About First Fortnight

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health stigma through arts and cultural action.

First Fortnight hosts an annual mental health, arts and culture festival throughout January, throughout Ireland. The festival celebrates the arts as a powerful catalyst for sparking unscripted conversations around mental ill health and serves to challenge the stigma associated with mental ill-health. The festival aspires to make the beginning of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, actively challenging societal prejudices, and eradicating the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health.

Throughout the year, First Fortnight operates a Centre for Creative Therapies. The Centre provides the highest standard of free Creative Therapies—including art therapy, music therapy, and drama therapy—to children, adolescents, and adults currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The First Fortnight Team

Maria Fleming, Chief Executive Officer

Orla Roche, Finance and Governance Manager

Emily Iniekio, Therapeutic Services Manager

Grace Kelly, General Manager

Daniel Culleton, Festival and Volunteer Coordinator

Caitríona Maher, Communications Officer

Our highly skilled IACAT accredited Creative Arts Therapists include Adrienne Cassidy, Jessica Sinclair, Nicola Kealy, and Aoife Ryan.


First Fortnight is committed to good governance and complies with the Governance Code for voluntary, charitable and community organisations in Ireland. We are a registered Irish charity and can be found on the Charities Regulator register of charities.

First Fortnight keeps detailed records of accounts and maintains strict financial controls. We prepare our Financial Statement as per S.O.R.P. Guidelines. Our most recent statements are available here.

In compliance with the Children First Act 2015, you can find our Child Protection Policy and Statement here. 

Registered Charity Number (RCN) 20081492

CHY No. 20530

Jerry O’Connell, Chairperson

Before returning to Ireland in 2014, Jerry spent 25 year’s working abroad leading business Transformation initiatives holding Senior Finance roles for Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) Frankfurt, Bull HN in London and Sydney and National Savings & Investments (NS&I) in London. As well as being an accredited Life & Business Coach and Project Manager, Jerry has been a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) since 1987, holds an MSC in Financial Services from University College Dublin and a Master’s in Business Administration from the National College of Ireland.

He is also a member of the Institute of Banking, MBA Association of Ireland, and the Association of Coaching UK (Irish Chapter). Jerry has sat on Not for Profit Boards in the UK and Ireland for the past 18 years. He currently lectures in the modules “Doing business in Global Markets” and “Corporate Governance & Ethics” at Dorset College Dublin and in “Project Management” at IBAT College Dublin. He is the Branch Accountant at the Irish Red Cross Head office in Dublin, currently sits on the Board of the Dublin Dance Festival (DDF) and on the committee of the Irish Chapter of the Association for Coaching.

Frank Dorgan, Treasurer

Steve Cummins

Dr. Ghaleb El-Farouki

Kieran Frost

Amy O’Hanlon

Alan Costello

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