Policies and Standards Committee - Membership

​Dr. Anne Walsh (Chair)

Adjunct Lecturer, NUI Galway

Anne Walsh retired from her role as Academic Co-ordinator of Adult Training and Education Studies, Centre of Adult Learning and Professional Development, NUI Galway in 2017.  Her professional responsibilities encompassed overseeing development, delivery and quality assurance of a range of part-time blended learning professional development programmes including undergraduate and post-graduate studies in training, further education teaching, adult learning and development and leadership.  Although retired, she maintains a professional interest in education through her participation in lecturing activities, board memberships and external examinations.

​Bryan Fields 

Further Education and Training Consultant.

Bryan Fields has worked in the education and training sector for over 35 years.  Bryan held a number of senior positions in SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority including Director of Strategy where he was the architect of the first ever Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019 and the first SOLAS Corporate Plan 2014-2016.  He was also Director of the SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research providing research, data and analysis for the National Skills Council, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, SOLAS and the ETB sector and the wider public sector.  As Director of programme evaluation he was responsible for overseeing a series of evaluations of key FET programme lines including the National Post Leaving Certificate (PLC), the National Youthreach programme incorporating community training centres and the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme.  Before that, Bryan held a number of senior positions in FÁS including Director of training policy and Director of apprenticeship curriculum and assessment development and new programme development. A labour market sociologist by profession and author, he holds a PhD in Sociology and MSc in Training from the University of Leicester.

Achim Hopbach

Higher Education Consultant

Achim Hopbach has worked in higher education for over 25 years. Recently he served as managing director of the Austrian Quality Assurance Agency (AQ Austria) 2012-2020 and as managing director of the German Accreditation Council 2005-2012. In both countries he was involved in revising the national quality assurance systems. He held and holds various positions in quality assurance agencies and associations, such as President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) from 2009 to 2013; member of the University Quality International Board (UQAIB), Dubai, since 2015; member of the Board of the Agency for the Ev​aluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Faculties (AVEPRO), Holy See, since 2016, and advisory boards of various European agencies. Achim Hopbach was involved in the development and later the revision of the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ESG). His consultancy work comprises development of national and regional quality assurance approaches in Europe, South-East Asia, Central Asia and Africa. He is also involved in reviews of higher education institutions and quality assurance agencies. 
Achim Hopbach holds a Master in History, Political Science and Law (University of Heidelberg, Germany) and a PhD in History (University of Tübingen, Germany).

Barbara Kelly

Director of Qualifications, QQI

(Biography to follow)

Bryan Maguire

Director of Quality Assurance, QQI

Bryan Maguire is Director of Quality Assurance at Quality and Qualifications Ireland. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University College, Dublin and a PhD from the ​University of California, San Francisco.

Bryan was Director of Academic Affairs of the Higher Education and Training Awards Council up to its amalgamation into QQI in November 2012.

He was Head of School of Creative Technologies at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, where he had earlier been the founding Head of Department of Learning Sciences.

Bryan previously served as lecturer in psychology at Bangor University (Wales), and as development officer for the National Framework of Qualifications with the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland.

He has written and consulted extensively on quality and qualifications frameworks in Ireland and internationally. He is a member of the Hong Kong Council for Academic and Vocational Awards and of the Dental Council of Ireland.

Hannah McGee

Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI

Hannah McGee is Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).  As RCSI's chief academic officer, she is responsible for degree-awarding activities at the university in Dublin - and in RCSI's overseas campuses in Bahrain, Dubai and Malaysia.  She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (PhD) and the National University of Ireland (Doctor of Science (DSc) on published work).

Previous leadership roles include President of the Psychological Society of Ireland, President of the European Health Psychology Society, Chair of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Section, European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation and Chair of the Council of Deans of Medical Schools in Ireland.

Her research and evaluation projects have informed national health and social policy in areas of quality of life assessment, cardiac rehabilitation, ageing and sexual health.  She chaired the Irish Department of Health's Committee to develop the previous cardiovascular health strategy - 'Changing Cardiovascular Health (2010-2019)'. Current board memberships include the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and National Children's Research Centre.​

Dr. ​Niamh O’Reilly


Niamh O’Reilly is CEO of AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation in Ireland with 18 years’ experience in the lifelong learning field.  Niamh is an educationalist with expertise in educational equality, learner voice, community education, policy analysis, organisational development and governance.  She was Chair of the Irish COVID 19 tertiary education response working group on Mitigating Educational Disadvantage.  She was appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills to two Irish State Boards: Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority.  Her work at a European level includes acting as the designated national coordinator of the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Ireland and she served as an elected Board Member of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) for 3 terms.  Niamh has a PhD in adult and community education from Maynooth University.

Aileen Ponton

CEO, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership

Aileen Ponton is the Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership since July 2007.  The Partnership is the body responsible for maintaining the National Framework for Scotland – the SCQF.  In addition, it has responsibility as the National Co-ordination Point for the European Qualifications Framework and for ECVET.  She also chairs the UK Co-ordinating Group for European VET Initiatives.
Aileen is currently a Board member of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) and was a member of the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications from 2009 to 2015.
Aileen was Head of Policy Development, Scotland with the Sector Skills Development Agency 2004 to 2007 working with a UK wide organisation coordinating the work of 25 employer led Sector Skills Councils.
Before joining SSDA in 2004, Aileen had worked with the Scottish Qualifications Authority and its predecessor SCOTVEC since 1989 in a range of roles for both the awarding and accreditation functions of SQA.
Aileen’s areas of interest include development of qualifications to suit changing needs, the education – labour market interface, the role of qualification frameworks in supporting educational change/reform, the promotion of parity of esteem and role of lifelong learning.

Alan Power

Assistant Principal Officer, Department of  Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Alan Power is an Assistant Principal Officer in the Labour Market and Skills Unit in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.  He is a member of the Secretariat of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which advises the Government on the current and future skills needs of the Irish economy.  Alan has led on studies relating to High Level ICT Skills, Brexit and Construction for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, is a member of the joint Secretariat to the High Level Steering Group driving the implementation of Technology Skills 2022- Ireland's Third ICT Skills Action Plan, and represents the Department of Business on the Foreign Languages Advisory Group, the implementation body for the Languages Connect strategy, and the National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition.  He also co-represents Ireland on the EU's Employment Committee.  Alan also played a leading role in the establishment of a Logistics and Supply Chain skills group, chaired by the Department of Transport, to promote careers and optimise skills development within logistics and supply chain activities.  Alan is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, holding a BA, Masters, as well as a PhD from Trinity's Centre for Contemporary Irish History, on Irish economic policy during the period 1973-1979. ​

Further Reading