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Our People

Our People

The Irish Heritage Board of Trustees is responsible for governance outlined in the Charity Commission’s guidelines. Trustees ensure that the charity operates it objectives and provides clear strategic direction.

All are volunteers who freely give of their time, experience and expertise to support the charity and its programmes.

Find out how you can join below or get in touch with us to join our commitee.

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Our Patrons

Irish Heritage is proud and grateful to have the endorsement and support of the following Patrons.

Portrait picture of Giancarla Alen-Buckley

Giancarla Alen-Buckley

Portrait picture of Mary Clancy, Lady Hatch

Mary Clancy, Lady Hatch

Portrait picture of Seamus McGarry

Seamus McGarry

Portrait picture of John Gilhooly CBE

John Gilhooly CBE

Portrait picture of Michael Alen-Buckley

Michael Alen-Buckley

Our Trustees

  • Tom Scanlon

    Chair of Trustees

    Tom Scanlon is a native of Achill Island in County Mayo and is a graduate of Bolton Street, College of Technology, Dublin and the College of North West London. He is a professional Quantity Surveyor and former founding partner of his quantity surveying practice with offices in Dublin and London. He subsequently set up his own construction company in London and he now offers construction estimating and business development consultancy to London based construction contractors. He has 37 years’ experience in business management.

    He has a keen interest in charitable fundraising and bringing his business experience to help small charities grow.

  • Jim Kirby

    Chief Executive

    Jim Kirby began his education in Cork City before moving to St Peter Claver College in Mirfield, Yorkshire. He later studied at Clapham College in London and Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. His successful sales and marketing career in the international airline and hospitality industry with Aer Lingus and others included working in this country, the USA and Canada.

    A talented musician and singer – he is a bass-baritone, Jim currently sings under musical director Andrew King, He is also Secretary of the Aer Lingus Retirees Association and a member of the management committee of the Mitcham Golf Club. He is married to Adelaide and has two adult daughters, Ailidh and Sinead.

  • Peter Power-Hynes

    Finance Director and Treasurer

    Peter Power-Hynes was born in Dublin and grew up in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary and has an MA in Irish Studies from St Marys University, Twickenham. He is a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. He trained as an accountant with E&Y (Ernst and Young) before working in industry and moving into private practice where he has served clients for over 40 years.

    Mr Power-Hynes is also Chairman of the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith and Honorary Treasurer of the Irish Literary Society and Assistant Curator of The London Irish Rifles Museum.

  • Mary Connolly

    Events Management

    Mary Connolly comes from Kildare and is a law graduate of London Metropolitan University. She has worked in Dublin and the City of London as a para-legal. She has been a member of Irish Heritage since the early 80’s and has served on Committees since then and was Chairman from 2016 to 2018. She has been the Hon. Secretary of Candlewick Ward Club in the City of London for over 15 years and is recently retired from that position.

  • Shirley Cully


    Shirley Cully comes from Sligo and has lived in London since the 1950s. She was educated at the Mercy Convent Sligo. When she came to London she continued her business studies at Pitman's College in London. She has been a committee member of Irish Heritage for a number of years. She has worked in the newspaper industry and has spent many years in retail management. She has also been a committee member, fundraiser and a volunteer for Mind in Camden. She writes poetry and has published a short collection of her poems. She is a member of the Irish Literary Society.

  • Keith Raffan


    Keith Raffan comes from Strabane in County Tyrone and is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where he studied Business Studies and Mathematics. Subsequently, he trained as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in London. He then worked in publishing and distilling before setting up in practice 30 years ago in Bloomsbury. His current office is in Covent Garden. He provides tax and accounting advice to a variety of clients, largely in the Entertainment and Media sector. Being on the Irish Heritage Committee, he is glad to assist an organisation with such excellent musical purpose.

Our Committee

  • Brian Hughes

    Artistic Director

    Brian Hughes comes from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and now works as a piano teacher in the London Contemporary School of Piano and MMQ Piano Studio in London. He was the recipient of the Irish Heritage Accompanist Award in 2018 during his studies at the Royal College of Music, and performed in numerous concerts throughout 2019.

    After graduating from the RCM with a Master of Performance in Collaborative Piano in 2020, Brian decided to join the Irish Heritage team as he wanted to give back to the organisation which had given him so many great performance opportunities. He enjoys liaising with the young musicians, helping to organise performers and concert programmes and being part of the Irish musical community in London.

  • Tara Viscardi

    Artistic Administrator

    Tara Viscardi hails from the Beara Peninsula, Co. Kerry and performs on Irish traditional, classical and baroque harps. Passionate about education and outreach, Tara is Artistic Administrator for Irish Heritage, the harp teacher at Junior King’s School, Canterbury and the harp tutor at the Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith. She is also the minutes secretary for Cairde na Cruite (Irish Harp Association). In 2021, her early music/folk group Nobody’s Jig held the Wigmore Learning/Open Royal Academy of Music Fellowship. First prize winner of the 2021 London Camac Harp Competition and a 2024 UK Harp Association Emerging Artist, Tara is an active performer and has been featured playing her own arrangements and compositions on BBC Radio 3, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ Lyric FM, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Radio Kerry and Bloomsbury Radio. Irish Heritage was a huge support to Tara while she was undertaking postgraduate studies in London and she considers it a privilege to now work for this wonderful organization.

  • Isobel Parkinson

    Committee Member

    Isobel was born in London with a family from Co. Kildare. Since studying Biomedical Science at University of Manchester she has moved back to London and worked across the Fashion & Heritage Sectors. She is currently working in the Education Sector while studying to be a Careers Counsellor.

    Isobel has been volunteering with Irish Heritage since 2018 and joined the committee 2023, and has a passion for live music across genres.

  • Thomas Scanlon

    Committee Member

    Born in London to parents from Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Thomas is a software engineer with 10 years of experience in the IT and tech industries. Having previously worked on digital transformation projects at Kingfisher and employee happiness web platforms, Thomas now works on web applications within BBC Design + Engineering.

    As a tireless advocate for the public and third sectors, Thomas has been involved with Irish Heritage since 2020, lending his expertise in web development to help the charity achieve its digital objectives.

  • Margaret Parkinson

    Committee Member

    Margaret Parkinson comes from The Curragh, Co. Kildare. She studied in Dublin, Rome and London. Having worked in Education and the Petroleum Industries in Dublin, Rome, Paris, Melbourne, London and Washington State, now retired and living in London.

    A Committee Member since 2020 she enjoys all genres of music and welcomes the opportunity to be a part of the Irish Heritage ethos in supporting young musicians at the outset of their careers.

  • Saoirse Walsh

    Committee Member

    Originally from Wexford, Saoirse completed her undergraduate degree in Music and History of Art at University College Dublin before moving to London to complete an MA in Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby's Institute. She has since worked in the heritage, education and cultural sectors in Europe and the USA and has been a volunteer with Irish Heritage since 2013.

  • Robbie Marrs

    Committee Member

    Robbie Marrs, a Northern Irish clarinettist, earned the Robert McFadzean Whyte Award at the Royal College of Music studying with Barnaby Robson, Richard Hosford, and Timothy Lines.

    Graduating in 2022, he joined the London Sinfonietta Academy. Based in London, Robbie freelances and tutors, collaborating with ensembles like Regents Opera and St Paul’s Opera, along with those in Northern Ireland such as Le Foyer de Artistes.

    He's performed for Irish Heritage at venues like the Royal Over-Seas League and serves on the committee. A founding member of the Young Musicians Guild, Robbie has showcased his talent across Ireland, the Netherlands, and London, earning notable roles in prestigious orchestras and ensembles.

  • Paul Fitzgibbon

    Committee Member

    Paul Fitzgibbon, a violist from Co. Kerry, completed his BMus under Yuri Zhislin and is now pursuing his MMus at the Royal College of Music in London as the Leopold de Rothschild scholar. He received The Kathleen Trust bursary during his studies.

    Paul began with piano at age 2, shifted to violin at 6, and eventually embraced the viola. His achievements include grade 8 distinction in violin at age 13 and a viola performance diploma with distinction at 16. He has performed across Europe and the USA, including appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and at Carnegie Hall.

    A finalist in the 2023 Irish Heritage bursary, Paul also delves into electronic music production. Paul launched the Young Musicians Guild in 2020 and actively contributes to Irish Heritage.

  • Ailidh Kirby

    Committee Member

    Ailidh Kirby was born in London and her mother and father are from Dublin and Cork respectively. Ailidh graduated in Law from Warwick University and went on to join BT in their graduate scheme. After some years she moved to PA Consultancy where she gained much experience on contracts with various UK Government departments. Ailidh is now leading a team at Marks & Spencer on digital transformation.

    She is an ardent music lover of all genres and enjoys the committee involvement with Irish Heritage with which she has been involved since early 2021.

  • Mike Davidson

    Committee Member

    While growing up in Scotland, Mike was a keen piano and tenor saxophone player, including playing in various local and national youth music groups. After graduating in Computing from Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen, Mike moved south to join BT on their graduate scheme.

    Now a specialist in information and cyber security, Mike has latterly been leading engineering teams for international startup and scale-up tech businesses that have a strong social purpose. Mike is here to support Irish Heritage with all things technical.

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