Catholic Comment Team

New Speakers 2018

John Morgan

John is a former corporate lawyer, now retired from active commercial life.  He gives his time and expertise to pro bono work, primarily in the healthcare sector, and is currently Chair of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. John lives in Dublin and is a family man with children and grandchildren

Alexandra Brazil

Alexandra is from Dublin and is a student of Law and Business at UCD.

Andrew O’Callaghan

Andrew is a chartered accountant, UCD graduate, husband, dad, and sports nut: he’s a Liverpool fan and former Chairman of St Patrick’s Athletic, Dublin. Andrew is currently chairperson of Monkstown Parish Pastoral Council and is a partner in PwC, leading PwC’s Asset Management business in Europe. 

Evana Boyle

Evana is a solicitor by profession but at the moment is working as a mother and homemaker,  while studying psychotherapy part-time.  She is married with four children and lives in Dublin.

Jason Conroy

Jason is a student of Law with History at UCD. In 2017 he interned with a Texas charity law firm who represent indigent prisoners on death row. Jason has a lifelong passion for history and is also interested in philosophy and debating.

Mairéad Fallon

Mairéad is a university student from Galway, currently pursuing a degree in Education and Psychology in Limerick. She is already well acquainted with Pope Francis, having met him at the 2016 World Youth Day in Poland, along with 3 million other young people. Mairéad is a fluent Irish speaker, and a talented Irish dancer, featuring on the Late Late Show and TG4’s Fleadh TV.

Melissa Byrne

Melissa is from Kildare and is passionate about her faith and her family. She is currently a student and when she isn't hitting the books enjoys reading, gourmet chocolate, and occasionally socialising. Melissa was a lance corporal with St. John’s Ambulance and loved going to concerts and matches to provide First Aid

Maria Byrne

Maria is a columnist with The Irish Catholic newspaper with a keen interest in politics, education and human rights issues. She loves social media interaction, current affairs, hiking and travel.  A former nurse, Maria is married with six children and lives in Kildare.

Sam Shephard

Sam Shephard works as a research scientist in the area of natural resources management, where he is inspired by the call to stewardship of creation. He is originally from the UK, now living in Dublin and is married with seven children.  Sam is a convert to the Catholic faith.

Petra Conroy

A graduate of film and broadcasting, Petra worked as an independent film-maker and part-time lecturer in film production for several years, before completing a Masters in Applied Theology. She also has qualifications in legal studies and in adult education. She has been the Coordinator of Catholic Comment (Catholic Voices Ireland) since its inception in 2011. Petra is from Kildare, but wouldn’t mind being from Galway, where she has roots. 

Anne grew up in Cork city and moved to Youghal when she married Paul and they now have three adult daughters. She currently works in the public service having worked in the past in the health sector, the building industry, community work, tourism and fulltime in the home. Anne’s first radio interview was as a child speaking on her

interest in wild flowers.  Her interests include travel, gardening, charity work and spending time with family and friends, especially on Bere Island.  Anne enjoys life outside the city and loves living by the sea.   

David Conroy

Originally from Naas, Co Kildare, David graduated from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where he studied Acting. He subsequently left Ireland to work in Canada before returning home again (he missed the spuds). In his spare time, David enjoys doing all sorts of cool stuff with his young daughter and wife (like putting up shelves and DIY).

David’s hobbies include playing the piano, singing opera and making movies of his international chronicles. 

Frank Hurl

Frank is married to Eleanor and they have three adult children. Originally from Newry, Co Down, Frank now lives in Dublin where

he is a teacher in Blackrock College. He also works with graduate students of education in the areas of Religion and Catechetics.

He holds degrees in Philosophy and Theology as well as a PhD in Education.

Jacki Ascough

Originally from Texas, Jacki lives in South County Dublin with her husband, Tom, and their six children.  She presents a talk show called Saturday Magazine on Spirit Radio and is a columnist for the Alive! newspaper.  Jacki is a certified FertilityCare Practitioner working in NaPro Technology.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV/Film from the University of North Texas.  

Paul Bourke

Paul is from Dublin and now lives in Co. Meath with his wife and their two young children. He is a lecturer of Computer Science and Information Technology Law in Dublin. He has worked abroad in England, USA and Australia at various times in his career and enjoys walking, cycling, fishing and exploring historical and archaeological sites.

Paddy Scully

Paddy lives in Kanturk, County Cork and is married with four adult children. Paddy is an engineer and also holds an MBA.

Maura Garrihy

Maura Garrihy is originally from Ennistymon, Co Clare. She studied Theology and Business Studies in St Patricks College, Maynooth and graduated in 2012.  She has been actively engaged in ministry since her mid teens and is extremely passionate about youth evangelisation in the Irish Church.  Since graduating in 2012 she

has continued to be heavily involved in ministry, including leading a national secondary school retreat team, speaking at Conferences and working in the area of evangelisation and mission.  Maura currently works for the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora as Youth Ministry Director and is based in Galway city.

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Anne Murray