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Rotary Ireland Conference 2016 – Speakers

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald

francesfitzgeraldFrances who hails from Newbridge, Co Kildare, gained a B.Soc.Science in UCD and an MSc. in Social Administration and Social Work in the London School of Economics. She also lectured in social work in Adult Education Courses and in Trinity College, Dublin.

Minister Frances was appointed Tánaiste in May 2016, and has held the Minister for Justice and Equality since May 2014. Prior to that, she served as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs from March 2011.

Frances has introduced significant legislation in her offices, such as, the holding of the Marriage Equality referendum. On May 23rd 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to vote in a referendum to introduce an equal right to civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Under Frances’s watch Ireland signed the Istanbul Convention on tackling domestic violence. Frances has worked at EU level, as part of the Justice & Home Affairs Council of Ministers to respond to the migration crisis facing Europe.

Between March 2011 and May 2014, Frances served as Ireland's first-ever senior Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. In this role Frances led a programme of comprehensive reform of child protection and welfare.

Prior to her election to the Dáil, Frances served as Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (1988-1992).

Frances is married and has three son

Omar Steindorsson - Rotary International Conference Representative and his wife Guðlaug Jóhannsdóttir


After formal education in Iceland, Ómar took Aeronautics graduating in the USA and subsequently working as a Flight Engineer for over 20 years, with several airlines in Europe & Icelandic companies. For 10 years he has worked in the Icelandair Quality Assurance and is now working as a Compliance Monitoring Manager for BlueWest Helicopter in Iceland.

A Rotarian since May 1967 .

A member of the Rotary Club of Keflavík, Iceland. District 1360 since 1967. The District has over 1200 members and 32 Rotary Clubs. He is proud to have 45 years of perfect attendance.

President of his club in 1979-80 and District Governor in 1989-90, Ómar was appointed an RI. Director 2002-2004. And as on this occasion, he has been representative for the R.I. Presidents at numbers of District Conferences around the world.

Ómar’s wife is Guðlaug Jóhannsdóttir is a founder of Inner Wheel club of Keflavík, Iceland. She was the club’s president in the year 1983-1984 and she was a District Governor of I.W. Iceland District 136 in the year 1998-1999.

Both are Paul Harris Fellows and Rotary Foundation Major Donors.

They have three daughters all married (each a Paul Harris Fellow) and six grand daughters and two grandsons. They enjoy travelling in the Icelandic highlands and playing golf among the geysers! (Iceland has 60 golf course and 40,000 members).


Dr Kate Coleman


Kate Coleman a native of a Navan in Co, Meath is an eye surgeon with a special interest in cataract and oculoplastic surgery.

 Kate Coleman is from Navan, qualified in medicine from the RCSI in 1985 before getting her BSc (Hons) in physiology from UCD. In 1990 she was awarded her Fellowships of the RCS Edinburgh and the Royal College if Ophthalmologists UK. In 1993 she defended her PhD in Free University Amsterdam.

In 2006 she realised that major recent advances in cataract surgery had not been made available in Africa, where 7 million people remained blind because of a lack of eye surgeons. She founded a research and development NGO called Right to Sight. RTS is uniquely focussed on empowering African eye surgeons through provision of cross subsidised high quality high volume cataract surgery centres.

In December 2007 Kate opened their first cross subsidised hospital in The Congo and by 2015 RTS USA, Norway and UK were leading programmes in Africa. By 2016 RTS has developed 28 different eye surgery programmes in 8 African countries and two Indian states. 

Kate has two grown up children and two dogs. She plays golf, paints and sings amongst other hobbies. 

Eve Conway RIBI President 2016-17


Eve joined the Rotary Club of Redbridge in 2000 and was Club President in 2008/9. Her Rotary journey started as an Ambassadorial Scholar when she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the home of Rotary International.

She graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Broadcast Journalism and has worked for BBC News for 20 years as a Broadcast Journalist. One of Eve’s proudest accomplishments was starting the Rotary Young Citizen Awards with BBC News in 2006/7. This year see the 10th Anniversary of the Rotary Young Citizen Awards.

Eve sat on the Olympics/Paralympics Committee 2010-12. Other Rotary linked roles include being an Ambassador for both the Trussell Trust and WheelPower.

In 2012/13, Eve became the first female District Governor of Rotary in London, District 1130, and has held many District posts and committee positions. Eve is proud to be RIBI President in the year that we celebrate the Centenary of The Rotary Foundation and the 70th anniversary of the start of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship programme.

During her time as President, Eve is keen to continue the focus on membership and strengthening Rotary. She will also work to highlight Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign success stories as we move closer to eradicating this disease. She has been involved in launching the Purple4Polio Campaign in Britain and Ireland, including RIBI’s partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society.

Jonathan Shackleton


Cousin of the Irish Kildare born Antarctic Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. He is the family historian for the Irish Shackletons, whose ancestor Abraham founded a Quaker school in Ballitore, County Kildare in 1726.

He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin in Natural Sciences and was awarded his Masters Degree from Ohio State University for work in Arctic Alaska. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.    Jonathan is author of a book with John MacKenna "Shackleton - An Irishman in Antarctica"

Jonathan who will address the conference has worked as a lecturer, historian and guide with over 40 groups on voyages to the Antarctic in the past 18 years.

Highlights of his visits have been landing on the godforsaken Elephant Island at Point Wild, visiting Ernest Shackleton's grave on South Georgia, travelling to the Ross Sea, landing at Cape Adare, visiting two of the largest Emperor penguin colonies in the world, and a member of the first group to visit the Emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill in the Weddell Sea.

He has been involved in many Shackleton and Antarctic activities including films, TV documentaries, television and radio interviews, exhibitions and has given many talks in Antarctica, Canada, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, Tasmania and the United States.


Enda Young


Enda is an experienced conflict resolution trainer, mediator and co-founder of Transformative Connections. He has been involved in conflict resolution in Northern Ireland for over fifteen years. He holds an BEng in Mechanical Engineering and an MA from the Queens University of Belfast which focused on the use of conflict transformation.

As a Winston Churchill Fellow in South Africa, learning about conflict resolution mechanisms he used his experiences to strengthen his work back in Northern Ireland. On returning from South Africa, Enda had a chance meeting with a member of a local Rotary club who donated £500 for a new programme. He took this to the Belfast City Council and local Youth Council and, turned it into £20,000. The money allowed him to develop a full-scale cross-community conflict resolution programme for at-risk young men on the interfaces in Belfast.

Enda is a member of Mediators Beyond Borders International and is co-founder of FactCheck Northern Ireland, the manager of training and mediation with TIDES, a lecturer at the University of Durham and an accredited mediator with the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland.  He has also worked with a wide variety of groups both locally and internationally in Dubai, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, Turkey, Canada and the United States.


Dr. Muhammad Taufiq A Sattar MD FRCS(SN)


Dr Mohammed Sattar has been a Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Beaumont Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin since 1997.

In 1986, he graduated from the University of Karachi. His general neurosurgical training was in Dublin, London, Glasgow and Manchester from 1991 to 1998. Mr Sattar then worked as a consultant neurosurgeon in Karachi and Saudi Arabia between 1998 and 2003.

He undertook a fellowship in Spinal Neurosurgery in Beaumont in 2003. Ireland has the highest incidence of spina bifida in the world.

The doctor whose wife and family were burnt to death in an arson attack in Leicester has expressed his forgiveness for the men responsible.  “But at the end of the day the individual might turn back and feel guilty and may become a good person. God only know what happens to each individual person.

On religion Dr Sattar states:   There is very, very little difference between the religions. They are all coming from one God.

Kevin Myers, Leicester born, Irish Journalist


Kevin Myers is an English-born Irish journalist. He studied history at University College Dublin. He became a journalist upon leaving UCD, for want of anything else to do. Over forty years later, he remains a journalist for largely the same reason.

He has been a newspaper columnist since 1980. He writes four columns a week, totalling some 160,000 words a year: nearly five million words to date. He has also reported Northern Ireland, Beirut and Bosnia, where he worked throughout the difficult 1970s, and he has also reported from Japan, Africa and Czechoslovakia.

Since the late 1970s, he has worked to restore to public consciousness a memory of the Irish sacrifice in two world wars. He has been reasonably successful in that endeavour. His efforts to restore the Islandbridge War Memorial to the Irish dead of the Great War, and which had been turned into a Dublin Corporation dump, were also successful. He was introduced to Queen Elizabeth II by President McAleese at Islandbridge in May 2011. He has throughout his professional life as columnist been a vigorous opponent of all violence.

He has written one published novel, Banks of Green Willow, two anthologies of his columns, and a widely-acclaimed memoir, Watching the Door.

Rotary Newbridge

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