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Governance and policies

Wexford Festival Opera (WFO), a registered business name of The Wexford Festival Trust, is committed to fully implementing the Governance Code. The company complies with recommended guidelines for financial reporting (SORP) and adheres to the Principles of Good Fundraising. The company operates in accordance with its Memorandum and Articles of Association and is governed by a Board of Directors.

Company Information

The Wexford Festival Trust
The National Opera House
High Street
Wexford Y35 FEP3

Registered in Ireland Number: 73941
VAT Registration Number: IE4571810K
Registered Charity Number: 20010393
Charitable Tax Number: CHY6132


President Higgins

His Excellency Michael D. Higgins

President of Ireland


Sir David Davies was appointed as President of Wexford Festival Trust in October 2014. Following in the tradition of the eminent previous presidents, including Sir Compton Mackenzie, Sir Alfred Beit and more recently Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Sir David brings to the role an extensive knowledge of the opera world from his involvement over many years in leading international opera companies and festivals. His family moved from Wales to Ireland after the war, and he has always maintained a home in Ireland.

The President acts as the key figurehead for Wexford Festival Opera, fulfilling the lead ambassadorial role for it on the national and increasingly on the international stage.

A banker by profession and international businessman of repute, Sir David started his business career with Chase Manhattan Bank in New York and then with Hill Samuel, one of the leading English merchant banks in New York and then London. He moved to Hong Kong in 1983, becoming a director of Jardine Matheson and managing director of Hong Kong Land and returned to London in the late 1980s where, as chief executive of Hill Samuel, he restored the fortunes of the bank. In the 1990s, he served both as Chairman and Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey, one of the leading precious metals businesses in the world.

Subsequently, he was appointed as Chairman of EFG Private Bank Ltd in London from 1999 to 2006, with which he continues to maintain a close association.

Board of Directors

Paul Cleary is a native of Wexford and graduated from UCD with a Degree in Science. Paul has held various national and international roles in the wastewater industry, with extensive experience in Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Logistics. Since 2021, Paul has worked in supply chain consulting, with a particular interest in circular economy and sustainable supply chain. An avid opera fan, Paul has been a volunteer with the Wexford Festival for almost forty years, serving in several voluntary roles in both the artistic and administrative areas. Paul joined the Board of The Wexford Festival Trust in September 2014.

Karina currently works as Director of Organisation Support and Development with Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) where she manages the Finance, Corporate Services and Human Resources functions. She has previously worked at University College Dublin, as a project manager within the Office of the Vice-President for Research and subsequently as the Director of Assessment for UCD. Karina holds a Masters and a PhD in Modern Cultural History from University College Dublin. Based on her PhD research, in 2004 she published a history of Wexford Festival Opera – Tom Walsh’s Opera – A History of the Wexford Festival 1951-2004 (Four Courts Press, 2004). In 2021, she published an updated history of the Festival, to mark the 70th anniversary – The History of Wexford Festival Opera – 1951-2021(Four Courts Press, 2021). She is also a contributor to the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography. Karina was appointed to the board of Wexford Festival Trust in 2018 and is the current chairperson of the Community and Local Stakeholder sub-committee of the Board.

Jennifer is a long-term Friend, fan and supporter of the Festival. She joined the board of Wexford Festival Trust in 2022, and recently joined the National Development Committee. She is a human resource and business transformation leader, focused on operational effectiveness and driving culture change. Jennifer co-founded Oracle Corporation in Ireland and held senior roles within Oracle EMEA in Dublin, Geneva and London, and with British Telecom where she was Head of Learning and Development. Jennifer has been a Trustee of Irish Modern Dance Theatre (IMDT) since 2017.

Mary has extensive experience working in both the private and public sectors, and has served as Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency and as Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála between 2002 and 2018. She is a well-respected leader with experience in strategy development, change management and corporate governance, as well as chairing boards and high level committees. Before joining the public sector, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry and in the Irish Business and Employers Confederation. She was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2007 where she is currently Treasurer. In 2018 she was elected to fellowship of the Irish Academy of Engineers.

Her interest in and love of opera developed when she was based in Johnstown Castle in Co Wexford as Director General of the EPA and she has been a friend and supporter of the Festival for many years. She joined the board of Wexford Festival Trust in March 2017 and served as Chairwoman from 2018 to 2023.

Yvonne has a longstanding connection with Wexford and Wexford Festival Opera, with family connections in Rowe Street and Enniscorthy where she grew up.  She has been a Friend and supporter of WFO for many years, and is currently a member of the National Development Council of Wexford Festival Opera.  She is a solicitor by profession training originally in Enniscorthy and practising for over 30 years in Dublin.  She has a deep love of music, plays piano and cello, and is a member of the Goethe Choir. She is a member of the Dublin International Piano Competition.  Yvonne has provided a lot of help and support to WFO, particularly to the development team.

Robert is co-founder and managing director of Cadence Capital Advisors Ltd. He is a former director of Davy Stockbrokers. He is a recognised authority on wealth management and investment in Ireland. Robert pursued musical studies from an early age and is classically trained at bassoon and piano. He has played with many orchestras starting with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, and currently plays with the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra. Robert joined the board of Wexford Festival Trust in 2017.

Terry Neill’s 30 years with Andersen Worldwide/Accenture were spent in Dublin, Chicago and London. He was chair of the worldwide board of Andersen/Accenture and global managing partner of Accenture’s change management practice. Since returning to Ireland in 2004, he has been a Director of CRH plc, Bank of Ireland Group, UBM plc and Camerata Ireland. He has also been a member of the Trinity Provost’s Cabinet, Provost’s Council and the board of the Trinity Arts & Humanities Research Institute. He was chair of Co-operation Ireland in Britain and continues involvement in various aspects of peace and reconciliation on the island.

He was a contributing author of Harvard’s book: “Breaking the Code of Change”. Since 2020, he has been an advisor to CASE - The Council for the Advancement & Support of Education – which some 4,000 of the world’s leading universities see as their professional body for Advancement/Development.

He is a graduate (maths & physics) of Trinity, where his work with the Arts & Humanities led to the award of an honorary doctorate (D.Litt). He has an MBA from London Business School, where he was also a Governor for 13 years.

Thomas is Vice President for Partnerships in Technological University Dublin, having been previously President of the Institute of Technology Tallaght. He is a professionally qualified accountant with over 35 years’ experience with responsibility for Finance, HR, Governance, Internal Audit and Company Secretarial matters at senior management level, as well as an academic specialising in Taxation. He has also served on numerous professional and voluntary committees, particularly with a public sector and community service focus. They include as Chairperson of the Audit Committees of South Dublin County Council and Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board.

National Development Council

John Healy

David Lane

Declan Lynch

Dr Oran McGrath

Yvonne Mays

Patrick Meade

Rory Musgrave

Dr Terry Neill

James O'Connor