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Trinity College Dublin

SPARC/CAP Annual Conference 2010


Professor Marian Barnes

Marian is Professor of Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton. She was previously Professor of Social Research at the University of Birmingham and has also worked at the universities of Leeds and Sheffield. A major theme of her work for the last 20 years has been user involvement and user movements, public participation, citizenship and new forms of democratic practice. She has worked with mental health service users, carers and older people on participative research projects, including current work with older co-researchers on ageing and well-being. She has published widely in these areas. Her books include: Taking Over the Asylum: Empowerment and Mental Health (with Ric Bowl), Palgrave; Power, Participation and Political Renewal (with Janet Newman and Helen Sullivan), Policy Press; andSubversive Citizens: Power, agency and resistance in public services (with David Prior), Policy Press.



Mary Davis

Mary Davis is Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia. She is the former CEO of Special Olympics Ireland and prior to that she served as Chief Executive Officer for the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Currently she serves on many committees and boards, established a number of voluntary organisations and was appointed by the Prime Minister in Ireland as Chair of the Taskforce on Active Citizenship. Mary has recently been appointed chair of the advisory committee to implement the recommendations of the Taskforce. She also chairs the North South Consultative Forum on behalf of the Irish Government In November 2004 she was appointed by President Mary McAleese to serve on the Council of State for Ireland. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the National University of Ireland, Dublin City University, University of Limerick and an Honorary Fellowship of the faculty of Nursing & Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland.


Eleanor Edmond

Eleanor Edmond qualified as a solicitor in Dublin and practised in the area of human rights, equality and social welfare law with FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), before moving to Scotland where she worked as a mediator in Adult and Youth Restorative Justice Services and Community Mediation. Since returning to Ireland at the end of 2005 she has been Advocacy Manager with the Alzheimer Society, responsible for finding innovative ways to enable the voices of people with dementia to be heard. Having set up Dementia Rights Advocacy Service, a service providing volunteer and professional advocacy to people with dementia, the ASI is now involved, in partnership with Mediation Northside, in a pilot elder mediation project aimed at helping older people and their families to work together to make decisions and resolve conflicts.


Helen Ferguson

Helen Ferguson has been Director of Carers Northern Ireland since 1994, when she came back to Northern Ireland from Liverpool to take up the post. Carers Northern Ireland is part of Carers UK, a membership organisation that works to improve carers’ lives by providing information and advice and by campaigning for change.   A Sociology and Social Administration graduate from QUB, Helen has been involved in voluntary organisations for over 30 years as volunteer, paid worker and committee member.  She is a 2004 graduate of the Windsor Leadership Trust. A firm believer in partnership and collaboration, she is an active member of the Rights in Community Care Group.  Helen was a member of the Promoting Social Inclusion for Carers working group which led to the publication of 'Caring for Carers' (the Carers' Strategy for Northern Ireland).  She led the voluntary sector engagement in development of the Carers and Direct Payments Act 2002.  She is currently leading the Carers workstream for the developing DHSSPSNI Service Framework for Older People.


Anne Gamble

Anne Gamble has been active in a wide range of various older peoples' organisations within Northern Ireland over a number of years. She has been part of the Friendship Federation which has a membership in UK and Northern Ireland of thousands of members. Her membership of the Friendship Federation led Anne into becoming a member of the Age Sector Platform (ASP) which represents over 200,000 older people in Northern Ireland, and Anne participating in various CAP courses and conferences. ASP is also an associate partner in CAP. Anne is involved in Northern Ireland's Patient and Client Council's Older People's Reference Group for the health and wellbeing of older people. The reference group is commenting on the draft standards being set by the Health and Social Care Board to improve its services for 'Carers' and 'Vulnerable Older People'. Anne is a member of the Older People's Reference Group for the N I Policing Board. This reference group is considering the standards of service currently being provided by the Police Service for Northern Ireland and recommending improvements to this service for older people.


Anne Harris

Anne trained as a registered general nurse in Sir Patrick Duns Hospital between 1974 and 1978. She qualified as a midwife in Scotland and continued to work in this area for some time. She has always been interested in older persons’ services and set up the Home Help Service in Kildare in 2002. In recent years she has managed the Customer Service which has been a part of the Consumer Affairs office within the HSE. In 2006 she completed an MSc in Health Services Management with Trinity College Dublin.

In 2007 she was asked to meet with the Leas Cross residents and families in order to learn from the very negative events and attempt to address the issues which they had experienced. This lead to the development of the National Advocacy Programme which hopes to address some of those issues and which is currently completing a pilot programme in sites throughout the country.

The programme delivers an information site which provides access to information on nursing homes and community units nationally which is consistent with the needs of older people and their families. The programme will have trained 200 volunteer advocates to work in over 50 nursing homes and community units by year end and will allocate these individuals in their own localities. The final phase of the programme is offer to train staff in nursing homes to a level of “Personal Excellence” in order that they might value their own role in caring for older people. The programme will be evaluated over the coming months and has been supported financially by both the HSE and the Health Services Partnership Forum.


Christine Jendoubi

Christine Jendoubi has been Director of Primary and Community Care in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for Northern Ireland since March 2006. Before that, she spent almost 30 years in the Department of Education, around half of that time at Director level in a wide range of policy posts. Her current post in Health covers all family practitioner services, long term conditions and other primary health policy development, elderly and community care, prisons healthcare and Armed Forces primary care issues.


Sue McCrory

Sue McCrory sits on the Management Committee of Carers NI. Sue works to support carers by helping to organise social events and entertainment, increasing their skills and knowledge.  She also lobbies on behalf of carers at all levels of government.  Sue has been a carer most of her life, and works to ensure that carers receive the support they need. She is also an examination invigilator for special needs courses at the Belfast Metropolitan College.  


Sylvia Meehan

Sylvia Meehan studied legal and political science in UCD. She was the first person to  chair the Employment Equality Agency (EEA) which was set up in 1977 to oversee the enforcement of the Employment Equality Act (1977). She became the first chief executive of the agency but retired in 1992 when she undertook two APSO placements on Gender Balance in Namibia. Since her retirement she has also been active as a board member of Age & Opportunity to support the inclusion of older people and combat ageism. She is a former President of the Irish Senior Citizens' Parliament. She received a doctorate from the University of Limerick in 1997 and a ‘People of the Year’ award from Rehab in 2009.


Professor James Nazroo

is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Cathy Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research at the University of  Manchester. Issues of inequality, social justice and underlying processes of stratification have been the primary focus of his research activities, which have centred on gender,  ethnicity, ageing, and the intersections between these. His research on ageing has been concerned to understand the patterns and determinants of social and health inequalities in ageing populations, with a particular interest on the 'transmission' of inequalities across the lifecourse, patterns of 'retirement', and formal and informal social and civic participation. He has conducted studies on quality of life for older people among  different ethnic groups in the UK, on inequalities in health at older ages, and on routes into retirement and the impact of retirement on health and well-being. He is co-PI of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is a multi-disciplinary panel study of those aged 50 and older, and part of an international 'family' of very similar studies.


Anne O'Reilly

Anne O’Reilly has worked in the voluntary sector for 14 years. She is currently Chief Executive of AgeNI. Anne was formerly Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission. Anne’s previous experience includes ten years as Director of Help the Aged, Chair of NICVA for six years, Chair of Engage with Age, an interagency community development partnership and Director of Women’s Resource and Development Agency. Prior to her move into the voluntary sector Anne spent 13 years in the statutory sector where she had, at various times, responsibility for services for older people, residential and nursing homes and children and hospital services.


Dr Orlaigh Quinn

Orlaigh Quinn is a senior civil servant in the Department of Social and Family Affairs with policy responsibility for occupational, private and State pensions; social welfare supports for older people and carers; and the operation and delivery of State pensions. She is also responsible for the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, PRSI policy and legislation. She is a member of the Pensions Board, the EU Social Protection Committee, the Oversight Board of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and the Social Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy.  Dr Quinn was formerly responsible for the Office for Social Inclusion where she led the development of Ireland's National Action Plan for Social Inclusion. She has also worked for the European Commission in Brussels and a number of other government departments, including the Central Statistics Office and the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. She is a former Visiting Research Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and holds a Masters in Public Management and a Doctorate in Governance from Queen's University Belfast.


Ronan Toomey

Ronan Toomey is a civil servant in the Office for Older People in the Department of Health and Children. The Office for Older People was established to bring coherence to Government policy, planning and service delivery for older people. Ronan's primary responsibility in the Office is to develop the National Positive Ageing Strategy. He is also a member of the Oversight Board of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Before moving to the Office for Older People, Ronan worked in the Office for Disability and Mental Health also in the Department of Health and Children. He has also worked previously in the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.


Nancy Tynan

Nancy Tynan is an active and engaged volunteer at local, regional and national levels for over 40 years.   Nancy has spent 40 years as a member the board of Thurles Credit Union, holding all positions- Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Chapter Chair and was also on the Nominating Committee of the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Nancy has, over the years been a committee member of a local voluntary group working with children with special needs as well as  being involved in her local ICA group  and Order of Malta.
In 2003, Nancy was a founding member of Thurles Active Retirement Association and acted as its first chairperson.   Today, she is an active member of the Executive Committee and Board of the national organisation of Active Retirement Ireland where she currently holds the National treasurer position.
Nancy believes that in her voluntary roles, she is acting as a truly participative member of society.


Anne Watson

Anne represents Newtownabbey Senior Citizens’ Forum on the Executive and Plenary Committees of Age Sector Platform (ASP) and also sits on ASP’s Transport sub-committee. She is currently Secretary of Newtownabbey Senior Citizens’ Forum. Anne became involved with the age sector approximately three years ago. She is part of the Changing Ageing Partnership’s (CAP) focus group. Prior to retirement, Anne worked for a Solicitor for 17 years. She then moved to NI Co-ownership Housing where she worked in the Finance Section.


Maev-Ann Wren

Maev-Ann Wren is an economist and author on health policy. She is currently completing a PhD in Health Economics at the Department of Health Policy and Management, Trinity College Dublin on the effect of population ageing on health and social care. Her publications include: Unhealthy State – anatomy of a sick society, New Island (2003); and How Ireland Cares - the case for health care reform, New Island (2006), co-authored with Professor A. Dale Tussing. With Professor Tussing, she was commissioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to review the Irish health care system and recommend reform. She contributed chapters on Long-Term Care to the ESRI/TCD study: Projecting the Impact of Demographic Change on the Demand for and Delivery of Health Care in Ireland, Layte et al, (2009).

She holds a B.A in history and economics and an M.A. in economics from University College Dublin. She worked as a journalist for The Irish Times from 1980 to 2004 in posts including economics editor, columnist, editorial writer and senior newspaper editor. She won the 2001 National Media Award for newspaper analysis and comment for a series entitled An Unhealthy State. She is a member of the Adelaide Health Policy Unit Advisory Board.














Last updated: Dec 09 2010