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 provided you with our employment law seminar which was held on 26 January 2022.

Delivered virtually, this seminar offered 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.


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 has also held a Director position at Graphite HRM, as well as organisation development roles with the Bank of Ireland Life and Emerge Consulting.

Michael Kennedy, Head of Employment and Equality Law, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Christine Cross, Head of Department, Work & Employment Studies at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

Professor Christine Cross is Head of Department, Work & Employment Studies at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Prior to joining UL she worked for a number of multinational organizations in both management and human resource management roles, in the IT, Banking and Retail sectors. Her research, consultancy and publication interests include the broad area of diversity, including women's labour force participation, the gender pay gap and the workforce experiences of immigrants. Her work is published in leading international journals and has both policy and practice impact. She is also a regular contributor to the media on the topic of women in the workplace.

Wilson Wong, Head of Insights and Futures, CIPD UK

Wilson leads the Institute’s research, futures and foresight capability.  His career spans academia, corporate finance and national ICT development policy. Research interests include the future of work, psychological contract, fairness, and human capital development and measurement.

Recent publications include The Future of Talent in Malaysia 2035, and Human Capital Management Standards: A complete guide. He represents the UK on HC metrics at ISO/TC260 (HR Standards) and is Deputy Chair of the Knowledge Management Standards Committee (KMS/1) at the BSI.

Derek McKay, Founder and Director (Executive), Adare Human Resource Management

Derek McKay, BBS, Chartered MCIPD, is an experienced Human Resource and Employment Law practitioner who has worked extensively in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. Since founding Adare Human Resource Management in 2003, Derek has overseen the growth of the business to become one of Ireland’s leading HR, Employment Law and Industrial Relations Consultancies. In 2022, Derek changed roles from Managing Director to joining the Board of Directors.

Derek regularly speaks at seminars for companies and associations throughout the country on HR and Employment related topics and contributes to numerous publications in this area also. Prior to setting up Adare Human Resource Management, Derek worked in the Human Resource Departments in a number of multinational organisations. Derek is currently a member of the CIPD National Committee and a member of Workplace and Skills Taskforce with Chambers Ireland.

Biddy O'Neill, National Project Lead, Healthy Ireland

Biddy is the National Project Lead in Healthy Ireland within the Department of Health. She has strategic responsibility for Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Campuses, Healthy Clubs and Mental Health Promotion.

She has worked in Health Promotion for over twenty-five years at both strategic and operational levels within the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health. She has a background in Nursing and Addiction Counselling and holds an MA in Health Promotion from NUIG and in 2021 was awarded an MA in Advanced Facilitation Skills for Promoting Health and Wellbeing from WIT.

Deirdre Lynch, Partner, ByrneWallace LLP

Deirdre is a highly experienced employment and occupational health and safety law specialist. She provides focused, practical legal advice to a broad range of national, multinational and public sector employers regarding contentious and non-contentious matters. Deirdre routinely represents employers before the employment adjudicatory bodies.

Garry McCabe, Chief People Officer, Mater Private Network

Garry McCabe, now Chief People Officer at the Mater Private Network is a strategically focused Human Resource Professional with over twenty years’ experience in Strategic Human Resources and Industrial Relations. A known high-achiever, adept at driving company growth and productivity, he has established "world-class" innovative HR initiatives that have been widely adapted.

In recent years Garry has spent time out of Human Resources to work in the Commercial arena to round out his business pedigree. The blend of Human Resources and Commercial allows him focus on delivering real return on investment and driving continuous improvement in organisations.

Deirdre Gavin, HR Director & Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Bank of Ireland

Deirdre Gavin is HR Director for Corporate Banking and Markets in Bank of Ireland. Deirdre is passionate about creating a workplace where colleagues can bring their whole selves to work and was appointed Head of Inclusion and Diversity for the Group in July 2019.

As well as her role as HR Director, Deirdre is responsible for driving the Inclusion and Diversity agenda across the Group, leading a team of passionate colleagues, strongly supported by employee networks and Group leadership alike. Prior to joining Bank of Ireland, Deirdre was a practicing barrister, specialising in employment law.

Lorraine Smyth, Partner, ByrneWallace LLP

Lorraine has over 15 years’ experience in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law. She has particular expertise in advising clients in the area of business transfers/ transfer of undertakings and has advised numerous national and international clients through outsourcing, restructuring, redundancy and collective redundancy processes.

She also has represented numerous defence and plaintiff clients in restraint of trade litigation. In additional she has established expertise in the areas of data protection legislation.