'Getting to know VSI Board Members' Series: Máille Brady Bates

29 Apr 2021

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Hello, my name is Máille Brady Bates. I am a solicitor specialising in Irish Employment law and a recent addition to the VSI Board of Trustees. I am also a member of the Board’s Governance, Policies and Compliance Sub-Committee as well as Staff Liaison Officer.  

Before joining the Board, I had no prior experience with VSI, however, I was familiar with its parent organisation, Service Civil International, and had long been a fan of its ethos of peacebuilding through volunteering which was established following the global atrocities of World War I.

Although my journey with VSI only started very recently, my passion for and commitment to conflict resolution, peacebuilding and social justice goes as far back as I can remember. As a young person growing up in the Republic of Ireland to a catholic Northern Irish mother and a protestant English father, I was extremely curious about the protracted negotiations taking place in Northern Ireland at the time of the Good Friday Agreement and the dispute resolution mechanisms that were being explored. As a young child, I was also fascinated by the experiences of my parents living and working across the communities in Belfast during the Troubles and the work that they did using the Arts as a mechanism to cross the divide. This led me to read a lot about this time and as a tween I particularly loved the Kevin and Sadie series by Joan Lingard.

It is this interest in conflict resolution and justice that lead me down the path of becoming a lawyer and mediator. However, before pursuing my professional qualification, I first studied European Social and Political Studies as an undergraduate at University College London and a Masters in Law as a postgraduate at Trinity College Dublin. In my day-to-day job, I advise employers in relation to a wide array of workplace issues and complaints. Recently, this has been a particularly interesting and challenging time with the onset of COVID-19 and the new challenges facing employers and employees alike.

I am passionate about sensitive volunteering: I value the importance of volunteering, both for the volunteer and for the recipients. I am a long-standing volunteer with the Free Legal Advice Centres Employment Law Clinic and also assist other charities and organisations on a pro-bono basis. As an undergrad, I spent a few months in rural Kenya working with a secondary school and local charities to assist in implementing their sustainable development goals.

Finally, I enjoy good food and love finding time to cook creative meals. One of my favourite things is to combine my love of food with my love of travel and to explore other cultures via their food. Hopefully that will be a possibility again soon. In the meantime, I am filling my spare time with as many outdoor pursuits as I can muster the energy for: sea swims, kayaking, cycling and hiking. You name it, sign me up!

I am truly delighted to join the VSI Board and relish the opportunity to work with an organisation whose values and ethos so closely mirror my own. I look forward to the hard work and rewarding times to come.