Governance Board and Team

(Company Chairperson) Sarah Moran Senior Planning Inspector, An Bord Pleanála
  Aideen Barry Artist
(Company Secretary) Trish Brennan Head of Fine Art Crawford College of Art & Design
  Catherine Clancy  
  Cllr. Kieran McCarthy Cork City Councillor
  Anne O’Leary Director EY
  Cllr. Chris O’Leary Cork City Councillor
  Sean Taylor Artist & Lecturer Limerick College of Art & Design
  Dr. Niall Smith Head of Research, Cork Institute of Technology

(see biographies below)

NSF Child Protection Policy 2019


Valerie Byrne: Director
Valerie Byrne has worked in a range of arts organisations spanning the past 20 years. She has been the Director of Cork Printmakers, one of Ireland’s leading Print Studios for the past 6 years where she initiated a series of national and international projects. Previously she has held positions such as Project Manager for visual arts projects, European Capital of Culture: Cork 2005. Valerie was the first appointed Arts Co-ordinator to St James’s Hospital, Dublin, where she established a comprehensive Arts Programme and prior to that Valerie was the Visual Arts Programmer for Triskel Arts Centre, Cork.

David Dobz O’Brien: Programme Manager
David Dobz O’Brien is an artist and an independent curator, based in Cork. He is the founding member of interventionist art group Art / not art. He was the co-creator of Radio ON a fully licensed FM Bandwidth interventionist Radio station and in 2005 was a co-curator of Cork Caucus.

Elma O’Donovan: Administrator / Artists’ Liaison
Elma has worked at the National Sculpture Factory since 1993. She has an experienced background in administration and has a Diploma in Computer and Secretarial Studies. She has coordinated and managed a number of Percent for Art Schemes for both the private and public sectors and in her role liaises with the NSF Board, artists and external agencies. Elma is also Artists’ Liaison.

Donal Dilworth: Technical Manager
Donal’s background is in metal fabrication, having learned his trade working for the Dutch shipbuilders, Verolme in Cork. He has worked throughout Ireland on various engineering projects and since joining the N.S.F, has been responsible for the technical aspects of many NSF projects including ‘Daylighting the City’, Andrew Stones’ ‘Accumulator’. He has also worked on large commissions, such as ‘World Events’ by Tony Cragg and on the installation and fabrication of installations by Tony Cragg, Maud Cotter and Vivienne Roche.

John Booth: Technical Assistant
John majored in sculpture at Palomar College, California. Since then John has worked in various trades, carpentry, engineering and electrics, giving him the wide range of technical knowledge he has today. He has worked with several artists helping them realise their projects and installations.

Anne Sheehan: Book-keeping
Joined the National Sculpture Factory in May 2015. Anne has many years experience in the Accounts/Admin area. Working previously with Dairygold, Silver Pail Dairy and also CIT Cork School of Music. Anne also works with a number of SME’s in the Cork area.

Membership Coordinator: Audrey Fleming
Audrey graduated from UCA Farnham, UK in 2015 with a degree in Fine Art. Audrey practises sculpture and photography. She did some work experience at the National Sculpture Factory in 2014, where she developed a keen interest in Public Art.

Programme Assistant: Tomas Penc
In 2016, Tomas Penc has successfully completed BA degree in Fine Art at CIT CCAD. During this time, he has developed a basis for an independent art practice. In previous professional career and education, Tomas obtained skills in computer technology, project management, film editing, photography and web design.

Gráinne Creed: CE Scheme Supervisor for CAST (Based in Cork Civic Trust House)
Gráinne took up the post of CE Scheme Supervisor in 1997.  Gráinne comes from a business and enterprise background.  In her role she liaises with various arts organisations in Cork City such as the Everyman Palace Theatre Co and Cork Film Centre. She advocates for the progression of artists into full time employment.


Biographies of NSF Board Members

Trish Brennan – Biography:
Elected 2005 to date

Trish Brennan lives in Cork and is Head of Fine Art at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork.  She studied Film, Video and Photographic Arts (BA hons) in Westminster University (London) and postgraduate Fine Art (MA) from National College of Art & Design (Dublin).  While she currently works in education, she has a broad and diverse experience of working in the arts including: art-making, production, management and policy development. Trish is also the NSF’s company secretary.

Catherine Clancy – Biography:
Elected 2004 to date

Catherine has had a lifelong involvement with politics and has been active in many issues both locally and nationally. Catherine was a member of Cork City Council since 2003, when she was she co-opted to replace her colleague Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD & subsequently held the seat at the following local elections in 2004 & again in 2009.

Elected Lord Mayor of Cork City 21st June, 2013 to 21 June, 2014. Environment, Housing, Planning, Arts & Culture, Finance and Docklands Committees

Catherine is a Board Member of the National Sculpture Factory (since 2004).

Anne O’Leary – Biography:
Elected 2005 to date

Anne O’Leary FCCA; Anne has worked in public practice for over 30 years and currently holds the role of Assurance Partner with EY principally servicing indigenous and multinational clients in providing assurance services, which primarily include statutory audit, internal control and governance reviews. Anne has served as a director on the board of the National Sculpture Factory since 2007.

Aideen Barry – Biography:
Elected 2012 to date

Aideen Barry is a visual artist who’s work meditates on the mysteries and metaphysics which govern her interest in das Unheimliche ( The Uncanny). Her work oscillates between the intensely personal to the quotidian to the exceptional, often simultaneously.  The common denominator of her work is an attempt to deal with anxiety. Barry’s means of expression are interchangeable: working in the media of performance, film, animation, drawing, sculpture and installation. Solo projects include Galeria Isabel Malaga ( 2012) Spain, The Butler Gallery (2010), Centre Cultural Irlandais (2003) Paris. Further International projects include:  The Headlands Centre for the Arts ( 2011) US, Triumph Gallery Moscow, (2013) Russia, ARCO, Spain ( 2013) Catherine Clark Gallery (2012) US, The MCAC (2011) Northern Ireland, Mermaid Arts Centre( 2009) IRL,  Ard Bia Gallery(2006)IRL/DE, The Skatfell Centre, (2007) Iceland, The Crawford Municipal Gallery (2009) IRL, Project Arts Centre (2010) IRL, Temple Bar Gallery ( 2007) IRL, The Royal Hibernian Academy (2009) IRL, Limerick City Gallery of Art ( 2009),   Visual (2010) IRL, Liste Art Fair, Basel (2010) Switzerland, Mothers Tankstation (2011) Irl, The Wexner Centre (2009) US, Moderna Museet (2008) Sweden, Musée des Beaux Arts ( 2009) FRA, Louise T. Bloudin Gallery (2007) UK, Artscene Shanghai (2005) China, BAC Geneva,(2011) Switzerland, San Francisco International Animation Festival (2012) US, and Project 304 Gallery Bangkok (2007),Thailand.  Recent awards include: The COE Award ( 2004), The Arts Council of Ireland Project New Work Award( 2008, 2009, 2010), and Bursary Awards (2010 & 2012), Culture Ireland Funds ( 2010 & 2011 ),Galway County Council Award ( 2011), Travel and Training Award ( 2007, 2011), and in 2010 she was shortlisted for the AIB prize.  Aideen lives and works in the west of Ireland.

Aideen Barry is a lecturer in Limerick school if Art and Design and is the west of Ireland representative for Visual Artists Ireland.

Sean Taylor- Biography:
Elected 2005 to date

Diploma (with Distinction) in Fine Art, from Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork, Ireland in 1982.  MA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster in Belfast in 1983. Received a Postgraduate Scholarship from The Kunstenacademie, Rotterdam, Holland in 1989.Deep Listening Certificate Award from the Deep Listening Institute, Kingston, New York, USA in 2011. Currently undertaking a PhD at Limerick Institute of Technology.

Moved to Glasgow in 1989 and worked as a community artist, and was also a Director of the Glasgow Sculpture Studios. Project Manager for Project Ability, Centre for Developmental Arts from 1993-6.Founded and established the Trongate Studios a studio resource for people with mental health problems at Project Ability in 1994. Since 1984 he has exhibited extensively internationally and his work is available in both private and public collections throughout Europe, Mexico, Asia and the USA. He has achieved numerous artistic awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, The British Council and the Arts Council of Scotland, to develop and exhibit projects both nationally and internationally. Moved to Limerick, Ireland in 1996 and was a founder member of The Real Art Project 1996-99. Was course leader of the BA in Sculpture & Combined Media Department at Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick Institute of Technology from 1999-2004.

He is currently 4th Year Lecturer on the Sculpture & Combined Media programme. He is the Programme Joint-Leader of the MA in Social Practice and Creative Environment programme at Limerick school of Art and Design. Established the Art & Science collaboration Softday with software engineer Mikael Fernstrom in 1999, and continues to develop large scale public art projects with the Softday collaboration.

Currently a Director of the National Sculpture Factory and a board member of Wired Fm radio station, Visual Artists Ireland (VAI), Irish Visual artists Rights Organisation (IVARO), the Irish Musicians Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin (CMC), and The Ground-Up Artists Collective.

Examples of his work at available on the following websites at: and

Cllr. Kieran McCarthy – Biography:
Elected 2009 to date

For twenty years, Kieran McCarthy has actively promoted Cork’s heritage and its various communities and people. He has led and continues to lead successful heritage initiatives through his community talks, City and County school heritage programmes, walking tours, newspaper articles, books and his work through his heritage consultancy business. For the past 14 years. Kieran has written a local heritage column in the Cork Independent on the history, geography and the intersection of modern day life in communities in Cork City and County. He is the author of thirteen books; Pathways Through Time, Historical Walking Trails of Cork City (2001), Cork: A Pictorial Journey (co-written 2001), Discover Cork (2003), A Dream Unfolding, Portrait of St Patrick’s Hospital (2004), Voices of Cork: The Knitting Map Speaks (2005), In the Steps of St Finbarre, Voices and Memories of the Lee Valley (2006), Generations: Memories of the Lee Hydroelectric Scheme (co-edited, 2008), Inheritance, Heritage and Memory in the Lee Valley, Co. Cork (2010), Royal Cork Institution, Pioneer of Education (2010), Munster Agricultural Society, The Story of the Cork Showgrounds (2010), Cork City Through Time (co-written, 2012), Journeys of Faith, Our Lady of Lourdes Church Ballinlough, Celebrating 75 Years (2013), and West Cork Through Time (co-written, 2013). In June 2009, Kieran was elected as a local government councillor (Independent) to Cork City Council. More on Kieran’s work can be seen at and

Cllr. Chris O’Leary – Biography:
Elected 2014 to date

Chris is an elected and serving member of Cork City Council since 2002, and was elected Lord Mayor in June 2015.

Chris is a Master Jeweller, as well as graduate of University College Cork with diplomas in Community and Social Studies, co-operative trainers and organisers, and a professional degree in Youth and Community work.
As well as having a professional interest in the community Chris has spent the best part of over 30 years as a volunteer activist and has been involved in community affairs across Cork for the duration of this time. Chris has extensive experience of working with people through various mediums including the Arts to address issues of Anti-Poverty and Community Development.

Chris serves on various boards including Arts, the Voluntary and Community sector.

Since becoming a member of Cork City Council in 2002, Chris has served on the Arts Committe making him one of the longest serving members on Cork City Council Arts Committee.  

Chris has previously spent time working in Latin America (Brazil, Chile and Uruguay) on a voluntary basis, most notably the Amazon Region, where he worked to document the lives of indigenous people and the implications of deforestation, environmental impacts, health issues, child prostitution, street children and Human Rights.

Sarah Moran BA MRUP MIPI– Biography:
Elected 2014 to date

Sarah Moran graduated from University College Cork in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts and qualified as a town planner at University College Dublin in 2000. She has worked for An Bord Pleanála since 2006 and is now a Senior Planning Inspector. Prior to her time at the Board, she worked as a planner with Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Dublin City Council. Sarah is secretary of the Cork branch of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI). She also works with the IPI National Council to forward the Institute’s mission to advance planning by serving, improving and promoting the planning profession for the benefit of the community and the common good. Sarah is also chairperson of the NSF.

Dr. Niall Smith– Biography:
Elected 2015 to date

Niall Smith has a lifelong interest in understanding the universe we live in. He received a PhD in astrophysics from UCD in 1990 and along with others established the science and visitor centre at Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork in 2007 in a partnership between Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Cork City Council. The centre celebrates the full spectrum of human inquiry from the perspectives of science, art, humanities and performance, and is made possible by the innovation, creativity and hard work of a small and highly dedicated team. Niall is also the Head of Research at CIT, a job which affords him the opportunity to work across discipline boundaries.