Meet the Team

The Galway 2020 team is responsible for delivering a European Capital of Culture that enables the creation of more vibrant cultural communities throughout Galway.

Patricia Philbin

Chief Executive Officer

Marilyn Gaughan Reddan

Head of Programme

Our Head of Programme has been a key member of the arts community in Galway over the years, with extensive experience in arts management, production, curation and programming. Marilyn has also been part of the founding boards of many organisations in Galway.

Pearse Doherty

Head of Production

Pearse, a native of Donegal, has been involved in the Galway arts community since 1988. A former member of the band ‘The Saw Doctors’, Pearse has worked with Macnas, Galway International Arts Festival and Electric Picnic. The list of famous names he’s worked with is too long to mention.

Kate Howard

Cultural Producer

Before joining Galway 2020, Kate (also known as Catherine) was involved in a multitude of organisations including NCFA, Arts in Action NUI Galway and TULCA Festival of Visual Arts.

Liz Kelly

Cultural Producer

Liz has over 20 years’ experience as an arts and culture manager, currently working on Galway 2020’s Small Towns Big Ideas project. She has worked as an advisor and programme manager to The Arts Council, in addition to holding numerous consultancy roles with arts organisations. Liz has also been a local authority arts officer and has also held the position of CEO in a number of arts organisations. She is currently director of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and has worked as lead programmer of both the national and local Bealtaine Festivals.

Craig Flaherty

Cultural Producer

Craig is a proud Galwegian. Before joining Galway 2020, he was Associate Producer at the internationally-acclaimed Druid and previously worked with Macnas, Town Hall Theatre and St Patrick’s Festival Galway.

Denise McDonagh

Digital Programme Manager

Denise is a creativity and tech enthusiast with more than a decade’s background in the multimedia industry and a jack of all trades when it comes to multimedia production and digital storytelling.

Cormac MacMahon

Videographer and Administration

Loyally documenting the Galway 2020 process since the beginning.

Emma O'Flaherty

Programme and Production Assistant

Originally from Dublin, Emma has lived in Connemara for the past 4 years. With a background in Woven Textile Design, Emma has worked as a visual merchandiser and fashion retail manager. No stranger to the arts world, she was an artist liaison at Vantastival, and used to sing in bands.

Fintan Maher

Communications Director

Husband, father, son, brother, proud Galwegian, avid rugby fan, and born in the wrong climate, Fintan is delighted to be promoting his home place to the world. Oh, and he loathes celery and cucumber.

Sarah McDonagh

PR Manager

Sarah’s background in media relations and issues management means she’s a match made in heaven with 2020. An award-winning PR consultant, Sarah’s experience spans retail, hospitality, health, property, environmental and education sectors.

Aisling Donoghue

Marketing Manager

Jo Lavelle


A Galway native, Jo is a former magazine producer, editor and writer who is passionate about telling the stories of her hometown's creative and cultural communities.

Bridgette Brew

Head of Tourism Engagement

Mostly found travelling the world, bringing people to this beautiful county, Bridgette is happiest in the great outdoors of the West of Ireland, practicing her cupla focail.

Tracey Nolan

Marketing and Merchandise

Freda Nic Giolla Chatháin

Oifigeach Cumarsáide Gaeilge

Laura Rigney

Development & Partnerships Manager

Imogene Deery

Development & Partnerships Manager

Ian Burke

Development Executive

Alan Grady

Operations Director

Cepta O'Connell

Head of Finance

Cepta is a Galway girl and a graduate of NUIG where she completed a Bachelor of Commerce. From here she headed east to Dublin where she earned her trade with PricewaterhouseCoopers becoming an Associate Chartered Accountant in 2004. While there is no accounting for culture, Cepta is planning on awakening her creative side as part of the 2020 team. She is looking forward to sharing the excitement with her three young boys and hopes that they will look back on 2020 as the year where unforgettable memories were made.

Ciaran Bailey

Financial Analyst

Seán Ryan


Alan Kenny

Head of Human Resources

Galway 2020’s human resources manager’s top tip for employees? “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. Wise words.

Matti Allam

International Relations Manager

Matti works on all things European and further afield at Galway 2020 – such as hosting delegations, managing European relationships and speaking German, French, English and some basic Polish. Matti’s background is in coordinating EU funded projects in the cultural sector and creative industries.

Nollaig McGuinness

Community Engagement Coordinator

Nollaig has 20 years’ experience in developing and managing community and social inclusion initiatives in Galway. He enjoys the challenges and rewards that working with communities brings and believes firmly that we should be continuously working towards creating a better society for all.

Elena Toniato

Volunteer Development Manager

Passionate about Galway and culture, Elena loves working with people and is looking forward to making some disruptive waves with volunteers from Galway communities.

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile

Volunteer Coordinator

Róisín Birch

Office Administrator