Employment law updates are a key priority for those in the people profession. Each month brings fresh challenges and changes. We have partnered with the experts in the ByrneWallace LLP Employment Law Team that will provide you with our employment law seminar on 02 February 2023 at the Aviva Stadium.

The seminar will offer a day full of expert learning, insights and practitioner panels to address the live and emerging risks, many of which we have not had to deal with before.

The sessions were specifically designed to cover a range of pertinent and current topics to keep you covered for the months ahead as the world of work continues to evolve.


Alison Hodgson, Chair CIPD Ireland

Alison has enjoyed a progressive career across technology, retail, hospitality, banking, telecoms and professional services. She worked as VP people in Virgin Media Ireland sitting on the country leadership team, she is a Companion of CIPD, is on the National Committee, and is Chair of the new CIPD Ireland Ltd company.

Denise Kennedy, FCIPD, Head of Inward Investment Unit, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Denise has 28 years strategic HR leadership experience. Currently with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, Denise takes up a new post as Assistant Secretary General, Head of HR and Corporate Affairs with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 7 February.

Denise led the people agenda for the Department as Head of HR, through the COVID-19 pandemic. She has held senior HR roles in the Civil and Public Service and worked with Aer Lingus for sixteen years before joining the Sector.  Denise holds an M Sc in Executive Leadership, from University of Ulster and Boston College.

Emmet Whelan, Partner, ByrneWallace LLP

With over ten years’ employment law experience, Emmet advises on all aspects of employment law and in particular specialises in contentious employment matters and employee benefits. Clients include senior executives and large public and private sector employers. Emmet advises on all aspects of employment law including immigration, recruitment, drafting contracts and policies, performance management, grievances, whistleblowing, disciplinary matters, dismissal, employment equality, transfer of undertakings, re-organisation, employee benefits and pensions.

Joyce Rigby Jones, Co-Managing Director, Voltedge and Honorary Chair of the National Committee of CIPD Ireland

Currently the Managing Director of Voltedge Management, a leading Irish HR and Management Consultancy, Joyce has extensive experience in Human Resources management, strategy and organisational development. She is currently the Honorary Chair of the National Committee of CIPD Ireland as well as being a Non-Executive Director of CIPD Ireland Ltd. Joyce set up Voltedge following many years in senior HR positions in multinational corporates and European start-ups and is passionate about the alignment of HR with business strategy, addressing complex business issues, and providing HR advice to leaders.

Liam Connellan, Partner & Head of Pensions, ByrneWallace LLP

Liam has extensive experience and advises many leading employers, both private and public sector, scheme trustees and individuals. His expertise ranges from advising on the pensions aspects of corporate M&As and reorganisations, drafting and amending pension scheme documentation, restructuring pension schemes, the application of pensions regulatory and tax legislation, trusteeship and scheme governance, to advising on pensions disputes and pensions litigation.

Loughlin Deegan, Partner, ByrneWallace LLP

Loughlin represents and advises public-sector and private-sector clients across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. He has advised and represented major Irish and multi-national companies, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. He has also acted in many contentious employment matters and industrial disputes. Before joining the firm, he previously served as Special Adviser to the Attorney General and worked in the Employment Law Unit of Ibec, latterly as Acting Head of Employment Law.

Mary Connaughton, Director, CIPD Ireland

Mary Connaughton is passionate about developing people and workplaces to be at their best. As Director of CIPD Ireland she is leading the development and contribution of the HR profession in Ireland. Mary has a wealth of HR experience having most recently headed up HR Development at Ibec, engaging with leading companies on strategic HR and organisational development initiatives along with legislative and policy developments. Mary is on the Boards of the Public Appointments Service and the Retirement Planning Council and represents the people profession in Ireland at the European Association of People Management.

Michael Kennedy, Partner, ByrneWallace LLP

Michael has specialised in employment law for nearly 35 years and is consistently ranked as one of Ireland’s top employment lawyers. He is the Head of Employment and Equality Law Department in ByrneWallace LLP. Michael was Chairperson of the Law Society’s Employment and Equality Committee from 2010 to 2012 and is the former Secretary of the Irish Society for Labour Law. When Law Awards were introduced in Ireland in 2012, Michael was named as Ireland’s first Employment Lawyer of the Year.

Michelle Ní Longáin, Head of Employment Law, ByrneWallace LLP

Michelle has extensive experience in employment, equality and administrative law. As well as being one of Ireland’s leading employment-law practitioners, she has also practiced in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Michelle advises public and private sector clients, primarily employers, on complex areas of employment, equality and administrative law. As well as being head of ByrneWallace LLP’s Public Sector Group and its Compliance Partner, Michelle is a member of Council of the Law Society of Ireland is currently the elected Senior Vice President. She is the chairperson of the Law Society’s Task Force on Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Rhona Murphy, Consultant, ByrneWallace LLP

Rhona has more than 20 years’ experience advising on employment law, industrial relations and equality matters.  She worked for Ibec for almost 15 years and was Ibec’s Head of Employment Law Services from 2007 to March 2020. She has advised a significant number of major Irish companies and organisations in the public and private sectors, including in the health sector and pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. She was previously a board member of the Equality Authority and has a keen interest in industrial relations and alternative dispute resolution.

Sarah Abbott, Chief People Officer, Carbery Group

Sarah is focused on driving Carbery’s People Strategy, working to further align business strategy. Previously, Sarah has worked globally throughout her career, having had a front row seat at some extraordinary talent transformations in corporations such as Dell, EMC and Apple.  Prior to this, Sarah was involved in talent initiatives at Musgraves, Ernst & Young and Morgan McKinley.  Sarah has extensive experience of leading high performing teams international and bring a deep understanding of different cultures and how to work effectively across complex organisation structures.