working in the charity sector both in Ireland and the UK. Mark began his career in media sales moving to advertising agencies and then marketing in the mobile industry before working in fundraising.

Head of Fundraising Mark Mellett

Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research

Robert graduated with a Ph.D. in 1995 and subsequently worked as an academic and translational cancer researcher in Dublin City University before joining the Society in 2015.

Head of Research Dr Robert O'Connor

Finance Committee

  • Mr Fergus Brennan (Chair)

  • Mr Sean Dorgan

  • Ms Jane Neill 
  • Mr Ger Penny

Audit and Risk Committee

  • Mr Andrew Craig, (Chair)
  • Dr Cormac Kilty

The Finance Committee membership includes skills in the area of financial control, pension, risk and investments. The Committee meets between ten and twelve times a year overseeing monthly financial reports and maintains oversight of risk, treasury control, lease commitments, payroll and pension. It also oversees the annual budget, audit and statutory accounts.

The Committee has a membership minimum of four, two of whom must be directors. New appointments are based on skills needed.

The Society is in the process of setting up a new Audit & Risk Committee which will take over these specific areas of responsibility from the Finance & Audit Committee.

Fundraising Advisory Committee

  • Mr Dermot Breen (Chair)
  • Mr Kieran Crowley
  • Mr Ivor Fitzpatrick
  • Ms Marie O'Connor

Governance and Nominating Committee

  • Mr Willie O’Reilly (Chair)
  • Mr Kieran Crowley
  • Prof Liam Grogan 

The Governance & Nominating Committee is made up of three existing directors. The Committee was set-up to oversee the Society’s compliance with legislation, regulation and the Society’s own policies. Legislation includes company law and the Charities Act 2009. Regulation includes the voluntary Governance Code. The Society’s policies include the Conflict of Interest policy and Nomination and Induction process.

The Committee oversees Board and director performance evaluation, including oversight of external evaluation.

The Society’s nomination and induction process is the means by which the Society appoints new Board members. New directors are based on annual Board profile reviews which establish critical skills for good governance of the Board and the organisation.


The following Committees are populated with experts in the relevant fields.

  • Cancer Support Committee
  • Cancer Prevention Committee
  • Research Advisory Committee

Governance code

A code of practice for good governance of community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland has been developed by the sector, for the sector (see www.governancecode.ie). It is a voluntary code designed to help organisations adhere to the highest possible standards. The Irish Cancer Society has adopted this code.

Statement of principles

Summary of legislation and regulation compliance

The Society is obliged to comply with certain legislation and has chosen to adhere to various guidelines as best practice. 

View summary

Date Last Reviewed: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2018