The Board of Clans of Ireland takes the view that governance plays an important part in the running of itself as a national organisation. In fulfilling its role as a registerdispute resolution and authenticity authority good governance commands an enhanced role.

In this area of the website we intend to publish our Good Governance set of documents. In demonstrating our high standards we also hope to provide tools & guidance to assist our membership in the proper running of their own local clan structures. 

2018 - Board of Clans of Ireland

2018 Board of Clans of Ireland

Seated L-R: An tUas. Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh CIOM, Ms Maura O’Gara-O’Riordan, Dr Joe Mannion, Mrs Nora Keohane Hickey & Sorcha Ní Dhomhnaill. 

Standing L-R: Mr Brendan Lynch, Dr Vincent O'Carroll, An tUas. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh, Mr Paul Brosnan & Mr Dan McGrath.

Missing: Ms Orlaith Tierney, Dr Michael Egan, Mr Michael Dixon & Mr Michael Patrick Crowley.

Members of the Board

Dr Joe Mannion

Ms Maura O’Gara-O’Riordan

Ms Orlaith Tierney

Secretary/Rúnaí na Cuideachta
An tUas. Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh, CIOM

Vice-Chairperson/Leas Chathaoirleach
Mrs Nora Keohane Hickey

Dr Michael Egan

An tUas. Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

Mr Brendan Lynch

Mr Michael Patrick Crowley

Mr Paul Brosnan

Mr Dan McGrath

Mr Michael Dixon

Sorcha Ní Dhomhnaill

Dr Vincent Carroll

2017 - Board of Clans of Ireland

Board of the Clans of Ireland

Seated L -R: Dr Joe Mannion, Dr Maura O'Gara, An tUas Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh, An tUas Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh CIOM, Ms Maura O’Gara-O’Riordan,

Standing L -R :Mr. Michael Patrick Crowley, Ms Orlaith Tierney, Mr. Michael Dixon, Mrs. Nora Keohane Hickey, Mr. Paul Brosnan, Mr. Dan McGrath.
Missing: Mr. Brendan Lynch, Dr. Michael Egan, The McGillycuddy of the Reeks, Sorcha Ní Dhómhnaill.

Members of the Board

An tUas Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh

Ms. Maura O’Gara-O’Riordan

Ms Orlaith Tierney,

Secretary/Rúnaí na Cuideachta
An tUas. Cathaoir Ó Tighearnaigh, CIOM

Mrs. Nora Keohane Hickey

Dr. Michael Egan

Dr. Maura O’Gara

Mr. Brendan Lynch

Mr Michael Patrick Crowley

Mr. Paul Brosnan

Mr. Dan McGrath

Mr. Michael Dixon

Dr Joe Mannion

Ms Orlaith Tierney

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks

 Sorcha Ní Dhómhnaill 


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Mission Statement

Mission Statement of Clans of Ireland CLG

It is the aim of Clans of Ireland Company Limited by Guarantee;

  • to promote and develop the concept and organisation of Irish Clans on the island of Ireland and throughout the world,
  • to represent Irish Clans at home or abroad, and to unite them into a cohesive movement,
  • to advance education by promoting Irish historical research, values, culture and genetic studies,
  • to encourage people within the Irish Clans to trace their family history.

Ráiteas Misin le Finte na hÉireann CFTR

Is é atá mar aidhm ag Finte na hÉireann Cuideachta faoi theorainn Ráthaíochta:

  • coincheap agus eagrú Clanna Éireannacha in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain uile a chur chun cinn agus a fhorbairt;
  • 'Ionadaíocht a dhéanamh ar son Clanna Éireannach agus ar son a neagraíochtaí cleamhnaithe thar lear agus iad a aontú i ngluaiseacht chomhtháite,
  • Oideachas a fhorbairt trí thaighde ar stair na hÉireann, ar a luachanna, a cultúr agus ar ghéineolaíocht a chur chun cinn',
  • spreagadh a thabhairt do dhaoine sna Finte Éireannacha stair a dteaghlach a rianadh.

Data Protection Policy of Clans of Ireland CLG

Policy brief & purpose
Our Data Protection company policy refers to our commitment to treat information of employees, customers, stakeholders and other interested parties with the utmost care and confidentiality. With this policy, we ensure that we gather, store and handle data fairly, transparently and with respect towards individual rights.

This policy refers to all parties (board members, employees, job candidates, customers, suppliers etc.) who provide any amount of information to us. Board Members and Employees of our company must follow this policy.
Contractors, consultants, partners and any other external entity are also covered. Generally, our policy refers to anyone we collaborate with or acts on our behalf and may need occasional access to data.

Policy elements
As part of our operations, we need to obtain and process information. This information includes any offline or online data that makes a person identifiable such as names, addresses, usernames and passwords, digital
footprints, photographs, social security numbers, financial data etc. Our company collects this information in a transparent way and only with the full cooperation and knowledge of interested parties. Once this information is available to us, the following rules apply.
Our data will be:

  • Accurate and kept up-to-date
  • Collected fairly and for lawful purposes only
  • Processed by the company within its legal and moral boundaries
  • Protected against any unauthorized or illegal access by internal or  external parties

Our data will not be:

  • Communicated informally
  • Stored for more than a specified amount of time
  • Transferred to organizations, states or countries that do not have adequate data protection policies
  • Distributed to any party other than the ones agreed upon by the data’s owner (exempting legitimate requests from law enforcement authorities)

In addition to ways of handling the data the company has direct obligations towards people to whom the data belongs. Specifically we must:

  • Let people know which of their data is collected
  • Inform people about how we’ll process their data
  • Inform people about who has access to their information
  • Have provisions in cases of lost, corrupted or compromised data
  • Allow people to request that we modify, erase, reduce or correct data contained in our databases

To exercise data protection we’re committed to:

  • Restrict and monitor access to sensitive data
  • Develop transparent data collection procedures
  • Train employees in online privacy and security measures
  • Build secure networks to protect online data from cyberattacks
  • Establish clear procedures for reporting privacy breaches or data misuse
  • Include contract clauses or communicate statements on how we handle data
  • Establish data protection practices (document shredding, secure locks, data encryption, frequent backups, access authorization etc.)

Our data protection provisions will appear on our website.

Disciplinary ConsequencesDisciplinary Consequences
All principles described in this policy must be strictly followed. A breach of data protection guidelines will invoke disciplinary and possibly legal action.

Code of practice for member Clans

  1.  Each Irish Clan should maintain a current register of its clan members.
  2.  a) For promotional purposes details of events including Clan Rallies/Gatherings should include; dates, times, prices, insurance details and venues being used and a detailed itinerary as well. Copies of promotional literature should be forwarded to The Secretary of Clans of Ireland. b) Details of any Clan events such as Clan Rallies/Gatherings being organised by Clan Associations should be notified to Clans of Ireland as soon as possible prior to the event. [ this information is required by Fáilte Ireland by this date for inclusion in the promotional literature for distribution internationally by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland]
  3. No Irish Clan can operate events in the name of another Clan.
  4. No Clan Coordinator or Clan Committee member can apply for registration to Clans of Irelandfor more than one Irish Clan.
  5. No Irish Clan can call itself a member of Clans of Ireland or use the title Clans of Ireland in its literature unless it is registered and in good standing with Clans of Ireland.
  6. Clans of Ireland has the right to withdraw registration of an Irish Clan in circumstances that are deemed to be in breach of the Code of Practice. In such circumstances the Irish Clan will be notified in writing.
  7. Irish Clans should renew their membership with Clans of Ireland by the time of the AGM each year in order to be registered as an “Active” clan.
  8. Each Clan should forward a copy of its periodical, newsletter or publication to The Editor, Clans of Ireland.
  9. Each Clan should ensure the proper care, handling and display of all flags, banners and emblems and that these are treated with due respect at all times.
  10. Clans of Ireland maintain their right to revise, amend, alter, make change or extend this Code of Practice as circumstances require.

Amended 14 February 2009

Communication and Internet Policy


  1. Clans of Ireland is an independent authority operating under the Patronage of the President of Ireland established to authenticate, represent and co-ordinate the activities of clan societies. In co-operation with our registered member clans we strive to provide an authentic version of Irish culture and history as these pertain to Irish clans and historical families.
  2. The activities of Clans of Ireland and our registered members must be carried out in a safe and respectful environment and open to all those who identify with or are interested in Irish clans and historical families.
  3. In line with relevant laws of the European Union and Ireland, anyone may join an Irish clan regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religious belief, disability, civil and family status, or membership of an ethnic minority.
  4. Registration with Clans of Ireland is allowed after an applicant clan has clearly established an historical identity and commits to organising and representing that historical identity in an authentic and sensitive manner.

    Standards in Communication

  5. Each clan admitted to the Register of Irish Clans is expected to maintain the highest standards in all aspects of its operations including communications with Clans of Ireland, other clans and people and organisations outside of Clans of Ireland.
  6. All communication including email and website content must maintain a basic standard of decorum.
  7. Only material related to the identity, history and life of the clan should be included on websites and in newsletters published by a Clan.
  8. Clan leaders should ensure that they avoid any form of communication by word of mouth, in writing, by email or on a website that could be interpreted as aggressive, inappropriate, sectarian or political.
  9. Clans should ensure that links to other websites beyond their own have been vetted and are appropriate to a family audience and relevant to the aims and objectives of Clans of Ireland.


  10. If any Clan is found to be in breach of this policy the board of Clans of Ireland will request that offending behaviour and/or material be addressed.
  11. If a Clan continues to publish material or to communicate in a way that is found to be aggressive, inappropriate, sectarian or political or not to be in keeping with this policy and/or the general objectives of Clans of Ireland then the offending website will be removed from the Register of Irish Clans.
  12. Persistent failure to comply with this policy may result in the board deciding to withdraw registration from an offending clan. 
  13. Any clan sanctioned in accordance with items 10-12 above has the right to appeal the board’s decision to a special committee established by the Cathaoirleach. The decision of the special committee will be final.

    Revised and Approved at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 26 January 2013.

Policy on Representation, Attribution, and Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property
Clans of Ireland asserts its legal proprietary rights over its name and logo, website content and the publications. These constitute its intellectual property, governed by the laws of Ireland and those of other jurisdictions members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation of the United Nations. As such, its copyright vests therein.

Representation and/or attribution:
Any representative use of the name and logo of Clans of Ireland, or representation of any of its policies, initiatives, activities, research, or other interests, by any member clan or institution, or by any official of Clans of Ireland, requires a formal and specific mandate from the Board of Clans of Ireland.
No member clan or institution, nor official of Clans of Ireland, has any automatic license to use the name or logo of Clans of Ireland in any representative manner whatsoever, for member or personal profit or gain.
No member or official has any mandate to negotiate on behalf of Clans of Ireland, nor to collect funds or other assets on behalf of Clans of Ireland, except if specifically authorised to do so in writing and by decision of the Board of Clans of Ireland.

Caution, disclaimer, and enquiries
Unauthorised and pretended representative use of the name and logo of Clans of Ireland, or pretended representation of any of its policies, initiatives, activities, research, or other interests, is strictly prohibited.
Any use of these or representation of the same that appears doubtful or subject to critique should be verified by being brought to the attention of Clans of Ireland at its formal postal address or by email to
Any activity or representation to negotiate or collect funds or assets on behalf of Clans of Ireland in those regards which appears doubtful should also be referred to Clans of Irelandnfor verification or authentication.
Clans of Ireland will authenticate, verify or refute the substance of any such queries.

May 2015

Statement of Policies concerning Impartiality, Independence and Governance

Whereas Members of Clans of Ireland have adopted a common understanding, in co-operation with each other, to promote the objectives of Clans of Ireland including; to represent the interests of Irish Clans who conform to its requirements, to encourage historical research into ancient culture and traditions of Irish Clans, to advise Irish family
groups who seek to authenticate their surname prior to 1850 and to develop friendly relations between those interested in ancient Irish culture, traditions and history.

Clans of Ireland is a non-governmental, non-political, non-sectarian and non-profit organisation that primarily exists for the continuation of Irish culture, traditions and beliefs. It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, class, religious beliefs, political opinions or affiliations.

Clans of Ireland independently and neutrally respects democratically elected governments recognised by the United Nations, but it does not align itself to any particular political cause. Member societies and individuals throughout the World, whilst auxiliaries, are subject to laws of their respective countries.

Membership of Clans of Ireland is open to family organisations throughout the World, which satisfies our membership criteria. All members have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.
Clans of Ireland is an Irish registered Company Limited by Guarantee and an Irish Registered Charity governed by the laws of Ireland and is under the patronage of the President of Ireland. Clans of Ireland promotes and communicates its fundamental principles in Ireland and overseas. Our members are expected to uphold Clans of Ireland's Memoranda and Articles of Association as principles of good practice in addition to upholding guidelines of good governance as set out from time to time by the Board ofDirectors.

January 2017

Statutes of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit.

1. Authority
1.1 Clans of Ireland is an independent authority established in 1989, (incorporated as Clans of Ireland Ltd.,
1990) to authenticate Irish Clans and to promote education and knowledge of Irish heritage and culture.
1.2 Clans of Ireland is accredited by the United Nations as a Civil Society non-governmental organisation.
1.3 Clans of Ireland Order of Merit was established in 2010 by the authority of the Board of Clans of
1.4 The statutes of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit are authorised and issued by the Board of Clans of
Ireland in accordance with section 2 and section 3 of the Memorandum of Association for Clans of Ireland.

2. Patron
2.1 The President of Ireland shall be the sole Patron of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit. During any time
when the Patron is unavailable the Board of Clans of Ireland will act on behalf of the patron.
2.2 The Patron shall automatically be a member of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit and should receive the
insignia of the Order as soon as can be arranged after s/he has been inaugurated as President of Ireland.
2.3 The Patron shall act as an honorary head of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit.
2.4 The Patron shall present the insignia to the recipients.
2.5 Where the Patron is unavailable to present the insignia, another person will be nominated to do so by the
Board of Clans of Ireland.

3. Governance
3.1 The Board of Clans of Ireland will nominate individuals to a committee, under Article 62 of the
Company’s Articles of Association to be known as the Council of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit, for a
period of three years to adjudicate on the nominations to Clans of Ireland Order of Merit.
3.2 The Council, constituted in accordance with article 62, of the Articles of Association of Clans of Ireland
Limited and with clause 3. x. of the Memorandum of Association of Clans of Ireland Limited shall only
have responsibility for;
a) Considering the nominations submitted through the Correspondence Committee, by the
appointed date, and transmitted to the Council of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit.
b) Drawing up a shortlist of suitable individuals, for consideration of the Board of Clans of
Patron Michael D. Higgins, President of IrelandIreland for the awarding of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit, and advising the Board of those
nominations which have the most merit.
c) Advising the Board of Clans of Ireland on such matters that the Board of Clans of Ireland
may refer to the Council.
3.3 Membership of the Council is at the discretion of the Board of Clans of Ireland but the majority of
members of Council should be members of the Board of Clans of Ireland.
3.4 The Council shall endeavour to agree upon all awards by consensus. Where a vote is required a majority
of one vote will suffice.
3.5 The Council of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit will elect a Cathaoirleach in accordance with article 63
of the Articles of Association of Clans of Ireland Limited from among Clans of Ireland members of the
3.6 The Cathaoirleach of the Council will be responsible for liaising with the Board of Clans of Ireland,
coordinating the annual nomination process, convening meetings of the Council of Clans of Ireland Order of
Merit and arranging the annual investiture ceremony in conjunction with the Board of Clans of Ireland.
3.7 The Cathaoirleach of the Council will ensure that there is no outside interference in the selection process
and that all decisions of the Council are kept confidential until they are announced.
3.8 Where a vacancy arises on the Council of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit, the Cathaoirleach of the Council will formally notify the Board of Clans of Ireland and a replacement will be appointed by the Board.

4. Nomination of Awards
4.1 All citizens of Ireland and members of the Irish Diaspora who are 18 years of age or older are eligible
for appointment to Clans of Ireland Order of Merit regardless of whether they have registered with their clan
or not.
Those chosen to receive Clans of Ireland Order of Merit must have made an outstanding contribution His/her Clan organization and / or, Irish culture and heritage and / or, The honour of his / her clan name and /or, The reputation of Ireland.

4.2 There will be a single grade of membership of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit to be known as a Companion of Clans of Ireland or Compánach Finte na hÉireann.
4.3 Members of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit are entitled to use the post-nominal CIOM.
4.4 The maximum number of awards is set at four per annum.
4.5 Nominations can be made by:
4.5.1 Any Clan that has maintained its registration with Clans of Ireland for three consecutive years up to the
date of nomination.
4.5.2 Any member of the Board of Clans of Ireland, who may nominate one person. A ballot on the Board
Member’s nominations will be held and a maximum of two nominations may be selected to go forward to
the adjudicating Committee for consideration.Patron Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
4.6 No member of the board may be nominated to receive the Order of Merit.
4.7 Those nominated should not be informed that they are being considered so as to avoid disappointment if
the nomination is not successful.
4.8 The Council will not be obliged to provide individual feedback regarding unsuccessful nominations.
4.9 A certificate of appointment to the Order may be issued.
4.10 The Company Secretary will maintain a record of the names of those inducted into Clans of Ireland Order of Merit.

5. Wearing of Insignia
5.1 The insignia of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit will be a rendering of Clans of Ireland emblem (obverse)
and a stylised version of an Irish harp (reverse), held by a azure blue ribbon hanging from a single gold bar.
5.2 The insignia for males and females will be the same.
5.3 Companions of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit will wear the insignia on the left side of the breast except
for the Patron who will wear the insignia on an azure neck ribbon.
5.4 Companions of Clans of Ireland Order of Merit may wear the insignia on suitable occasions, in
acknowledgement of the honour that they have garnered as a result of their outstanding contributions to
Ireland, its clans, culture and heritage.
5.5 Miniatures of the insignia may be worn as appropriate.

Revised and Approved by the Board of Clans of Ireland at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin,
Saturday 27 th June 2015.


Dispute Resolution Protocol.

Pursuant to Clans of Ireland (COI) commitment to good governance and best practice in the early resolution of disputes, all Directors, Trustees, Board Members, Members, and Shareholders agree to adopt what is termed COI Dispute Resolution Protocol ("the Protocol") in the unlikely event that a dispute cannot be resolved internally. This is an important voluntary process that does not remove any right to seek legal advice or redress but offers a private and confidential prospect of an amicable and expeditious outcome with benefit to COIand those associated.

Under the Protocol, any Director, Trustee, Board Member, Member, or Shareholder who finds themselves in a dispute either with COI or a person associated with COI in respect of a COI matter agrees to attempt in good faith to negotiate a settlement within twenty working days of either Party notifying the other of the dispute and such efforts shall involve the referral of the dispute to the Chairman of COI and if the dispute cannot be resolved internally, to have the matter referred to mediation. Mediation is a flexible confidential process where a neutral and independent third person facilitates resolution without judgement or partiality, with the parties in dispute having ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of the settlement. A large proportion of Mediated disputes result in a negotiated
COI has appointed a panel of trained Mediators. Those in dispute are encouraged to choose one of the Mediators. In the event that a Mediator cannot be agreed upon within ten working days, or if the Mediator agreed upon is unable or unwilling to act, either party shall within ten working days from the date of the proposal to appoint a Mediator or within ten working days of notice to either party of unavailability or unwillingness to act, apply to the Chairperson of
COI to appoint a Mediator. The parties shall within ten working days of the appointment of the Mediator enter into discussion with the Mediator, in order to agree a programme for the exchange of all relevant information and the structure to be adopted for negotiations to be held. Such discussions are to be completed within ten working days. The cost of the Mediator will be borne by COI. Negotiations or exchanges between the parties at the mediation will remain confidential, will not be reported to anyone and will be conducted without prejudice to the rights of the parties in any future proceedings, unless otherwise agreed. Should the parties reach agreement on a resolution of the dispute, the agreement shall be recorded in writing and shall be binding on the parties, once it is signed by their duly authorised
representatives. In the unlikely event that the parties do not succeed in resolving the matter through the mediation process within sixty working days of the Mediator being appointed, or such longer period as may be agreed by the parties, then the disputants will be at liberty to choose their next steps, including as a preferred resort the use of Arbitration.
Should either party intend to commence court proceedings, it shall serve written notice on the  other party of its intentions and the other party shall have twenty one days following receipt  of such notice to serve a reply; requiring the dispute to be referred to and resolved by arbitration. Such arbitration shall be conducted in Ireland and be governed by, and interpreted in accordance with Irish law and the procedural rules of arbitration under the provisions of
the Arbitration Act 2010, as amended and in force at the date that the dispute was referred to arbitration. The costs of undertaking such further steps, including arbitration or litigation will be borne by the parties incurring such expenses or as ruled on by a court or arbitrator.

The (proposed) panel of Mediators are:
Paulyn Marrinan Quinn SC * Accepted
Paul Gardiner SC
Michael Collins SC
David Barniville SC Accepted
Jonathan Dingle FRSA * Accepted
The Chairperson will assist in the appointment of a Mediator or, alternatively, Mediation Forum Ireland, a prescribed body under Section 15 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, provides a referral service to access qualified meditators.
*. N.B. This person may have a conflict of interest, due to shared business interests with Gearóid Ó Ceallaigh. Due regard will be had for this in every matter.