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Meet the Board of Directors

John Punch - Chairperson

John is an experienced Chartered Accountant who was an owner-manager of the Punch Group of Companies which made shoe care and fabric-care products in Ireland for distribution in both Europe and the United States.   John joined the Board in 2011 to share his knowledge and experience in relation to finance and corporate governance. His interests include reading, motorsports and golf.

Gearoid Gilley - Vice Chairperson

Gearoid is a member of the general management team at Vhi Healthcare DAC, specialising in the delivery of healthcare and wellbeing solutions for customers in Ireland and Internationally.  He is a fellow of the chartered insurance institute, a certified insurance director and is a regular contributor to health insurance business and educational forums. He is former National President and director of the Insurance institute.  Gearoid joined the board to share his experience of healthcare systems and its funding to assist the continued development of a person centred service. His interests includes running, golf and reading.


Geni D’Arcy

Geni joined the Board in November 2018, with over 20 years HR experience having worked for a number of Irish and Multinational Companies.  With a Degree in Social Science and a Diploma in Employment Law she joined the Board wishing to share her knowledge, experience and to give something back to a great Cork charity organisation.    Geni’s interests are traveling and spending time with her family.



Shemas Eivers

Shemas is an experienced IT services professional who has been an owner-manager of several companies. He is responsible for teams in multiple locations including Ireland, Poland and Spain. He co-founded Client Solutions with Teddy McCarthy in 1994. Shemas joined the Board in October 2016, to share his knowledge and experience in relation to IT topics in particular.   His interests include motorsport, vintage and modern classic cars and gardening.


Simon Healy

Simon is the CEO of The Navi Group.  He has worked in the retail business for his entire career. His many senior roles have included working in the Grocery, Hardware and Pharmacy channels in the retail sector. As well as his current role in Navi, he is the Retail Sector Specialist with AIB, Chairman of the Griffin Retail Group and the Chairman of the Joyce Supermarket Group. Simon holds a BSc (Hons) from University College Cork, an MSc (HRM) from Sheffield Hallam University and is currently completing a Doctorate in Business Administration.


John Higgins

John is a Managing Partner of EY Cork which is a practice currently employing approximately 250 people in Cork in Audit, Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance. EY currently employs approximately 3,000 people in Ireland.  John is a Corporate Finance professional by background and continues to serve his clients in a range of Corporate Finance activities such as transactions, due diligence, selling businesses, fundraising, strategy and business performance improvement.  John joined the Board to support the future funding and financing activities of the Foundation in particular ensuring the Foundation has access to funding to continue to deliver best in class services to the people the Foundation supports.  John also chairs Cope’s Audit and Risk Committee.


Kieran Moran

Kieran is an experienced commercial lawyer with a broad range of expertise acting for private clients and SME’s.  He works closely with accountants and tax experts to deliver to his clients team-based practical business advice, underpinned by sound legal understanding and principles.  He is a former President of the Southern Law Association and remains a member of the SLA Council.   Kieran joined the Board to the intent that his legal experience and expertise and commercial background would be of benefit to the Board.  He has a keen interest in sport and acts for a number of well-known sporting organisations


Mark Nolan

Mark completed a B.Comm at UCC in 1985, and worked in various sales jobs for Crown Sales as an importer and distributor of consumable packaging materials particularly to the Irish food processing industry.  As part of his interest in continuing personal development he also completed an MBA and a PhD at UCC with a primary focus on the history of economic thought. He is originally from Glounthaune in East Cork and now resides in Cork City with his wife and three adult children.  For leisure, Mark participates in sea-swimming and plays some tennis. He also enjoys reading biographies and going to the cinema.



Katherine O’Leary

Katherine teaches home economics and life skills to students with an intellectual disability. Her son Diarmuid is supported by Cope foundation. She joined the Board by invitation due to her previous board directorships with Inclusion Ireland and Bord Bia. Katherine is a part-time dairy farmer and journalist. She is an activist for people with disabilities and a trainer of professionals on National Best Practice guidelines on Informing Families of their child’s disability.  


Donna Roche

Donna has worked in the acute hospital sector for many years, in Ireland , England and the USA in senior roles, and is currently the General Manager of Mater Private Cork which she has helped to grow and transform that business. She is from Bandon and her mom was involved in fundraising for Cope for many years.  Donna joined the Board in May 2018 to share her knowledge and expertise particularly in the regulatory space of quality and risk to the Board.  She enjoys a game of golf when time permits.