The Awards Team comprises the Trustees, Seán McDonagh and Francis Curley. The members of the team review and evaluate all applications for grants and awards. They meet quarterly and, using the criteria outlined in the Foundations Objectives, select the most suitable applicants for an award or grant.
Francis is a native of Dundalk, Co. Louth where he currently resides with his wife Maeve. They have one daughter Aoife who is well-known in dancing circles having won six World Championship titles.
From an early age Francis danced at the famous Matthews School under the tutorship of the renowned teacher and adjudicator Mrs Pat Matthews, winning many titles in both solo and ceili championships at Ulster, All-Ireland and World level.
Following his success as a dancer, Francis progressed to become a teacher, adjudicator and grade examiner and is currently an Irish examiner with An Coimisiún. He was one of the teachers of Scoil Rince Oirialla and later Scoil Rince Ard-Rialla whose pupils won many major titles including over twenty World Championships. He currently teaches with the Ard Rialla – O’Donoghue school.
A long time member of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, Francis spent three years as Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee followed by some time as the Public Relations Officer of An Coiste Oireachtas and was appointed as Chair of An Coimisiún in 2017. He has also been Chairman of the Management & Finance Committee of CLRG as well as Chairman of the Ulster Regional Council.
He is delighted to be on the Board of the Marie Duffy Foundation and looks forward to supporting its work.
Seán McDonagh was Chair of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha from 2008 to 2013. In 2017 having completed his term as Chair of the CLRG Oireachtas Committee, he assumed the position of Vice Chair of the Committee. From Corofin in Co. Galway, he has spent over 30 years as Headmaster of the local primary school during which time he has brought all facets of Irish culture (music, dance, song and language) into the mainstream curriculum. Pupils from his school have reached the highest academic standards as well as achieving the highest awards in Ireland’s cultural competitions.
Married to Angela, a renowned Irish dance teacher, they have 3 grown up children. Sean has been an active member of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha for over 20 years and was also Chair of the Udaras Committee, the body which organises examinations for dance teachers, adjudicators and examiners, as well as setting the standards for all new members. The experience gained in this position has been ideal for his current position as Chair of An Coimisiún, an organisation with teachers in over 30 countries across all the continents.
As Chair, he has overseen the most recent successful World Irish Dancing Championships in Philadelphia (2009), Glasgow (2010) and Dublin (2011). His position has taken him all over the world to attend and address various functions.
Sean is delighted to be on the Board of the Marie Duffy Foundation and sees this as an ideal opportunity to promote Irish Dance as well as honouring and paying overdue tribute to Marie for her lifelong commitment and dedication to all things Irish and to the work of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha.