Governance & Board

Sage Advocacy clg is governed by a Constitution and a Board, which is chaired by Vice Admiral (Rtd) Mark Mellett DSM PhD. Mark is former Chief-of-Staff of the Defence Forces and is also chair of MARA the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority. The Deputy-Chair is Patricia Rickard-Clarke, Chair of Safeguarding Ireland. Patricia is a solicitor and former Law Reform Commissioner.

The Company Secretary is Bríd de Buitléar. Sage Advocacy is publicly funded through the Health Service Executive and the Department of Education. It has also received funding from the Department of Justice, Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and via Léargas as part of the Erasmus+ Programme of the EU. The work of the board and staff is supported by two standing committees (Planning, Policy & Performance – Compliance, Risk & Audit) and an Independent Complaints Review Panel.

Vice Admiral (Rtd) Mark Mellett DSM PhD


On retirement as Chief of the Irish Defence Forces after over forty years’ service, Admiral Mellett launched Green Compass advising on the complexities of today’s strategic environment advocating in particular for leadership in sustainability.

He is a lifetime fellow and Council member of the Irish Management Institute and Chair of the Advisory Council of the Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy. Holder of a PhD in Ocean Governance and a Masters in Government and Public Policy he is an Adjunct Professor of Law at University College Cork.

He was distinguished top graduate of each of his senior command and staff courses at the US, UK and in Ireland. He is a recipient of two distinguished service medals with distinction and honour from the Irish Government.

Patricia Rickard-Clarke

Deputy Chair

Patricia Rickard-Clarke is a former Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission. In addition to her role as Chair of Sage Advocacy clg, Patricia chairs Safeguarding Ireland clg.

She was a member of the HSE’s National Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act Steering Group preparing for the implementation of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and a member of the National Disability Authority’s Expert Group developing the non-health care codes of practice for the 2015 Act and is currently a member of Department of Health’s Protection of Liberty Safeguards Expert Advisory Group.

From 2012 to 2016 she was a member of the Council of the Hospice Foundation and of its Think Ahead Project Advisory Group of the Forum on End of Life. She was a member of the Council of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland from 2013 – 2017.Patricia is a Fellow of the Institute of Banking. She has received the Public Sector Lay Lawyer of the Year Award, Special Merit in the Law Award and was named Women’s Lawyer of the Year by the Irish Women’s Lawyer Association. In 2017, Patricia was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from UCD to acknowledge her important contribution to legislative reform and healthcare practice transformation in Ireland and her collaboration with the National Centre for the Protection of Older People at UCD.

Bríd de Buitléar

Company Secretary

Bríd is an IT and Business Operations leader with over 30 years of experience in the Tech & Financial Services Sectors. Bríd graduated with a BSc in Biotechnology from DCU before taking up employment with Accenture as a Management Information Consultant. More recently Bríd spent over 20 years working at Microsoft holding a number of both Technical and Business leadership roles. Bríd is currently employed by Bank of Ireland Strategy & Transformation division working on an organisational transformation project.  


Bríd is PMP certified by the Project Management Institute, has completed the Professional Diploma in Strategy Development and Innovation at the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School, and the Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction.


For Bríd’s full profile see Bríd De Buitléar | LinkedIn

Helen Burke


Helen Burke is a Senior Manager with 20 years’ experience in research & organisational management, team leadership and strategy implementation across academia and industry.  She is currently Senior Research Officer in Dublin City University.

Helen has broad and deep expertise in engaging with national and international funding agencies, companies and charities.  She has significant experience in strategy and policy formulation & implementation, operations & financial management, team management, mentorship, leadership and stakeholder engagement.

Helen was awarded a BSc in Applied Science with French from DIT/Trinity College Dublin in 1999 and a PhD in Physics from Dublin City University in 2006. She is a PRINCE2-qualified project manager and is Institute of Leadership & Management-certified.

Tim Dalton


Tim Dalton served as Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality from 1993 to 2004. During that time he was a member of a small team of senior civil servants who, together with their British Government counterparts and in consultation with political parties, engaged in the background work that supported the search for peace in Northern Ireland in the period leading up to and following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

In that regard he was instrumental in advancing progress on security and justice matters including in relation to decommissioning and the arrangements to address the position of paramilitary prisoners. Following his retirement from the Civil Service Mr. Dalton undertook a variety of assignments in the public and private sectors.

Doreen Shivnen


Doreen Shivnen is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (with a degree in history), and after study at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, was called to the Bar in 1992. 

In her practice as a barrister in civil litigation she has a particular interest in probate and estates, and issues of legal capacity.

Bill Lloyd


Bill has been with Sage from its inception in 2014. Before that Bill worked with Third Age as an advocate.   He was Chairman and founder of Diacom Computer Telephony and Lloyd Rail.

He is past President of the Irish Business Equipment and Technology Association and past chair of The Communications Association (part of IBEC).

Along with his duties as a Trustee of Sage Bill continues his field work as an advocate.

John O'Driscoll


John O’Driscoll is a former member of the Garda Síochána who at the time of his retirement held the rank of assistant commissioner.

John has served as head of bureau at the Garda Síochána’s national bureau of criminal investigation and also at its national drug unit and its national immigration bureau. At the rank of assistant commissioner he had charge of all eight of the organisations crime bureaus established to tackle organised and serious crime pertaining to such issues as, drug trafficking, money laundering, cyber, human trafficking, organised immigration and domestic abuse.

While holding the rank of assistant commissioner in the Garda Síochána, John was appointed as the National EMPACT coordinator representing Ireland.  EMPACT is a permanent and key EU instrument for structured multidisciplinary cooperation to fight organised and serious crime driven by the EU Member States.

Between 2008 and 2015, John was Ireland’s representative on the Board of Management of FRONTEX (European Border & Coast Guard Agency).  He was twice appointed by the Minister for Justice as a member of the Private Security Authority (PSA).

He holds an M.Sc in Drugs & Alcohol Policy from Trinity College, Dublin, a B.A. in Public Administration, (IPA, Dublin) and an Advanced Diploma in Asylum and Immigration Law (Kings Inns, Dublin).

In 2022, John received the Irish Security Industry Association (ISIA) premier award which is given to an individual or group in recognition of a major contribution to the safety of Ireland and is people.

Bridget Clarke


Bridget is the former National Ambulance Service, HSE, General Manager – Lead for the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy & Specialist Programmes.  This involved leading on new and innovative Alternative Care Pathways to treat low acuity 999/112 calls, especially from frail elderly patients, in their homes.

Bridget obtained a Bachelor of Nursing Studies (Hons) in 2007 and worked in Nursing and Acute Hospital Change Management roles in Ireland for 30 years and 6 years prior to that, in Nursing in the NHS.

Her focus is on management of macro healthcare change and development of new clinical roles in acute and pre hospital care, enabling care to be delivered in patients’ homes, where it has been assessed as safe to do so. She was General Manager of Cavan & Monaghan Hospital for 5 years and chaired the Acute Project Board for the Cross Border organisation Co-Operation and Working Together (CAWT) implementing Health and Social Care Services to isolated border communities across Ireland/Northern Ireland, supported through funding from the Special European Union Project Board. She is focused on improving the safety and quality of patient care for vulnerable and frail elderly patients in the Pre-Hospital and Acute care settings.

Bridget retired from the HSE at the end of 2022 and currently works as a Healthcare Consultant. She feels passionately about the work of SAGE and has worked throughout her health service career to advocate for patients’ rights to enable them to make decisions about their care and treatment options. This area is especially important to be involved in currently, given the implementation of the new legislation the “Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act, 2022.

Dr Ailis Quinlan


Ailis is a Public Health doctor and has had a long and varied career in senior health service management, during which she oversaw service development for older people both in the community and in residential care. In 2014, she retired as Head of the Clinical Indemnity Scheme, at the State Claims Agency, having spent over 10 years in the post. During that period of time, she pioneered the national implementation of Open Disclosure in all healthcare facilities indemnified by the CIS.

She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and has post-graduate qualifications in mediation, quality improvement, risk management, health economics, and management.

Leisha Daly


Leisha Daly is Head of Government Affairs & Policy for J&J Supply Chain in EMEA and for J&J Campus Ireland, a role she assumed in September 2018.  She is Chairman of the J&J Campus Ireland group, an entity which seeks to combine the strengths and expertise of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies in Ireland.  For the previous 10 years, Leisha was Managing Director of Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson.    Leisha is a results driven leader with 30+ years’ experience in Pharma and Science.

She is a member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and chairs their Sustainability Taskforce. She is also a member of the board of the Irish Management Institute, Business in The Community Ireland and a member of the Institute of Directors.  Leisha is a member of Ibec’s National Council & chairs Ibec’s Energy & Climate Committee.    In 2018 Leisha was recognised by the IMI with a Life Fellowship Award for her contribution to Irish Management.

Leisha holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine from Trinity College Dublin

Vincent Sheridan



Gerry O'Dwyer