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FULLY BOOKED - Social Work Awards 2015

  • Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Burlington Road
  • 7 pm
  • 04 Jun 2015

Price €30 members/ €60 non-members

The Social Work Awards are a celebration of social work practice.


For the first time in the history of social work in Ireland the Irish Association of Social Workers held the first Social Work Awards on the 4th June in the Double Tree Hilton Hotel. The Awards are about recognising the excellent, diverse work that takes place in the profession and celebrating the many outstanding achievements of social workers across Ireland. It also has an important role to play in making social work’s contribution know to the wider public. Tribute was paid to the ‘life changing’ work of social workers at the ceremony where guests recognised the skill and professionalism of frontline practitioners nominated in the four categories- Social Worker of the Year, Newly Qualified Social Worker of the Year, Practice Teacher of the Year and Social Work Team of the Year.


The Social Worker of the Year category was presented by Paula Donohoe, Director of Services for DeafHear

The category celebrated the achievements of social workers and was the category which received the highest number of entries. The panel were impressed with the dedication displayed by the three finalists, Patrice Reilly from Primary Care in Dublin 2, Christine Hennessy from Barnardos in Dublin 1 and Claire O'Regan from the Mental Health Services in Dublin 24. Christine Hennessy was the winner of this category for her determination to provide an innovative, creative and specialist service where parents find hope, understanding and practical tools to help them support their adopted children on their journey towards secure emotional attachment.

“Totally helped us to change the dynamic in our family.”

“Support when we most needed, it made all the difference in the world.”


The Newly Qualified Social Worker category was presented by Norah Gibbons, Chairperson of Tusla

The panel were looking for a practitioner with the potential to become a future role model for the profession. Two social workers were shortlisted– Tara Whelan from the Mater Hospital in Dublin 7 and Louise Conneally from DeafHear in Galway. The winner was Louise who ‘gains trust and respect with that perfect balance of professional skill set along with personality traits she possesses’.  Her colleagues described her as approaching ‘each work day with enthusiasm and positivity, which not only lifts the spirits of her service users of all ages and capabilities but of her work colleagues too.’


The Practice Teacher of the Year category was presented by Senator Jillian Van Turnout

This category was open to social workers who are involved in mentoring and supervising students and the judges were looking for practice teachers with the ability to successfully motivate and inspire their students. Included in the short list were Majella Hickey from Probation Services in Dublin 7 and David Williamson also from Probation Services in Dublin 7. However, the award went to Aideen McDonnell from the Mental Health Services in Dublin. Aideen was described as ‘fair and considerate’ and endeavours to make sure students get as much experience as possible in their placement’.


The Social Work Team of the Year Category was presented by Dr Hilda Loughran, Director of Social Work at UCD

The judges were on the lookout for a strong, stable team with high morale and one that consistently delivers high standards of best practice. The shortlist included the West Central Team, Child and Family Agency in Donegal and the Dublin North City Fostering Social Work team in Dublin 9.

The winner was the Mayo Child Protection and Welfare team. The team strived to provide a high quality service and have been creative and dynamic in relation to responding to client needs. The booklet ‘A Stone unturned. A guide for families whose children have experienced sexual abuse’ and the information leaflets for children are good examples of workers recognising and responding to the specific needs of their client group. Families felt ‘listened to and more importantly heard’. They felt they were ‘given a say in the outcome for their children’.

Overall the first IASW Social Work Awards was a great success. And we're planning for an even bigger and better event next year!

Paula Donohoe, IASW Board Member & Member of the Judging Panel