Forensic Science Ireland
Eolaíocht Fhóiréinseach Éireann

// Science Supporting Justice

Our Management Team

Science Supporting Justice

Forensic Science Ireland is a knowledge based organisation and the expertise of the staff is its most valuable attribute. Its functioning is an excellent example of the practical application of science in Ireland. Our staff, many of whom hold M.Sc. and Ph.D. qualifications in Chemical and Biological Sciences, work to use science in the investigation of crime.

The nature of Science results in ongoing change and there is a lot of emphasis on ongoing education and development. This is vital in ensuring that the Criminal Justice system has the benefit of International best practice

Sheila Willis - Director General

Director General

Dr. Sheila Willis B.Sc; Ph.D M.Sc. (mgt) FRSC, FICI, FCSFS. Sheila’s career has focused on how science can be used to investigate crime and assist the administration of Justice.

She has been Director of the Laboratory since 2002. Before that she held positions of Deputy Director and Head of Chemistry. She has worked in the laboratory since the very early days having joined with a number of the present senior staff in 1979.

Louise-McKenna Director of Science

Director of Science

Dr. Louise McKenna, B.Sc, PhD, MSc (Public Sector Management), was appointed Deputy Director in 2003. She joined the FSL as a biologist in 1979 and became head of the Biology Section in 1997. Most of her professional career has been involved with Biology casework and scenes.

In her current role as Deputy Director, she has responsibilities for Human Resources, which include the Performance Management and Development System and leading the Staff Development Group in the delivery of non-technical training. Dr. McKenna also has responsibility for the co-ordination of the functional work areas as well as finance, quality and ICT.

Sean McDermott Director of Services

Director of Services

Dr. Seán Mc Dermott, a native of Limerick, joined the laboratory in February 1983. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in University College Galway. He began his career in the Drugs section and moved in 1985 to the Chemistry section. He moved back to the Drug section in 1994. He was appointed Head of Biology in March 2004. He was appointed as Director of Operations in October 2008.

In 1997 he graduated with an M.A in Public Management (Institute of Public Administration). His thesis was on “Efficiency and Effectiveness in the Forensic Science Laboratory”. This study examined some of the performance indicators available to assess if the laboratory was providing a value for money service.

Seán has been involved in and given evidence in court on a wide variety of evidence types, including, explosives, fibres, glass, paint, drugs, footwearcomparison and tachographs. He has had a long-term interest in the value of a statistical approach to evidenceinterpretation.

Geraldine O'Donnell Director of DNA

Director of DNA

Dr. Geraldine O’Donnell, B.Sc, PhD joined the laboratory in February 1992 having completed her undergraduate studies in University College Galway and postgraduate studies in University College Galway, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas and University College Dublin.

She began her career in the Biology Section transferring subsequently into the DNA Section. In 2007 she was appointed Quality Manager for the laboratory.

She was appointed Deputy Director in 2015 with responsibility for DNA operations and the National DNA Database of which Forensic Science Ireland is custodian.

Tom Hannigan Director of Chemical Sciences

Director of Chemical Sciences

Dr. Tom Hannigan is a native of Ballygar, Co. Galway. He holds a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University College Galway (NUIG). He also holds a B.L. degree from Kings Inns. He joined Forensic Science Ireland in August 1982 and has served in the Drugs and Chemistry disciplines. He has a particular interest in all kinds of trace evidence especially firearm residue (GSR) and in the identification of explosives and other suspect materials.

He has given evidence in a number of major trials relating to fatal shootings and possession of explosives. He was appointed Director of Chemical Sciences in February 2015 and has overall responsibility for operations in the Drugs and Chemistry disciplines. He also has responsibility for FSI’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Acts.