Our DG Team
Frank O'Donoghue - District Governor
Frank O’Donoghue was first introduced to Lions in 1975 while working in the UK, joining the Ellesmere Port Lions club and transferred to Dublin Lions Club on his return to Ireland. Frank has served in every club officer position with Dublin Lions including three occasions as Club President, most recently in 2015-2016 when Dublin Lions celebrated the 60th Anniversary of its Charter.
Frank has served on cabinet for 10 years, initially to promote the Alcohol Awareness Programme and more recently as Zone and Region Chair. Frank is married to Elaine, who is from Liverpool and they have a son and three daughters and to date 3 grandchildren. Two of their children and a son- in –law have become Lions and Frank is now working on his grandchildren as future Leos. As is the case with many people, Frank has changed his career path over the years.
His first plan in going to University College, Dublin was to become a secondary teacher with a BA. He studied Economics and Geography including Urban Geography which in turn introduced him to Town Planning, which he then studied in the UK with Post Graduate Degree in Town Planning in Leeds.
A side benefit of studying in Leeds was an introduction to the great Leeds United Team –where John Giles was in his prime. Frank worked for a number of Local Authorities in the UK, including Cheshire county Council, where he met and married Elaine –who introduced him to Liverpool FC.
Frank returned to Ireland in 1977 to work in the Irish public Service, including as the first Planning Officer of Dublin Port. In 1983 he completed the MBA at UCD and took the opportunity to move into Management Consulting. His work as a Consultant was particularly focused on the Food Sector, Retail Sector and Logistics and involved extensive international travel up to the present day, though winding down in the last 2 years.
Bernard Black - 1st. Vice District Governor
Bernard is married to Kate and has four adult daughters and two grandchildren (so far). He lives in the picturesque village of Carnlough in the Glens of Antrim, an Area of Outstanding Beauty and listed World Heritage Site. He joined Antrim Coast Lions Club in 1983 and continues to be very active in the club, especially as chair of the annual charity carnival and has served as President twice, 25 years apart. Over the last few years he has been Global Leadership Coordinator for the old District 105I and was previously both zone chair and regional chair twice.
Following an ecology degree and a postgraduate teaching diploma, Bernard began his teaching career in 1978 before becoming Head of Science in a Ballymena secondary school in 1982, where he was also involved in sports coaching and ran the annual school sponsored walk. In 1992, following an MSc. in Microelectronics, he became an IT advisory teacher for the then Education and Library Board, responsible for the introduction of computing into schools, especially in science teaching.
This was followed in 1996 by appointment to consultant in Western Connect, a specialist Telecommunications company, which was tasked with the introduction of ISDN, a set of communication standards for the digital delivery of voice, video, data and other network services over the public switched telephone network. This was the precursor to modern Broadband and during his two years there Bernard managed two trans-European projects involving 12 countries.
In 1998 he joined the National Lotteries Charity Board which was set up to distribute to the voluntary and community sector some of the funds raised following the introduction of the National Lottery in 1994. He stayed with them through all its activities as the Community Fund (its operating name) and was Northern Ireland manager of its merger with New Opportunities Fund to form Big Lottery Fund in 2006. During his 9 years in Lottery he held 7 posts from grants officer to operations manager to Interim Director for NI.
For 3 years he ran Awards for All, a cross-distributor grants scheme with a single application and assessment process, funded by Arts, Sports, Heritage and Community Lotteries, which was deemed best grant scheme in the UK by Lottery Monitor magazine in 2002. The National Lottery etc. Act of 2006 brought community spending under government control, so Bernard left to join John Moores Foundation, a Liverpool based private family Trust fund, making grants to small community groups in Merseyside and Northern Ireland.
He works for his Trustees three days per week and to date has managed the awarding of over £2m. to local groups in NI. Since the changes in legislation to allow electronic management of postal voting and (in Scotland) vote counting, Bernard has provided specialist election project management and consultancy to 23 councils from Bristol to Edinburgh across 30 local, general and legislative assembly elections, and two referenda. He worked original for Derry-based Opt2Vote and now for Idox election services, which bought over Opt2Vote in 2013. Reading, computing and badly playing the guitar are the hobbies he admits to, but everyone knows Bernard also enjoys a glass of good red wine. His favourite Lions activities are the open-air dance, BBQ and fireworks at the last night of the annual carnival and the Christmas carol singing around the local pubs and nursing homes.
Des Ryan - 2nd Vice District Governor
Des was born and reared in Dublin but moved to Westport, Co. Mayo at a young age. Westport was always ahead of its time and growing up in such a cosmopolitan and diverse town gave him an early understanding of the wider global community. The beauty and serenity of the Clew Bay area was integrated into his character and he continues to live in the house his grandparents bought in the 1960’s.
He met his wife Sara in 1992, married in 2000 and together they have four beautiful children, Catherine 24, Jessica 20, Emma 11 and Ben 9. They were also blessed with their first grandchild Elisagh two years ago. All of whom still live at home, so never a dull moment at HQ.
Des studied Construction Studies in Galway RTC in the early 90’s and then got into the construction industry thereafter. A keen ability for technical drawing saw him become a ‘Steel Detailer’, originally using pen and paper but by 96, using the latest computerised software. 22 years later Des is the M.D. of Ryan Structural Steel Services Ltd and he still uses the same software. He set up his company in 2004 with just one employee. Now they directly employ 25 people and many more indirectly. Check out their web site at www.ryansteel.eu to see some of the amazing things he has built.
Des has a great passion for sport. He played both soccer and GAA football all his life until the knees gave up a few years back. His big love was his local, Islandeady GAA Club. Des served as Chairman twice. The first time as a very raw 32 year old who shook the establishment of the club to awaken it from it slumber. The second time was as a much more considered 40 year old, where he helped the club get promoted from Junior to Intermediate level. Over the past 23 years he has coached every team from U8’s up to Senior Level at different times, winning titles at 21’s, 18’s, 16’s and 14’s.
Des was the founding president of the Westport Leo Club in 1993, a position he held for a few years. It was a great time and he has many fond memories of trips and joint projects with other Leo Clubs from all over the country. He was chairman of the organising committee for the Leo Convention in Westport and went on to be Leo Zone Chairman for the western area. As a past Leo President he was automatically brought into the Westport Lions Club as their youngest ever member. Back then it was a time of blue jackets and grey hair. It was an education in a lot of things, some of them even Lions related.
Family life and a work career took Des out of the Lions for some years but in 2011 he returned to the Westport Lions Club and took up the post of President. His main objectives were to re-energise both the club and its membership, along with trying to inject some new ideas and younger members into the Club. Following on from this he moved into the position of Club secretary for 4 years.
In 2016 he was Convention Chairman for what would become the inaugural District 133 Convention of 2018. Considered by many to have been a fantastic weekend with a ground breaking Convention that will serve us well going forward.
In 2017-18 he was D133 Zone D Chairman and put himself forward for the position of 2 Vice District Governor. A position he was duly elected to, at Convention, in his beautiful home town of Westport.
To be continued.............