Breaking Through is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors with three staff members.
Board of Directors
Gerard Griffin (Chairman) & National Co-ordinator, Youthreach/ VTOS
Gerry has been on the Breaking Through Board since it was first established. Employed directly by Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to co-ordinate the network of Youthreach and the VTOS programme by providing direct ongoing support to the key stakeholders associated with both programmes.
Gerry’s role involves working at a strategic level within the Department, but also possesses a broad range of managerial experience of managing and leading EU funded based projects over the last 20 years. Gerry has a strong commitment to supporting young people and adults who are experiencing a whole range of educational challenges and endeavours to be a voice for these within the various departments.
Gerry has represented the Department at many different fora at local, regional and national levels.
Ciaran Kenny – Vice Chairperson & Aftercare Worker, Tusla
Ciaran Kenny qualified from Athlone Institute of Technology with an Hons Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Studies in Social Care in 2004. Ciaran has worked with vulnerable young people for over twenty years both in residential care as well as aftercare. During his time working with Don Bosco Care, Ciaran founded both the Don Bosco Care football team and activity centre. Ciaran is currently employed as an Aftercare Worker with Tusla, based in Dublin North Central, working closely with young people both in care and accessing aftercare, supporting their transition from various care settings, and assisting in the coordination and delivery of their individual aftercare plans.
Neil Forsyth – Board Member and Head of Youth Services, Focus Ireland
Neil Forsyth has worked for the homeless and housing charity Focus Ireland for nearly 20 years. He is responsible for all Focus Ireland’s services for young people, including its aftercare services, under-18 residential services, day services, mediation and therapeutic services and youth housing projects. Part of his role involves coordinating the implementation of Focus Ireland’s current strategy, a key element of which is the prevention of youth homelessness. He has also contributed to the development of a range of national policies, including the National Aftercare Policy and the government’s recent Youth Homelessness Strategy.
Sharon Byrne – Board Member & Aftercare Worker, Crosscare
Sharon is an Aftercare Worker with Crosscare and has worked in this role since 2006 to present. She has worked in partnership with the Unaccompanied Minors, HSE team, offering them a day programme and assisting them with their education and sourcing funding for third level. Sharon started her career working with children in a nursery setting for ten years; she then went on to work in Smylys, Monkstown Residential for a year working with both boys and girls under the care of the HSE. Following on from this position Sharon worked with Home Again (formerly Los Angeles), residential unit for boys, she held this position for seven years. Sharon has a degree in Social Care Practice. During the course of her career Sharon has supervised DIT students on placement.
Edel Weldon – Board Member & Advocacy Officer, EPIC
Edel holds a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care from Sligo I.T. She has extensive experience working in various Children’s Residential Centres for over 9 years as a Social Care Worker, Acting Social Care Leader/Deputy Manager and Acting Manager for a period .Edel was the first established Aftercare Worker in the then HSE Dublin South City Area and developed the Aftercare service (Now part of TUSLA Dublin South Central). Edel joined the team in EPIC – ‘Empowering People in Care’ in January 2017 as an Advocacy Officer.
Eavan Brady – Board Member & Assistant Professor in Social Work, Trinity College, Dublin
Eavan is an Assistant Professor in Social Work in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin. She holds a Masters in Social Work from Trinity College Dublin, a Higher Diploma in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College Dublin. Eavan’s PhD explored the educational pathways of adults with care experience in Ireland using a life course perspective. Prior to joining the School of Social Work & Social Policy, Eavan worked in the homelessness, housing, and mental health sectors in both Dublin and Toronto, Canada. Eavan also spent two years working with Practice and Research Together in Toronto where she was heavily involved in supporting staff in child welfare agencies across Canada to use evidence-informed practices in their work. Eavan teaches Introduction to Social Research on the Masters in Social Work, the Masters in Child Protection and Welfare, and the Masters in Social Policy and Practice. Eavan also teaches Human Development in Social Contexts on the Masters in Social Work course and Psychology for Social Work on the Bachelor in Social Studies.
Mary Kenneally – Board Member, Facilitator & Nurse.
Mary has a background in Psychiatric Nursing and worked as a registered nurse for 36 years. During this time she trained in Psychotherapy doing a Masters in Psychotherapy and Post Grad Diploma in Systemic Family Therapy. She also holds a Certificate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. She holds a level 6 QQI qualification in Training delivery and evaluation. As a result of her vast experience and expertise she has created and facilitated group and individual programmes for stress and anxiety in both personal and work related environments. She also facilitates Programmes for National Office of Suicide Prevention, namely, SafeTalk and ASIST as well as presenting Wellbeing programmes for Mental Health Ireland.
Laura Whelan – HR Manager, Henry J Lyons (Architects)
Laura is a HR leader, with 18 years’ experience across Generalist HR, Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate Recruitment and Social Responsibility who has worked at a strategic level supporting organisations in aligning their people strategy to business goals. Laura currently leads the HR function at Henry J Lyons, a large Architectural practice in Dublin. Prior to this, Laura worked in various roles within HR for a large international law firm based in London. Laura is also an accredited executive coach and has worked with individuals to support them through career or personal life transitions. Laura is currently studying part-time towards a BA in Humanities (Psychology Major) through Dublin City University. Her interest in this area and her HR expertise has led to her joining the Board at Breaking Through.
Seán Beatty – Barrister-at-Law, Law Library, Four Courts
Seán is a practising barrister with a focus on the areas of child care, immigration/asylum, housing, and family law. He is a lecturer on a number of human rights law modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Griffith College Dublin. Seán formerly worked as a Judicial Assistant at the Supreme Court and as Procedural Rights Fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Limerick and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham.
Yvonne Casey – National Director
Reporting to the Board, Yvonne is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the organisation, developing and implementing the strategic plan.
Yvonne is a great ambassador for the organisation and its values whilst leading and developing a dedicated, ambitious staff team. A strategic thinker who can work collaboratively with the Board to realise Breaking Through’s vision. Valuing both good governance and best practice in her role, Yvonne is highly organised and self-motivated and enjoys a fast-paced environment with a wide & varied remit.
Darlene Sansovini – Senior Administrator
Darlene is a confident, honest and hardworking administrator with many years’ experience in various organisations. She possesses effective organisational skills and proficiency with administration and practical tasks.
She is a quick learner who can absorb new ideas and can communicate clearly and effectively with everyone she deals with.
Fiona Dockery – Accounts Administrator
Fiona has over 20 years accounts experience covering both practice and industry. Her role at Breaking Through is to ensure that all financial records are maintained in a timely and efficient manner and in line with legislation.
She assists and supports Yvonne in sourcing new funding and supplying existing funders with full financial and traceability back-up.