Board Members

  1. Joe McNamara (Chairman)

    Joe McNamara (MPEAI, MEAE, MIAFD)

    2013-10-22 14.08.20I am the director of Corrigan and Sons Funeral Directors, Dublin; born into the undertaking business, the fourth generation to run the company. I am a part of an unbroken line of family involvement in a company set up by Patrick Corrigan in the latter part of the nineteenth century. I work with three medical schools (UCD, TCD and the Royal College of Surgeons) in Dublin and take care of the burials or cremations of those who have donated their bodies to medical research.

    I gained my Degree in Business in University College Dublin. Afterwards, I started training in embalming at the Midlands Embalming School, Birmingham with J. Lee as my tutor. I also earned my Diploma in Funeral Directing in Coventry (R. Pargetter, tutor). I am a Founder Member of the ‘Leinster Division’ the first structured gathering of embalmers in ROI; and subsequently, Founder Member of the ‘Professional Embalmers’ Association’.

    To be a good embalmer or funeral director, I believe that temperament is the key, coupled with training and an ability to understand grief and the stages one goes through-loss, denial, acceptance. I consider dead persons as part of the community so I approach the funeral as an inclusive situation; a bringing together of people in healing and reconciliation.
    People nowadays are more anxious than ever before about what death looks like, so, as an embalmer, you need to be sensitive to how a person looked in life. There’s a code of ethics around embalming which involves confidentiality and respect for the dead.

    The death of someone close is not something that anyone gets over. In fact, it’s something that most people don’t want to get over. Getting over something implies forgetting about it and the last thing you’ll want to do is to forget about your wife, husband, father, mother, brother, sister or friend. This is turn does not mean that someone who has recently been bereaved should live by or in the past. The aim is to accept that they have gone, draw strength from the past and let go of the pain. I believe that we embalmers can contribute a lot in easing such grief and in helping people move on.

  2. Martina Burns (Vice Chairperson)
    Martina Burns

    Life is difficult and complicated and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.” J.K. Rowling

    Martina-BurnsI have always had huge interest in embalming and the care for the deceased. After finishing my leaving cert, I went to Dundalk Institute of Technology (DIT) for two years doing a course in Business studies. After which, I felt that I wanted something else and decided to pursue my career in embalming. In 2002, I enrolled with The Irish College of Funeral Directing and Embalming in Ballina, Co. Mayo where I received mentorship from Peter J. Ball. While studying, I was offered the opportunity to join the team of embalmers in McGowan’s Funeral Home in Ballina, Co. Mayo.  I finally gained my Professional Embalming qualification through the European and International Examinations Board of Mortuary Science in December 2006. Since then, I have been a Member of the European Association of Embalmers and the Professional Embalmers Association of Ireland.

    I have served as the Secretary of PEAI since 2009 up to the present. I am also the Registrar of The Irish College of Funeral Directing and Embalming. For the past 10 years of full time employment as an Embalmer, I have been active in tutoring and providing support to students of the ICFDE. I have loved the work since I started and I am still enjoying it everytime.




  3. Michael Clarke (Secretary)

    M Clarke

    Michael Clarke

    Michael is an embalmer, funeral director and proud culchie from the wilds of county Mayo. He was introduced to the funeral profession in his early teens, receiving his training from McGowan’s Funeral Home, Co. Mayo, and Val O’Connor’s North Gate Bridge, Co Cork. He has a keen interest in funeral education and holds the position of academic administrator of the Death Care Academy. He is also the coordinator of the embalming course and a manual handling instructor within the DCA. Michael is passionate about death care and believes that modern embalming is central to helping families during the grieving process. Michael continues his work as funeral director and embalmer at Foley and McGowan’s Funeral Directors, Co Sligo.

  4. Padraig O’Reilly (Treasurer)
    Padraig O’Reilly
    Treasurer -Professional Embalmers Association of Ireland (2015-Present)

    PadraigHaving first worked funeral service’s from the late 1970’s he joined the health service as Supports Services Manager with responsibility to include mortuary services and family bereavements. While in this role he was part of a working group on Death Dying and Bereavement and they received an award from the Irish Hospice Foundation for the improvement of standards for the dying and their families. He joined Finnegan’s Funeral Services in 2009 and prides himself on the standard of service and support he gives to families at a time that can be of great upset and stress for them.

  5. David McGowan (PRO)

    David McGowan


    David McGowan


    For over 20 years now, I have dedicated in developing the embalming and funeral directing profession within Ireland that meets the highest standard of service to the public, both on a professional and personal level.

    I am a native of the seaside village of Easkey, Co. Sligo on the North West coast of Ireland. I began a career within the funeral industry in the early 1980’s. In 1985 I qualified as an Embalmer through the British Institute of Embalmers, after which I continued my studies at Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago.

    I am actively involved with the Professional Embalmers’ Association of Ireland (PEAI) and the European Association of Embalmers (EAE). My interests as a professional embalmer are mainly on the advancement of skills, learning and technology that could benefit everybody involved in funeral and embalming services and above all the families whose lives are touched by the passing away of a loved-one. In 1995 I established the Irish College of Funeral Directing and Embalming in Ballina, Co. Mayo which has been serving students from all over the country. More recent development has seen the Death Care Academy of Ireland being accepted by the University College Cork (UCC) to use the facilities within the university to carry out training for persons entering the profession of embalming while also allowing for the up skilling of existing embalmers who require learning of new techniques.

    For me, there is no end to learning and learning should not rest on a shelf, it has to be practised and much more, to be shared.