Executive Committee

Caroline Quinn


Caroline is Principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS, Johnstown, Dun Laoghaire, a mainstream school with autism classes. Caroline was nominated to the NABMSE Executive Committee in 2015 and was elected Chairperson in November 2020.

Elaine Benson Ryan


Elaine is Principal of Red Hill School, Limerick since 2014, having previously taught there for a number of years. Red Hill School is an Autism Specific Special School.  Elaine was previously a Resource Teacher in Mainstream schools for 6 years and a primary school teacher in a variety of classes. Elaine has experience in facilitation and presentation within the education sector having been seconded to the Special Education Support Service (SESS).

Mark Shinnick

Honorary Secretary

Mark is a native of County Cork and graduated from Carysfort College of Education in 1984. He worked for 15 years in a DEIS Junior school in Dublin 24 which included the role of Special Class Teacher for children with Mild Learning difficulties.

Mark worked as a Special Education Teacher in Enable Ireland Sandymount for 4 years and in 2002 was appointed Principal of Rutland Street Project in Sean Mc Dermott Street Dublin 1, the only stand-alone pre-school funded by the Department of Education and Skills. The school was set up in 1969 as an early intervention programme to prevent school failure. In 2016 with the support of NCSE the school opened a special class for preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Mark was appointed as a member of NABMSE Executive Committee in November 2020.

Patricia Harrington

Honorary Treasurer

Patricia is a member of the NABMSE Executive Committee since January 2010. She is the Principal of the School of the Divine Child in Ballintemple, Cork since 2001. From 1996 to 2001, Patricia was seconded to Cork Institute of Technology as Arts Officer. She is a founder member of Cork Lifelong Learning Festival and a member of Cork City Learning Forum. She is also an Associate of the Special Education Support Service. Patricia is the IPPN representative on the Cork Music Partnership. Patricia was previously Vice-Chairperson of NABMSE.


Éilis Dillon

Éilis is Principal of St. Cecilia’s School, Sligo since 2004 and has been a member of NABMSE Executive Committee since 2005. She was previously a Teaching Principal in a Mainstream school for eleven years and a primary school teacher in a variety of classes.

Éilis has over fourteen years’ experience in facilitation and presentation within the education sector having been seconded to School Development Planning and the Special Education Support Service (SESS). She has been a member of Sligo Education Management Committee, Chairperson District 4 INTO and continues to work as a guest lecturer on the SNA Certificate Course with St. Angela’s College, Lough Gill, Sligo. Éilis was previously Chairperson of NABMSE.

Sr. Marie Carroll

Marie has been a member of NABMSE Central Executive for many years and was Chairperson for 9 years. She is the Patron’s Nominee and Chairperson of St. Patrick’s School, Kilkenny. She is currently the director of the RSC Education Office and is also Chairperson of the Board of Management of a secondary and primary school. She has been class teacher in a mainstream school and a teacher and principal of schools for children with mild and moderate learning disabilities. Marie is a member of the Board of the Association of Trustees of Catholic Schools.

Maria is currently working as an Associate for the NCSE/SESS in the Autism Primary Team and she is also a Mentor to other newly appointed Principals under the auspices of the Centre for School Leadership.

Des Cullen

Des has been Principal of Moyne Community School, which is a large mainstream second level school in North Longford, since 2009.

Des has been an Associate with the PDST Leadership Misneach programme for the last six years and is a CSL Mentor and Cara.

Previously a woodwork teacher, Des has a Masters in Educational Leadership, a Certificate in Special and Inclusive Education and a BA in Public Management.

He was appointed to the NABMSE Executive Committee in November 2021.

Aileen Flannery

Aileen sits as a community representative on the Board of Management at St Vincents School, Lisnagry, Limerick. St. Vincent’s is a Special School for children with Moderate GLD, with 20 classes and over 90 staff.

Aileen is working in hospitality management for over 30 years and a graduate of the Shannon College of Hotel Management. A native of Limerick city, Aileen has served as the Shannon Regional Chairperson for the Irish Hotel Federation on the national committee for a number of years and is involved at committee level with Limerick based Feile Luimnigh.

Niamh Corrigan

Niamh is Principal of St Declan’s Special School in Dublin. St Declan’s Special School works specifically with children with social, emotion and behavioural difficulties. Prior to becoming Principal of St Declan’s, she spent years working in DEIS schools and as acting Principal in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, working with children with brain and spinal injuries. Niamh has also completed a Masters in Leadership in Education and Christian Studies. Niamh became a member of the NABMSE Executive Committee in 2020.

Greg Browne

Greg is Principal of Catherine McAuley Special School, Limerick since 2009 and has been on the Staff since 1983. The school has a staff of 55 and caters for 240 pupils with Mild and Borderline Mild General Learning Disabilities.

Greg has a B.Ed from St. Mary’s Marino; M.Ed In ICT in Education from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick; Diploma in Special Education from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick; Diploma In Management and Industrial Relations from the National College of Ireland. He has had several articles published on topics in Special Education. Greg is presently doing a Diploma in Education Law from The Law Society Of Ireland.

Mary Crawford

Mary is a Patron’s nominee to the Setanta School Board of Management and is Chairperson of Cloonanaha Primary School Board of Management, Co Clare. Mary served as Principal of St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point, Co. Clare (2000-2018) having previously taught at Rice College, Ennis and Coolmine Community School, Dublin. She was a member of The Governing Authority of National University Galway. Mary also was Director of The Secretariat of Voluntary Secondary Schools (JMB), was Chairperson of The Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools and Chairperson of The JMB National Conference.

Mary is passionate about inclusive education and was responsible for the inclusion of a state-of-the-art Special Education Facility at St. Josephs Spanish Point. She is an experienced facilitator and leads a number of community integration initiatives. Recently nominated to NABMSE, she looks forward to working with all the partners in supporting the education of students with special needs.

Margaret Enright

Margaret is a post-Primary teacher for Maths and Business subjects. She has taught in St. Ita’s & St. Joseph’s School in Tralee since 1998. She has also completed her Masters in Digital Media in Education. She was LCA Co-ordinator from 2016 – 2019 and also carried out the role of Exam Secretary for a number of years. She has been central to the development of school policies and subject plans and was instrumental in attaining the Digital Schools of Distinction Award for her school.