Caitríona Ruane has over 8 years’ experience of working in human rights in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia and as a human rights worker in the North of Ireland. Caitríona was Director/CEO of Féile an Phobail – West Belfast 1996 - 2001.
Caitríona was Minister of Education in the 2007 – 2011 Stormont Executive led by Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley. She led necessary reform of the education system with a strong focus on equality and excellence for all. She introduced a new curriculum, a new school building programme, a literacy and numeracy policy, established a Traveller Educational Taskforce, a review of Irish Medium Education and expansion plan, and a newcomer policy for children with English as an additional language.
She was Deputy Ceann Comhairle of the Assembly in Stormont, Founder and Chair of the Women’s Caucus in the Assembly, and stepped down after representing the people of South Down for four terms.
Caitríona has worked with the Simon Community in a homeless hostel in a border town for three years, and within Aontas Adult Education Programme.
She teaches conflict resolution and negotiations to undergraduate and master’s students in Maynooth University. More recently, she has been working with Mayo North-East Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme supporting charities in very remote areas, including Gaeltacht areas, in their journey to comply with the Charity Regulatory Authority Governance Code.
Caitríona is a mother of two daughters, and Mamó to three gorgeous grandchildren and in her spare time, she keeps hens and grows her own vegetables.