Last year, they sought two new members for Pobal’s board; this year they have six vacancies and chairperson Rosarii Mannion is calling on people with community development experience to apply.

“We really want to reach out and and engage with those people and hopefully they will be joining us on the board,” she said.

“For new members, what we’d love to see is people coming forward with an absolute passion for community development, who want to see more diversity, equality and inclusion, are supportive of the rural economy, interested and engaged in local development,” said Ms. Mannion.

“There are so many people out there working in the community and voluntary sector that have such valuable life experience to bring with them. They know the issues on the ground – we’ve seen that post-Covid and during Covid,” she said.

Watch Ms. Mannion’s interview with editor Allen Meagher here:


Pobal’s 16-person board already includes people with experience in various areas – from Ciaran Reid, CEO of Louth LEADER Partnership to Molly Buckley, a public health nurse, and Ann Hanley who worked as manager of Bailieborough Resource House Childcare Facility for almost 20 years. (To read more about the board’s current members, click

Outlining Pobal’s work, Ms. Mannion said, “In 2020, we allocated €717m to local and national community organisations – so it’s a really busy, progressive, involved and dedicated organisation.”

“Pobal works on behalf of government in conjunction with communities and local agencies to support social inclusion and local and community development. We do this by managing funding and providing support – at this stage to around 31 programmes.”

Looking ahead at Pobal’s role, she said, “There is an unique opportunity now in building back better and being more socially inclusive post-pandemic. Why not put your hand up and join a board that’s involved in such meaningful work?” she added.

Ms. Mannion, from Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, herself joined the board in December 2020 and on September 30th she was formally appointed chairperson (replacing outgoing chair Professor Deiric Ó Broin).


“There are eight to 9 board meetings per year and possibly some sub-committee work,” said Ms. Mannion.

Travel will not be the issue it once was:

“We want to promote the rural economy and remote working, so we will have a hybrid option for attending meetings – in person, or dialling in, using Zoom, using all the technology that we want to see enhancing rural communities and rural Ireland.

“We want be as inclusive as we can in terms of the membership of the board. We want to make things as easy as possible for volunteers to contribute and (hybrid meetings) will allow us get the right people around the table to enhance the mission and vision of Pobal,” she said.

Pobal is a means to an end, Mannion tells Oireachtas

Ms. Mannion addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands on Sept 22nd as chair-designate.

“As Chairperson of Pobal a key role for my board colleagues and I will be to support, to challenge and to lead our excellent and committed staff to deliver on government policy, to deliver on our programmes and to remember one fundamental thing. Pobal is not an end in itself. It is not the object of the exercise. It is a means to an end and that end is a stronger society. It is communities across the country where people – especially the most vulnerable – are better supported,” she told the committee.

“I believe passionately in rural communities, in community development and in social inclusion. I have seen first-hand the impact of the work of Pobal. My lived experience is that diversity, equality, justice and inclusion make for a stronger society. I know that these values give chance and opportunity to those who would not otherwise enjoy it,” she added.

“If the programmes we support are effective, people’s lives are enhanced. That is the context in which my board colleagues and I are working on our Strategic Plan 2022– 2026,” she said.

She has worked professionally as National HR Director in the HSE while volunteering interests include serving with the National Adult Literacy Agency.
She has served on local, national and international boards  and key interest areas of her own include the role of women in society, the role of carers and gender equality.

• Rosarii Mannion, chairperson of Pobal, Anna Shakespeare, Pobal CEO, Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development and Deiric Ó Broin outgoing chairperson of Pobal – pictured on Sept 29th at the launch of Pobal’s annual report for 2020.


If interested, start planning your application sooner rather than later. The deadline is October 28th and there is a degree of homework and form-filling involved.

For more information, visit: