Profiles of NCI Directors

National College of Ireland is proud and privileged to have had many great leaders heading up our college over the years - click on the links below to learn about the most distinguished NCI Directors.

Fr. E.J. Coyne, S.J., 1951-1954

Father Edward Joseph Coyne was born in Dublin on 20th June 1896. After a short period at Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone, he was educated privately from the age of 7 to 12 on account of his frail health. He later entered Clongowes Wood College in 1908.

In UCD Fr. Coyne (Ned) read History and Economics for his degree taking first place in both subjects. He took an intense interest in the co-operative movement.  Fr. Coyne kept closely in touch with industrial problems:  he was chairman of the Law Clerks Joint Labour Committee, of the National Joint Industrial Council for the Hotel and Catering Trades and of the Joint Industrial Council for the Rosary Bead industry.

In 1949 Dr. Michael Tierney President of UCD invited him to organize an extra mural department.  He lectured widely and wrote convincingly and in time he moved to set up the Catholic Workers College.

Fr. Coyne passed away on 22 May 1958.   Among his many achievements he was credited as the founder of the Catholic Workers College and its first Director of Studies.

Fr. E. Kent, S.J., 1954-1968

Father Edmund Kent played a seminal role in establishing and shaping the ethos of the National College of Industrial Relations (formerly known as the Catholic Workers’ College). He was educated at Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit school and afterwards entered the Order’s novitiate at Emo at the age of 18.

Father Kent was sent to New York for a year to find out what his fellow Jesuits were doing in the labour colleges there. He returned to teach alongside Edward Coyne SJ., on the social and economic science diploma course for trade unionists at UCD.

Father Kent had an impact from the start on students and trade union leaders alike. He shared an empathy with workers, motivated by the belief that people should be enabled to assert their just rights, regardless of status or social class.

He helped to create a vibrant and educated industrial relations environment in the Republic over the following decades.

Fr Kent died in November 1999.


Fr. K. Quinn, S.J., 1969-1972

Kevin Quinn lectured in the College in 1951, its opening year, and continued as a lecturer until 1955. He held the position of Lecturer in Economics at the Gregorian University, Rome from 1955 to 1963. During the years 1962-66 he was Director of the Oppenheimer Institute at Lusaka, Zambia and subsequently Lecturer in Economics at Lusaka University.

During these years in Zambia he served on many tribunals and Committees of Inquiry in Industrial Relations matters and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for this work by the President of Zambia. He returned to the Ireland in 1969 and was Director of the College until 1972. He lectured in Economics, Statistics and Industrial Relations.

The following year it was decided to offer an academic Diploma Course in Industrial Relations. This ultimately came to be recognised by the National Council of Educational Awards (NCEA). Kevin is remembered by students of the time as a brilliant lecturer.

Fr. J. Brady, S.J., 1972-1981

Father John Brady was a member of the College staff from 1970 until his retirement in 2000. He held the position of Director of the College from 1972 until 1981.

He did his MA in Economics in UCD and lectured in Economics and Industrial Relations. He is a founder member of the Irish Association for Industrial Relations. He is a regular contributor to journals in Ireland and abroad on socio-economic issues and on the Northern Ireland problem in addition to his core interest in industrial relations.

A very unassuming man, John was noted for his concern for his colleagues.  He is currently Chaplin to the Jesuit Retirement Facility at Cherryfield Lodge, Dublin.

Fr. W. Toner, S.J., 1981-1983

Father Toner, (Bill) joined the College staff in 1974. He specialised in courses to trade unionists and was Co-ordinator of courses in this area. He previously worked for some years as a Cost and Management Accountant. He had a particular interest in helping trade unionists to understand and interpret Company Accounts, as a contribution to the growth of worker participation in decision-making.

Bill completed a doctorate (a PhD degree) at the London School of Economics in 1987 on employment relations strategies. He left the College in 1990 to become Director of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice.

He currently works as Jesuit Provincial headquarters as the Province Treasurer.

Fr. T. Morrissey, S.J., 1983-1989

Father Tom Morrissey was born in Limerick and was educated at the Sacred Heart College. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1948. He studied history at University College Dublin and graduated with a Master’s degree.  In 1976 he was awarded a doctorate in education at University College Cork. He taught at Sacred Heart College, Limerick and at Mungret College from 1963 to 1968.

He played a major role in the planning and development of Crescent Comprehensive College in Limerick and was its headmaster from 1969 until 1982.

He was Director of the College of Industrial Relations from 1983 to 1990. During this time he developed a Board of Management to govern the College and registered it under the Companies Act (1963).

Fr Morrissey published James Archer of Kilkenny, the biography of a colourful and controversial 16th-century Jesuit in 1980.


Prof. J. O’Connor, 1990-2007

Professor Joyce O’Connor was President of the National College of Ireland from 1990 until 2007.and played a key role in its development. Joyce has chaired the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy and the National Accreditation Committee.

Educated in Loreto Convent Bray and University College Dublin, Professor O’Connor was Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Science, UCD and Head of the Department of Languages and Applied Social Studies at the University of Limerick where she founded and directed the Social Research Centre.

Professor O’Connor has published widely on education and access issues, entrepreneurship, women in business, careers, innovation and enterprise, drinking & smoking behaviours and the elderly. Professor O’Connor is involved in many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and is co-editor of a book on the area.

During her period as President she managed the major expansion of the College including the major increase in student numbers and the relocation of the College from Ranelagh to the campus in the IFSC.

Dr. P. Mooney, 2007-2010

Dr. Paul Mooney was appointed President in 2007. He holds  a Ph.D (Doctorate in Industrial Sociology), a Graduate Diploma Industrial Relations) and a National Diploma in Industrial Relations and is a  Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Paul began his working life as a butcher in Dublin. After completing a formal apprenticeship, he moved into production management. He subsequently joined General Electric and held a number of increasingly responsible Human Resource positions in manufacturing.

After G.E, Paul worked with Sterling Drug in the start-up of their highly successful plant in Waterford. Subsequently, as Human Resource Director for the Pacific Rim, he had responsibility for all personnel activity in South East Asia.

On his return to Ireland, Paul established PMA Consulting (1991)  specialising in providing clients with customised Organisation and Management Development programmes. 

Paul is the author of seven books covering a wide span of issues and topics in the HR area.

Dr. Mooney decide to return to a management consulting role in early 2010, having successfully led the organisation through a period of restructuring and strategic change.

Dr. P. Matthews, 2010-2016

Dr Phillip Matthews took over the helm from Dr. Mooney in February 2010. Dr. Matthews joined NCI from the UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business, where he was Director of Executive Education. A PhD Graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Dr. Matthews has a wealth of industry experience from senior management roles in the pharmaceutical and consulting industries. A former Irish rugby captain, Dr. Matthews was a member of the Triple Crown Winning team in 1985 and still commentates for the BBC. Thus begins a new, and interesting chapter in the story of the National College of Ireland.

Gina Quin MBA, MSc, CDir, 2016-present

Previously, Gina worked as Chief Executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and as CEO of Gandon Enterprises, the commercial division of the Rehab Group. A psychologist by training, Gina has an MBA from UCD, an MSc in Cyber Psychology from IADT, is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors, and a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society. Gina is a board member of ESB Networks, The Irish Hospice Foundation, Verve, and a recipient of the Alumni of the Year Award from UCD Smurfit Business School.


She took over as President of National College of Ireland in 2016 and is leading NCI's mission ‘to change live through education’.