New Festival Chair announced

Dr Ann Hoskins (left) and John Chandler laught together, Feb 2024.


Liverpool Irish Festival has a new chairperson*. Dr Ann Hoskins comes to the role, from a career dedicated to improving health opportunities for all. Primarily working in health, Ann is a retired public health physician. She’s held local, regional and national senior public health leadership positions and successfully led innovations in health strategy, policy development and programme implementation. She’s previously been a trustee of Irish in Britain, as well as chair of national charity, Best Beginnings.

Born in Belfast, Ann studied at Queen’s University, before working in the Republic of Yemen for 10-years. She settled in Liverpool in 1990. Welcome, Ann, we’re looking forward to the years ahead as Liverpool Irish Festival continues to thrive under your guidance.

Departing? Not quite yet…

Ann accepts the baton from Festival stalwart, John Chandler, who has presided over 21 Festivals in the city. John’s been Festival chair for the majority of time, since establishing the Festival 21-years ago! Under his watchful eye, the programme’s blossomed into today’s multi-faceted cultural celebration. John, who’s worked in social care, health, education and in the statutory, private and voluntary sectors is also a brilliant guitarist! He’s been an unwavering asset to our organisation. We’re grateful that he’ll stay on as a company secretary to the Festival board, where his wisdom, focus and humour will continue to be much appreciated. Thank you, John, for ensuring the last 21-years were so incredibly special. There’s more from John, below.

Thank you both so much! Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

To read our updated Board biographies, click here. We are always on the lookout for bright, enthusiastic trustees. If you’re interested, you can find out more about trustee recruitment, here.

Departing Chair’s statement:

“When I started, I told the Board — who were essentially a group of friends — that I would chair for 3-years [before] we’d bring in fresh blood. It didn’t quite work out like that! We’ve had 54 trustees since the first Festival in 2003. It’s been a great privilege to work alongside them, and our management team, to deliver our fantastic Festivals (and other events throughout each year).

“I was really just in the right place at the right time. I went, cap in hand, to the City [Council. Only] to find it had an eye on a European Capital of Culture bid, about which I knew nothing. Unbeknown to me, an Irish Festival was part of the plan… but, they hadn’t known how to make it happen. I learned later that becoming the Capital of Culture in 2008 was greatly helped by the Festival’s emergence, reflecting the enormous contribution the Irish have made to our city. We’ve been so fortunate to have had the City’s — and the Irish Government’s — support since then and for all the contributions from all our stakeholders.

“I’ve really enjoyed working alongside all involved. I’ll remain in the background to help ensure that Dr Ann Hoskins, a former Festival trustee — with outstanding strategic management experience — is comfortably eased into the role as my successor. I’m sure that she will drive the Liverpool Irish Festival ever forward”, John Chandler, Feb 2024.

Incoming Chair’s opener:

“I’m honoured and excited to be taking on the role of Chair of the Liverpool Irish Festival. I’ve been involved with the Festival over the years and am impressed by its scale and scope. John has done a fantastic job of chairing the Festival for 21-years and will be a difficult act to follow! I hope I’ll be able to work with Emma, and her team, to develop the Festival ensuring it remains an outstanding festival”, Dr Ann Hoskins, Feb 2024.

* Liverpool Irish Festival is a charitable company, limited by guarantee. As part of its constitution, a Board of Trustees oversees its governance, legal compliance and finances. They can delegate key duties to team members, such as programming or fundraising. This group of trustees is led by a chair, who helps to determine organisational strategy and brings the trustees together in decision making. When votes are equal, a Chair’s carry the csting vote, making theirs an important voice within the group. The average age of a trustee in England is 60 and still a high percent of trustees are men.

To read our updated Board biographies, click here. We are always on the lookout for bright, enthusiastic trustees. If you’re interested, you can find out more about trustee recruitment, here.