Eoin Wyse, IGI President
Eoin Wyse is the current President of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland and a Senior Engineering Geologist in the Ground Engineering team in Arup, Dublin. Eoin is an expert on aggregate quality, risk assessment and waste categorisation and has extensive experience in materials assessment, including contamination assessment and aggregate analysis. Eoin is also a member of the National Standards Authority Ireland (NSAI) Aggregates Panel.

Emeritus Professor John Sweeney
Emeritus Professor John Sweeney has been a member of the Geography Department at Maynooth University since 1978. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Glasgow in 1974 and also his PhD in the Meteorology and Climatology of Air Pollution from there in 1980. Over the intervening years John has taught courses in climatology, biogeography, geomorphology and environmental resource management at Maynooth and a number of universities in North America and Africa. He has published over 100 scientific papers and authored/ edited/co-authored 4 texts on various aspects of climatology and climate change in Ireland. He has served as President of the Irish Meteorological Society, the Geographical Society of Ireland and An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland. He has been Editor, Treasurer, Secretary of several national associations as well as being the Irish representative on a number of European academic bodies. He has been involved in a number of international research projects and has led a number of national funded research projects examining various aspects of climate change in Ireland. Professor Sweeney contributed to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is also a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on matters related to climate change science and policy.

Emer Blackwell
Emer Blackwell PGeo is a consultant geologist with 15 years’ experience in project generation, data management and geochemical spatial analysis in mineral exploration. Emer graduated from University of Galway in 2007 (B.Sc. Earth Science) and from University of Ulster in 2014 (M.Sc. GIS). In 2008 Emer began working in mineral exploration and has since worked iron ore, gold, base metals, and REE in Australia and across Europe including Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Iceland, and Cyprus. Emer is currently working with European Green Transition on their Olserum REE project in Sweden. Emer became a board member of the IGI and Chair of the IGI’s Minerals Information Working Group in 2021.

Mairéad Fitzsimons
Mairéad Fitzsimons PGeo EurGeol is a Principal Geologist in the Geoscience Policy Division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Mairéad graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2004 (B.A. Natural Science) and from Newcastle University in 2008 (M.Sc. Applied Hydrogeology). Following two years in the private sector as a contaminated land hydrogeologist, Mairéad worked in Geological Survey Ireland managing geophysical surveying, geochemical mapping and public outreach on the Tellus progamme. Mairéad is now responsible for technical aspects of geoscience policy in Ireland on minerals (including the management of legacy mine sites), geothermal energy and petroleum; and most recently led Ireland’s negotiation of the EU Critical Raw Materials Act.
Mairéad is a Past President of the IGI and a member of the European Federation of Geologists.

John Teeling
John Teeling is executive chairman of Connemara and has 40 years’ resources experience. Teeling is also involved in a number of other AIM exploration companies and has been a serial entrepreneur in the resource sector having founded African Diamonds and created Pan Andean Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold and West African Diamonds, all listed on AIM. He is also the founder and a former director of Kenmare Resources, former director of Arcon and holds interests in a number of industrial ventures. Mr. Teeling holds degrees in Economics and Business from University College Dublin, an MBA from Wharton and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard. He lectured for 20 years in business and finance at University College Dublin.

Eoin McGrath
Eoin McGrath is a Principal Geologist at Geological Survey Ireland. An exploration geologist with a structural background, he did his undergraduate degree at University College Dublin before moving to Norway where he worked with the Norwegian Centre of Excellence – Physics of Geological Processes at the University of Oslo. Having completed a Masters there he moved back to Ireland to work with the Fault Analysis Group at University College Dublin before spending a year working for the Exploration and Mining Division. Following his time in EMD, Eoin then moved into the private sector, working with Aurum Exploration for the best part of the next decade working all over the world searching for new mineral deposits. He joined the Survey in 2018 to lead the minerals programme and over the coming years his role will focus on delivering Ireland’s response to the European Union’s Critical Raw Materials Act.

Stephen Wheston
Stephen holds a degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry, a master’s in Environmental Science, and a professional diploma in Health and Safety, and has over 25 years’ experience in sustainability management. Stephen was the Environmental Manager at Lisheen Mine between 2003- 2017, was part of the team that developed the Closure Restoration and Aftercare Plan (CRAMP) and had overall responsibility for its implementation. Stephen’s current role is Director at Tembusu Sustainability and Risk Management Consultancy where he is working on a number of projects mostly in the extractive sector, from permitting new operations to closure, aftercare, and redevelopment. Stephen has worked on a number of mine closure projects in Ireland as well as the UK, South Africa, Namibia and Australia.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan is a Senior Planning Adviser in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Before joining the Department, Colin was a Senior Planner in South Dublin County Council for ten years with a range of responsibilities including development management, forward planning and enforcement. Colin holds an MSc in Town and Country Planning from Queens University Belfast and an MBA from Dublin City University.

Eóin Deegan
Eóin Deegan is a Principal Officer in the Environment Policy Division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. That Division is responsible for the policy and legislation governing EPA industrial licensing (Integrated Pollution Control / Industrial Emissions licences) under the EPA Act 1992 as well as the corporate governance of the EPA. The Division also has responsibility for Radiation Policy, Noise Policy, as well as engaging with the European Commission on environmental infringements. Prior to joining the Environment Policy Division, Eóin worked in the Department of the Environment in areas including Waste and Air Quality, as well as previously working in the Departments of Health and Finance.

Dr. Martin Bloemendal
Martin’s vision is that the enormous potential of the subsurface source of renewable energy must be put to its maximum use and be available for future generations. He is a specialist in Underground Thermal Energy Storage (UTES) and works on various studies on utilization of sustainable heat by means of seasonal storage in the subsurface. In these endeavors he always considers the system as a whole; the subsurface system, consumer and required facilities. At TU Delft he works on various projects to further develop UTES and teach courses at various levels and faculties. In addition, he has a leading position on UTES at TNO, the Dutch Geological Survey. The combination TNO-TU Delft allows Martin to develop proof of concept of new ideas at the university and subsequently implement these in pilot projects with industry in TNO projects.

Keith Byrne
Keith is a geologist by degree but with experience in taxation, building, supporting research, complex offshore operations and general project management. He spent 20 years working in the Oil & Gas industry on projects from Ireland, UK, Gulf of Mexico, California, Canada and Nigeria. Since 2019 He has worked as a consultant, transferring his skills into the renewable sector, working on underwater acoustics, identification and quantification of halite and porous reservoirs for hydrogen storage. Keith is currently working on Power to X projects, with the aim of using renewable electricity and captured CO2 to create synthetic hydrocarbons.

Dr Kara English
Kara is an Assistant Professor of Sedimentology and Lead of the Sustainable GeoEnergy Research Group within the UCD School of Earth Sciences. Kara’s research interests include the challenges and solutions of the energy transition in Ireland and across Europe, as well as sedimentology, energy and geoscience policy. Through industry, government and academic roles, she has worked across many disciplines including mineral exploration, petroleum, geothermal and CCS policy. Recent projects include establishing Ireland’s Offshore Stratigraphic Framework and geostorage assessments around Ireland. She holds a BSc from University of Victoria, Canada, and a PhD from University of Manchester, and is a chartered geologist with the Geological Society of London and Associate Editor of EAGE First Break.

Dr Marie Cowan
Dr Marie Cowan MRIA MIoD PGeo is the Director of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, a senior management board member at the British Geological Survey (BGS), strategic advisor to BGS in Wales, and chairs the BGS People, Culture Skills Oversight Group. Marie is an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy and elected to its Council in 2024.

Marie is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group for Science and Technology and chairs the annual Science in Stormont event. She is a Governance board member of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences at University College Dublin. Marie currently chairs Northern Ireland’s Geothermal Advisory Committee for the Department for the Economy; in 2023 Marie was awarded the Geological Society of London Energy Group medal. Marie is also a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and holds an IoD diploma in Company Direction and a Professional Geologist with the Institute of Geologists of Ireland.

In 2021 Marie led the Governance working group of EuroGeoSurveys involving 37 geological surveys. Marie holds a 1st Class Hons. B.Sc. Geology and Ph.D. in Geology from Queen’s University of Belfast. Outside work, Marie is the board chair of a community investment company.

Aoife Braiden
Aoife holds an honours degree in Earth Sciences from University of Galway and a PhD in Palaeobiology from UCD. Following her PhD she worked with the Geophysics Group in UCD for 9 years. In 2014 she established her own company, RML Ltd, and through this has been working with the Geological Survey Ireland since 2015 where she manages the GSI Research Programme. In recent years, her focus has been on research to support policy, in particular for topics such as geothermal energy and critical raw materials.

Shane Herlihy
Shane founded Environmental Risk Solutions (ERS) in 2012 to provide strategic and commercially focused advice to industry, investors, developers, financial organisations and insurers on environmental risk, contaminated land and sustainability. He has advised on a diverse range of large infrastructure and brownfield remediation projects across Europe, Australia & Latin America and regularly acts as an Expert Witness in Ireland. Prior to founding ERS, Shane held senior management positions with RPS for 11 years and was a project manager with AECOM following completion of his MSc in Hydrogeology from University College London. He also holds a BA(Mod) in Earth Sciences from Trintiy College Dublin and an MBA from UCD’s Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Vincent Fitzsimons
Vincent is Head of Flooding & Hydrology with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Vincent graduated from Trinity College Dublin and has a Masters degree from the University of Birmingham. He worked for 13 years for both public and private sectors in both Ireland and Scotland. He has been with SEPA for the past 20 years. Vincent has experience in groundwater protection, drought and flood risk management. The flooding work has also brought experience in crisis response and resilience planning.

Yvonne Ledger
Yvonne joined SCOR in March 2023 as a Senior Underwriter – Environmental Impairment Liability.
Prior to SCOR, she had worked in the London Environmental Insurance Market for over 22 years for XL Environmental (now AXA XL) then Chubb as an Underwriter and Senior Underwriter. She has extensive experience in underwriting a broad range of Environmental Insurance Products in the Corporate, Major and Multi-National sectors. Yvonne has also held the positions of Deputy Chair and Chair of the International Underwriting Association of London Non-Marine Environmental Committee.
Before entering the Insurance Industry, she was an Environmental Consultant with Laing Technology Group for six years where she undertook and supervised field works and produced Phase I, Phase II and Remediation reports.
Yvonne has a Degree in Geology from Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London and a Masters degree in Environmental Pollution Science from Brunel University. She has also gained the UK Insurance Industries Professional Qualification (ACII).

Vicky Evans
Vicky joined SCOR in January 2024 as a Senior Underwriter – Environmental Impairment Liability.
Prior to SCOR, she worked at Chubb where she was a Senior EIL Underwriter for over 8 years and prior to that was with ACE and AIG . Vicky has broad experience of the EIL market and environmental risks with nearly 20 years in the industry.
Vicky has a BSc in Geology from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. Prior to joining the insurance industry Vicky worked as a contaminated land and remediation consultant for Laing Technology Group, WS Atkins and RSK.

Aisling McDonnell
Aisling (BSc Hons, PGeo, EurGeol) has over 20 years in Engineering Geology in the Ireland and the UK including consultants Mouchel Parkman and Jacobs Engineering. In June 2011 Aisling joined Ground investigation Ireland Ltd as a Senior Engineering Geologist and progressed to Project Manager shortly after joining and became a Director in 2016. Aisling is an Engineering Geologist who has expertise in sampling, testing and investigation of sites both for future developments and existing sites evaluating the Geotechnical problems. Her areas of expertise include the assessment of karstic areas for construction, rock slope assessment, infrastructure works and marine projects.

Cian O’Hora
Cian O’Hora joined the IGI EDI Committee in 2020 and served as IGI President from 2021 to 2022. He holds an MSc degree in Environmental Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast and a BSc degree in Marine Science from NUI Galway. He was elected as Professional Geologist and European Geologist in 2014 and is also a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Waste Manager with the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management. Cian is currently employed as Managing Director with Integrated Materials Solutions, a company specialising in the sustainable management of construction wastes and resource recovery.

Aline Melo
Aline Melo is a geologist and geophysicist passionate about closing the gap between geophysical tools and geological challenges. Her main research focus is on integrated quantitative interpretation of multi-physics data for unveiling geology at depth using petrophysics, inverse theory, and artificial intelligence. She has a B.Sc. degree in geology from University of Brasilia, Brazil, (2008), an M.Sc. in geophysics from the same university (2012), and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Colorado School of Mines (2018). Before joining UCD she was an assistant professor of geophysics at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil and prior to that, she worked as a geophysicist in the mineral exploration team of the mining company Vale S.A.

Nic Bilham
Nic is a freelance researcher and consultant, working on responsible sourcing of metals and minerals, the relationship between mining and the circular economy, and the challenges of assuring environmental and social impact standards across complex production-consumption networks. Until 2018, he worked at the Geological Society of London for over 20 years, most recently as Director of Policy and Communications. Nic is chair of trustees of Geology for Global Development (GfGD), and an Executive Council member of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG). He holds degrees in History and Philosophy of Science (BA, University of Cambridge) and Science and Technology Policy (MSc, University of Sussex).


Dr. Deirdre Lewis
Deirdre is a professional geologist with more than 35 years of experience in the minerals and energy sectors internationally. She was President of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland from 2011-2013 and was a Technical Director with SLR Environmental Consulting from 2008 -2023.
Since graduation from Trinity College Dublin in 1987, Deirdre has worked on range of precious, critical and base metals exploration and feasibility projects in Ireland, Australasia, South America, Africa and Mongolia. She managed a range of multi-disciplinary projects for EU, UN and World Bank’s development programmes in Asia, Africa and Caribbean focused on building national institutional capacity in minerals & energy policy, industry regulation and environmental management. A niche area of her work included development of artisanal mining strategies in Mongolia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Zimbabwe and Zambia through local engagement, cooperative organisation, training and technical supports.
Deirdre has participated in applied research projects, including issues of climate adaptation, carbon capture & storage and indigenous supply of critical minerals for ongoing sustainable development in Europe.
Through her career, Deirdre has promoted meaningful social engagement to earn the ‘social licence to operate’ for minerals and energy developments, and to work towards benefit sharing for longer term community gains.

Dr Rob Raine
Dr Rob Raine FGS PGeo is Senior Energy Geologist at the GSNI (Geological Survey of Northern Ireland), based in Belfast. He provides geoscientific data, expertise and advice on energy to the Department for the Economy (DfE), other departments and agencies, local authorities, industry, academia and the public. His work primarily focusses on geothermal and energy storage, but previously involved management of the GSNI core archive. He maintains research interests in stratigraphy, petrography and sedimentology. Rob is a member of the Northern Ireland Geothermal Advisory Committee, the IGI Energy Geoscientists Working Group, and is the GSNI science lead for the DfE’s GeoEnergy NI geothermal demonstrator project. From 2008-2013 Rob worked as a reservoir geologist in the oil and gas sector and before this, completed a degree and PhD in geology at the University of Birmingham.