Board of directors

Board Members in the IEF

Peter Osborne (Chair)

Peter Osborne has been involved in good relations and reconciliation most of his life working in the private sector and with many public agencies and Councils in Ireland, North and South.

He was Chair of the Community Relations Council and prior to that, for ten years, was a Commissioner or Chair of the Parades Commission.

Peter founded and chaired Landmark East (now Eastside Property), a property-based social enterprise with assets of approximately £10 million.

Peter is a board member of the International Fund for Ireland and the Policing Board.

Peter has been involved in many voluntary activities over the years. Volunteering at present includes as chair of the Integrated Education Fund, chair of Remembering Srebrenica, and chair of the Centre for Cross Border Studies as well as a board member with National Museums Northern Ireland.

Ken Cathcart

Ken Cathcart spent most of his working life as an Administrator and Customer Services Manager in the electricity industry. After taking early retirement from Northern Ireland Electricity, he worked on a number of contentious community disputes and family issues as an independent consultant and mediator.

Ken has a B.A.(Hons) in Business Studies from Ulster University and a Masters’ in Business Administration from The Open University, with a Distinction in Strategic Management.

He was a founder parent of Braidside Integrated Primary School in Ballymena and the first Chair of its Board of Governors. On moving to Derry, he served on the Board of Governors of Oakgrove Integrated College and was Chair for a five year period. He also chaired the Board of Directors of IEF during a previous term of office. He is currently a Governor of North Coast Integrated College and a member of the Interim Board of Governors of the proposed new Controlled Integrated College in the Causeway area.

In his spare time, Ken enjoys walking and music and is a keen bridge player.

Sorcha Diver

Sorcha is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast and has worked at Allstate Northern Ireland for over 20 years, joining as a graduate developer and holding senior leadership roles in operations and security before heading up the Risk & Compliance, Administrative and Legal Services teams, with responsibility for data privacy, risk management and regulatory compliance.

Sorcha is involved in a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives at Allstate NI including being a member of the Diversity and Inclusion steering group and the Women in Technology at Allstate network. She has spoken on the topic of inclusive diversity as a guest lecturer at Ulster University as well as at Digital DNA Belfast.

Sorcha previously chaired the Board of Governors of Lough View Integrated Primary and Nursery School and is an independent assessor for Diversity Mark NI.

Barbara McAtamney

As an official in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Barbara McAtamney has held a range of legislative, policy, operational, and programme/project management roles, including Departmental Assembly Liaison Officer whilst in the Justice Minister’s Office. During this time she has worked closely with Ministers, special advisors, political representatives, policy advisors from a variety of Departments, councils, a range of arms-length bodies and voluntary and community groups.

During her career, Barbara achieved an Honours Degree in Management and Business Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. She also completed the Leaders for Tomorrow Programme at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Barbara is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Governors at Corran Integrated Primary School and Nursery, Larne. As a Governor she serves on the Finance, Staffing and General Purposes Sub-Committee.

In her spare time she enjoys reading and travelling.

Michael McKernan

Michael is an economist by training and has 25 years’ experience working in Government, North and South, in the Irish energy sector and in strategic communications. He has a BSSc (Economics) and MSSc from Queen’s University, Belfast and a range of other qualifications including a postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Statistical Methods from Trinity College, Dublin.

He is founder of BMF Business Services, an independent Northern Ireland communications consultancy/ publishing house. BMF offers event management and communications consultancy services and publishes a number of regular titles including the ‘AgendaNI’ public policy magazine.

In his earlier career Michael was a professionally qualified Housing Manager in the NI Housing Executive. He subsequently joined the Department of Finance in Dublin where, after a spell in Public Expenditure Division, he became an Irish Government trade negotiator in Brussels and Geneva and a Director of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). He later returned to Northern Ireland to become Interconnector Business Manager for Northern Ireland Electricity.

In more recent times Michael stepped outside BMF when invited to serve as Special Adviser (SpAd) to Northern Ireland’s Social Development Ministers (Margaret Ritchie/Alex Attwood) and later Environment Ministers (Alex Attwood/Mark H Durkan).

Michael is also currently a non-Executive Director of Mutual Energy Ltd and of Belfast Metropolitan College.

Outside of work Michael pursues a strong interest in early Irish heritage. He has 3 children and lives in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Brandon McMaster (Treasurer)

Brandon McMaster retired as a Director from the Northern Ireland Audit Office in 2017. He has over 40 years’ experience in the public sector, 38 of which have been as an external auditor to government departments and public bodies, challenging and supporting management through financial and value for money audits, and attendance at Audit and Risk Committees. His time in NIAO included a 2-year secondment to the Department of Finance.

Brandon is a qualified Company Secretary. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Organisational Design and Development from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Brandon is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Board of the Forest Service and is Chair of its Audit and Risk Committee.

Ellen McVea

Ellen McVea retired as vice principal of Shimna Integrated College, having taught English there since the school’s foundation in 1994. She previously taught in Methodist College in Belfast and Enniskillen Collegiate School. She was a member of the founding group of Erne Integrated College and was a member of All Children Together from the mid-seventies. She also served as chief moderator and reviser with CCEA and on the ministerial group for the curriculum in English.

Ellen attended Friends School, Lisburn, the University of Durham, Liverpool University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Ulster and has held schoolteacher fellowships at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. She was previously an active member of Women in Education and the Women’s Development Network. She comes from Whitehead and now lives in Newcastle, County Down.

Ellen is currently a NICIE representative on the Boards of Governors of Shimna IC and Erne IC and an EA representative on the Board of Governors of All Children’s IPS. She is also a past director of NICIE and of Voiding the Void.

Jane Morrice

Born in Belfast, Jane’s teenage experience of the ‘troubles’ led to her devoting her later years to peacebuilding focussing on the role of women and Europe in conflict resolution. She started her European career in 1973, as one of the first students in the new University of Ulster to study ‘West European Studies’ the same year the UK and Ireland joined the EU.

After working as a journalist in Brussels for a French press agency covering EU relations with Africa and South East Asia, she joined BBC Belfast as a radio/TV reporter where she eventually covered the conflict. She was in the newsroom at the time of the Enniskillen bomb and she reported from the scene of the Milltown Cemetery attack in March 1988.

In 1992, she was appointed Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland and hosted the first visit of the EC President Jacques Delors to the region. This led to the initiation of the first EU Peace Programme set up in 1994. This is the only multi £billion EU funding programme supporting conflict resolution which has continued beyond Brexit.

As co-founder of the NI Women’s Coalition which played a vital role in the peace talks, Jane wrote the reference to Integrated Education in the Good Friday Agreement. In 1998, she was elected to the new NI Assembly and Deputy Speaker in 2000. After the fall of the Assembly, she went on to serve two terms as Deputy Chief NI Equality Commissioner.

Jane then served for 15 years as Northern Ireland member specialising in peacebuilding on the Brussels-based EU Civic Forum (EESC). This is a body of 350 people representing business, industry, workers and others from all EU Member States. She also served as EESC Vice President (Deputy Speaker) in her final term.

Jane is also Chair of a new initiative to set up a Belfast-based Museum of the Troubles and Peace. Continuing her work for peace, Jane has given talks in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Turkey, Lebanon and Cyprus promoting the role of women in peacebuilding.

To mark her commitment to her work, Jane was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for civic leadership by Queen’s University on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Patricia Murtagh (Deputy Chair)

Patricia Murtagh is the retired principal of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School.

Hazelwood Integrated Primary was established by parents along with its sister school Hazelwood Integrated College in 1985 in an interface area in North Belfast. Patricia was part of the original team facing many challenges and developing what Integrated Education looks like in real terms. She has a strong belief in the impact of educating children together and the positive permutations of this for whole communities.

Since retiring, Patricia has maintained strong connections with the ongoing work of developing and supporting Integrated Education through NICIE and IEF. The message of integration has been shared with future educationalists in talks at Stranmillis College and she is actively involved in developing the role of Religious Education in Integrated schools through an Interfaith group at IEF. She has played an active role as an IEF director, sitting on many steering groups, and maintains a strong commitment to learn more and offer insight where relevant.

Patricia is a keen member of her church choir and enjoys yoga and walking. Regular visits to her house in Donegal are an important way to recharge.

Kathleen O’Hare OBE

Kathleen O’Hare OBE is from Newry and has 16 years’ experience as a Head Teacher. From 2012-2018, she was Principal of Hazelwood Integrated College in Belfast and from 2002-2012, she was Principal of St. Cecilia’s College in Derry.

She has knowledge and experience of education in both the post-primary and Higher Education sectors. Mrs O’Hare serves on the Board of Belfast Metropolitan College and is Chair of their Curriculum Quality and Engagement Committee as well as Chair of the Education Committee of the Council of CCEA (the examination, assessment and regulation body in NI). She is a former member of Senate of Queen’s University Belfast.

She sits as an Expert Panel member on underachievement for the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. From 2018 she has been a Leadership Consultant with the British Council and has worked with educational leaders from the Middle East, Asia and South America. She is also a panel member for the Teacher Regulation Agency for the Department of Education in England and Wales.

In recognition of her leadership in education she was awarded UK Headteacher of the year in 2008 and Principal of the Year in the Blackboard Awards in Belfast in 2017. In 2012 she was made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of her cross community work and is a Fellow of the International Peace School at Messines.

Mary Roulston MBE

Mary Roulston, the founding principal of Millennium Integrated Primary School, was also the school’s teaching principal for its first five and a half years. The school was pioneered by parents and opened in September 2000 with 10 Primary 1 children. Mary led the school for 17 years until her retirement in September 2017, by which time the school had grown to an enrolment of 322 children with an additional 53 children in the nursery.

Mary was born and educated in England. Her husband is from Northern Ireland and when they got married in 1977, the intention was to live in Yorkshire. However a working summer holiday in Northern Ireland, encouragement from his family to stay here, and finding a beautiful, old farmhouse on the Ards Peninsula enticed her to stay!

She has worked in a variety of schools in England, in France, both pre and post qualification, and in Northern Ireland. She has also visited schools in America, Spain, Norway, Israel and the West Bank, to observe practice in the classrooms and to discuss educational philosophy. In addition to this she has also worked in the Rudolf Steiner School in Holywood and is now a Trustee of the school. A career break of 8 years, during the time when her 3 sons were born, and were of pre-school age, took her into a prolonged period of cross-community work in her local village. During this period she was Chairperson of the Parent and Toddler Group and also the Community Association, of which she was a founder member and which delivered a much needed community hall and health facilities. She continues to be Chair of the Board of Governors of Kircubbin Community Nursery.

Throughout her varied career and experiences she has worked with the socially and academically elite as well as with the most marginalised members of society in three different countries. Inclusion of children with complex special needs has always been important to her.

She was delighted to be awarded the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education Award in 2014. Mary considers that being the founding principal of Millennium and working in the integrated sector has been the biggest and most rewarding challenge of her career.

June Wilkinson (Deputy Chair)

June Wilkinson has one daughter and lives with her husband outside Crossgar. She has a degree in social policy and business management and commenced her career in the NI Civil Service in November 1977. She has had a varied career working on a range of policy and development areas including capital investment projects in the Department of Health and OFMDFM. June concluded her career in the Department of Education securing Executive approval and publication of the Children and Young People’s Strategy for NI. The strategy is the framework through which government must deliver improved outcomes for all children and young people in NI.

A committed supporter of Integrated Education, June was part of the Parents Group who, with the support of the IEF in 2006, opened the independent post-primary Rowallane Integrated College. Two years later the school secured Department of Education development approval to join with Down Academy in Downpatrick to open the new Blackwater Integrated College.

June is a Trustee on the Board of the charitable Ballynahinch Counselling Service, which is free to the community, working across the mid-Co Down area in partnership with the Public Health Agency and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.