Board of directors

Board Members in the IEF

Peter Osborne (Chair)

Peter has been involved in political engagement, policy, participation, dispute resolution and reconciliation for over 25 years. He leads Rubicon, undertaking a number and range of audits, strategies, mediations and planning.

Peter is Chair of the regional board of Remembering Srebrenica and a member of its UK Board, and chairs the ARK Advisory Board, a joint social policy initiative by Northern Ireland’s two universities (QUB and UU).

Peter was an elected representative for 12 years during which time he was a delegate to the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement process.

He was a director of Extern and Extern Ireland and was a Northern Ireland board member of the Big Lottery Fund.

Peter founded the social enterprise, Landmark East; was a director of the Building Change Trust; led the founding of the Open Government Network; chaired the Community Relations Council; and chaired the Parades Commission for 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. Ken is currently a Governor of North Coast Integrated College in Coleraine.

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

Gráinne Clarke

Gráinne Clarke is a graduate of both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. She holds a BA Hons in Politics and an MSc in Communication, Advertising and Public Relations.

Gráinne is Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager at the UK section of Amnesty International where she is responsible for developing and managing AIUK’s campaign activity, including public affairs, policy and legislative work, public relations and media in Northern Ireland. She is a spokesperson for the organisation and regularly provides media commentary on a range of human rights issues. Gráinne also manages Amnesty’s strategic litigation on matters including the legacy of the past and women’s healthcare.

Gráinne has worked on a range of local, national and international issues. Her experience spans the Human Rights, Social Economy, Education, Community and Voluntary sectors.

Outside of Amnesty, Gráinne is a former Vice Chair of the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group and has sat on several management boards where she advised on communications and political advocacy.

Sorcha Diver

Born in Downpatrick, Sorcha has lived in Belfast for most of her life. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Queens University Belfast with a BA Hons in English Literature and History of Art and Masters degrees in Computer Science and Technical Communication.

Sorcha has worked at Allstate Northern Ireland for over 20 years, joining as a graduate developer and holding leadership roles in operations and security before heading up the Risk & Compliance and Administrative Services teams, with responsibility for risk management, business conduct and ethics.

She 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. Outside of Allstate, she is Chair of the Board of Governors of Lough View Integrated Primary and Nursery School and is a Diversity Buddy for Diversity Mark NI.

Sorcha has two children and enjoys running, pilates, crochet and travel

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 Educational, Pastoral Care and Admissions Sub-Committee and Finance, Staffing and General Purposes Sub-Committee.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, running 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 during which time the existing North/South electricity Interconnector was restored (after a long outage) and the NI interconnector with Scotland was built. He subsequently spearheaded NIE’s entry into the Southern Irish electricity market, lobbying intensively in Dail Eireann and elsewhere to create the legal and regulatory conditions under which the company’s new independent Power project could succeed. Since then he has advised many energy organisations and has written extensively on energy and other areas of public policy.

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). He has had the experience of attending Stormont’s Executive meetings for almost 6 years.

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. He is also a Member of Council at Malone Golf Club.

Ellen McVea

Ellen McVea retired as vice principal of Shimna Integrated College, having taught English there since the school’s foundation in 1994. She has also served three terms as staff governor. 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.

Ellen attended Friends School, Lisburn, the University of Durham, Liverpool University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Ulster and has held school teacher 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 member of the Boards of Governors of two integrated schools: Shimna IC and All Children’s IPS.

Jane Morrice

Born in Belfast, Jane Morrice was a teenager when the ‘troubles’ began. After graduating with a degree in European Studies, she worked for six years as a journalist in Brussels and returned to work as a reporter for BBC Northern Ireland. She went on to become Head of the European Commission Office in NI and was one of the architects of the EU PEACE Programme. A long-standing advocate of integrated education, as a founder member of the NI Women’s Coalition, her input into the Good Friday negotiations led to the inclusion of integrated education in the Agreement. She was elected to the first new NI Assembly and became Deputy Speaker in 2000. She also served as Deputy Chief Equality Commissioner and became a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), representing NI in Brussels, and was Vice President for Communications.

Specialising in the role of women in peace-building, Jane has been involved in missions to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus. She has authored several reports on the role of the EU in the NI peace process and, following the UK/EU referendum, she launched a petition to keep NI in the EU as part of the UK, in a similar way to what has become the NI Protocol. She stood as an Independent for the European Parliament to increase the ‘remain’ vote and, although failed in her bid, she still considers herself as a ‘European Union-ist’. Following her EESC ‘retirement’ after Brexit, she is now working on a major initiative, known as the White Dove Way, proposing a European path of peace from Northern Ireland to Nicosia, linking the two divided islands on either side of the EU, tracing the legacy of EU peace building throughout Europe and following in the footsteps of the Irish pilgrim Columbanus.

Patricia Murtagh (Deputy Chair)

Patricia Murtagh is the recently 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 of staff and parents that set up the schools in temporary accommodation with no direct government funding for the first few months. The challenges were considerable but, in spite of this, both schools are very successful and continue to grow. Patricia will always be proud of her part in this project and her commitment to the children in her care over the years. Furthermore, she has a strong belief in the impact of educating children together and the positive permutations of this for whole communities.

Over the years Patricia led Hazelwood to be a significant part of the story of the growth of integrated education and was keen to welcome those who wish to learn more – whether these were schools wishing to transform or visitors from different countries. The message of integration has been shared with future educationalists in talks at Stranmillis University College and with colleagues at a recent Civil Service Woman’s Day event. Patricia also served as chair of the Association of Principal Teachers of Integrated Schools (APTIS) and has played an active role in supporting the work of the IEF and NICIE.

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

Kathleen O’Hare

Kathleen O’Hare 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.

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 the Maze/Long Kesh project in 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 currently secretary to 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.