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Members of the Teagasc Authority

Mr Liam Herlihy - Chairperson

AuthorityMr Herlihy is a dairy farmer from County Waterford. He was originally appointed Chairperson of the Teagasc Authority in September 2018. He was reappointed in July 2023 for a further period of five years by Minister McConalogue.  He brings to the Authority considerable commercial experience and deep insights into the farming, food and general agricultural sector in Ireland.

He is also Chairperson of FBD Holdings since May 2017 having joined the Board in 2015.  Previously he was Group Chairperson of Glanbia Plc for over seven years, a leading Irish-based performance nutrition and ingredients group. During this time he presided over a period of significant structural change and unprecedented growth for Glanbia plc. He is also a former Director of the Irish Dairy Board, now Ornua and ICOS.

Mr Herlihy completed the Institute of Directors’ Development Programme and holds a certificate of merit in Corporate Governance from University College Dublin.

Donald Scully  - ICMSA Representative

Donald is a third generation dairy farmer. He is a member of ICMSA’s National Council and former member of ICMSA’s Executive Committee. His experience within a farm representative body and, as a dairy farmer himself, allows Donald to contribute his deep agricultural sectoral knowledge based on first-hand experience to the Teagasc Authority. He has been County Chairperson for Laois ICMSA for the last fifteen years.

Donald was educated at Portlaoise CBS and Rockwell College.  He also successfully undertook the Teagasc Advanced Certificate in Dairy Herd Management

Elaine Houlihan - Macra Representative

AuthorityElaine from Athlacca, County Limerick is President of Macra. She took up the post of President of Macra in May 2023. She was previously the Munster Vice-President of Macra for two years.  Elaine comes from a suckler and calf-to-beef farm. She completed her Green Cert in the Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, County Limerick. As President of Macra, Elaine represents the organisations membership at local, national and European level on issues affecting farming and rural communities.


Vanessa Kiely O’Connor - ICOS Representative

AuthorityVanessa is a dairy farmer from Innishannon, County Cork. She graduated with a Diploma in Corporate Direction (Food Business) from the UCC/ICOS programme. She holds a Diploma in Environmental Science and Social Policy, from UCC. She is a board member of Bandon Co-Operative and also serves on the board of Clona Dairy Products.

She is a member of the Women in Agriculture Stakeholder Group and serves on the ICMSA's Farm Business Committee. Vanessa has won numerous farm awards in quality and sustainability. Vanessa is the ICOS nominee to the Teagasc Authority.

Elizabeth Reynolds - Ministerial Nominee

Elizabeth is a consultant, a board member and experienced business leader.  She worked with GlaxoSmithKline for 24 years and brings to the Teagasc Authority a wealth of international business experience.  She has a thorough understanding of what is required to lead and drive a successful business in competitive, diverse markets, and in turnaround situations. Currently Elizabeth is also a member of the Board of the IDA. She has held several Board/Director roles within a number of companies, associations and industry bodies across the globe focusing on risk management and governance.

Elizabeth has worked in Ireland, UK, China, Australia, Singapore and the Asia Pacific region in major international corporations across General/Commercial Management, Marketing and related roles in consumer goods, medical devices and healthcare. She holds a Master's degree and Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Commerce

Martina Donnelly - Staff Representative

AuthorityMartina is a Business and Technology Advisor at Teagasc, Advisory and Training Centre, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway. Martina is the Teagasc Staff Representative and Joint Chair of the National Partnership Committee in Teagasc. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the advisory and education services in the west and northwest of Ireland. In particular Martina has considerable experience working within the drystock farming sector.

Martina qualified in 2001 with a BAgSc degree and also has a Masters of Science in World Heritage Management. She also successfully undertook Teagasc’s Leadership Development Programme a Level 9 Diploma.

Thia Hennessy - Ministerial Nominee

AuthorityThia is Head of the College of Business and Law at University College Cork and also Professor of Agri-Food Economics.  As a senior academic and an agricultural economist, Thia is in a position to make a considerable contribution to the Teagasc Authority in the area of strategy and supporting agriculture and food development.  Thia is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Management Institute and the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute; she is a qualified Charter Director (Institute of Directors).

Prior to joining UCC in 2016, Thia was employed by Teagasc where she managed the agricultural and environmental economic research programme.  She was also responsible for the Teagasc National Farm Survey which produces the official national statistics on farming in Ireland and is a member of the European Commission’s Farm Accountancy Data Network.

Her research interests include the sustainable development of the agri-food sector with a particular interest in the impact of public policy on the farm sector.  Thia is a member of a number of international research consortia examining issues such as the economic performance of farms, the sustainability of food production and the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Helen Sheridan

Authority MemberDr Helen Sheridan is an Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin.

While now living in Dublin, Helen is from a drystock farm in County Longford and qualified with a BAgrSc Degree in Agricultural Science (Agri-Environmental Science) from University College Dublin. She also has a PhD in Agricultural Ecology from University College Dublin, which she completed as a Walsh Fellow based at Teagasc Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, County Wexford. Helen lectures in Farm Landscape Ecology and Agri-Environmental Policy and is Programme Director of the BAgrSc Agri-Environmental Sciences.

Helen is passionate about enhancing the sustainability of livestock production systems and has been conducting research on multispecies swards at UCD Lyons Farm for over a decade. This research has led to the establishment of the Long-term Grazing Platform at Lyons, a participant site in the Global Farm Platform (https://globalfarmplatform.org).  Her research also focuses on farmland biodiversity, farmland habitats and agri-environment scheme measures. 

Helen has been a Council Member of the Agricultural Science Association and also served on the Board of the Irish Farm Film Producers Group. Currently she is a member of the DAFM CAP Strategic Plan Inter Departmental / Agency Environmental Monitoring Committee.

Liam Woulfe - Ministerial Nominee

AuthorityLiam is Managing Director of Grassland Agro and Chairman and owner of Freshgrass Group. He is also a Director in 15 other companies including the Irish Farmers Journal Group. Liam became the Cecil King-Ireland Young Manager in the 1990's.

Liam has been a past finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year and he has many other distinguished awards for his achievements through innovative and commercial endeavour.  Liam brings a vast wealth of financial and commercial acumen to the Teagasc Authority and has considerable insights, knowledge and understanding of the agriculture and food sectors.

Liam studied Dairy Science in UCC followed later with an MSc of Executive Leadership from the University of Ulster.  After graduating from UCC in 1981, he worked in the dairy development and operations areas of the now Aurivo Co-op. After this, he spent 15 years working across all aspects of Golden Vale Plc and two years with Kerry Group Plc, after Kerry acquired Golden Vale Plc. 

He founded Freshgrass in 2002 and acquired/developed a number of businesses. Today, Freshgrass Group's businesses have an annual turnover of circa €250m and employ over 230 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) employees.  Liam has been a member of Institute of Directors since 2006.  He was in Cohort 1 of the Institute of Directors Chartered Director Programme in Ireland and was one of the first in Ireland to qualify as a Chartered Director (CDir.).

Louise Byrne - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Representative

AuthorityLouise is the Deputy Chief Inspector in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Food and Feed Safety, Crop Policy and Plant Health and is the current Chief Plant Health Officer for Ireland. Louise is the Department representative on the Teagasc Authority and brings a huge knowledge of agricultural and food policy issues to the Authority given her 25 years’ experience of working in DAFM.  Louise is also the Ministerial representative on the Bord Bia Dairy Subsidiary Board.

Louise has worked primarily in areas relating to animal breeding and official controls along the agri food and feed chain with extensive audit experience.  Louise is a member of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Audit Committee and the Teagasc Audit and Risk Committee.

She was previously Head of the Brexit and International Trade Division in the Department of Agriculture with responsibility for Brexit and International Trade matters, including co-ordinating all aspects of the Department’s response to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Louise holds a Degree in Agricultural Science, specialising in Animal Science from University College Dublin. She went on to qualify with a Masters in Agricultural Science from UCD on ‘Protein and energy availability from grass and grass/clover swards during the growing season’ which was researched at Teagasc, Grange. Louise also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law.