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Social Work - Working Together to Navigate Change

  • Ashling Hotel, Parkgate Street
  • 8.45 Registration, Conference 9.30 - 4.40
  • 21 Oct 2016

Price €30/€60

Joint conference organised by Social Workers in Primary Care & Social Workers in Disability SIGs




Price includes lunch and refreshments.

Limited parking is available at the venue. 


Social Work - Working Together to Navigate Change

Irish Association of Social Workers

Social Workers in Primary Care & Social Workers in Disability

Joint Conference

The first ever Social Work in Primary care and Social Work in Disability joint conference will consider how social workers intervene to navigate the myriad of lived experiences our service users face on a daily basis. Attendees will reflect on how we work individually and in partnership with service users, SW colleagues, MDTS and other agencies, to support service users, their families, carers and communities to adapt to life change and arrive at solutions that are optimal and individual to them.

Speakers on the day will challenge participants to consider how and why we adopt various methods, approaches and theories in our day to day work. Participants will reflect on the variety of approaches to working with diverse communities negotiating a myriad of life challenges and experiences. Speakers will facilitate discussion on a wide range of topics, from working with service users with dual diagnosis to supporting service users to adapt to life challenges such cognitive impairment and plan for end of life care. Presenters will also consider how social workers support carers with an intellectual disability or mental health concern. The day will also provide a space for social workers and their managers to reflect on how best we can protect ourselves when faced with the everyday traumas and stresses of our work.

The event will span a full day with morning presentations and a showcase of the work of social workers on the ground followed by facilitated workshops in the afternoon. The speakers and facilitators will provide a breadth of learning opportunities for social workers from across settings, not limited to those working within disability and primary care.



8.45 – 9.30am: Registration and Coffee

9.30 – 9.45am: Opening Address

9.45 – 10.00am: Minister – TBC


Morning Presentations:

10.00 – 10.40: End of Life Care - Supporting Service Users & Families to Think Ahead – MSW Team, St Francis Hospice, Blanchardstown. Kathleen Quinlan and Niamh Finucane MSW Team.

10.40 – 11.20: Working with Carers with Intellectual Disability and/or Mental Health Concerns – Marian Mahon, National Information and Advice Person for Family Carers

11.20 – 11.35: MORNING BREAK

11.35 – 12.15: Working with Service Users from Diverse/Multicultural Backgrounds – GLOBE / Culturewise Dr Alvina Grosu

12.15 – 12.25: Questions and Wrap up of morning


12.25 – 2.00pm: LUNCH (please note, the morning will run to a strict timetable in order for the hotel to facilitate lunch being served from 12.30)


Afternoon Showcases:

2.00pm – 3.00pm Showcases of Work of SWs from SWinPC and SWID

  • John Ryan, SWID, Supporting Parents with an Intellectual Disability - KARE
  • Sylvia Melbourne, SWinPC, The SW Role in The We Can Quit Programme
  • Deirdre Jacob, SWinPC, The Tallaght Roma Integration Project
  • Marguerite McCarthy, SWID, A Self Advocacy Group for Adults with an Intellectual Disability – Peamount Hospital Project


Afternoon Workshops:

3.00 – 4.30pm Workshops

Working to Support Individuals with Cognitive Impairment – Matthew Gibb MSW from MedEl in SJH and Dr Oisin Hannigan Geriatrician


Post Traumatic Stress and Intellectual Disability – Des Hanrahan SJOG


Relationship Based Practice and Other Contemporary Theories – Erna O’Connor


Minding the Social Worker – An Organisational and Personal Responsibility – Rita Byrne PSW Tusla

4.30 – 4.40pm: WRAP UP


4.40PM – CLOSE: Social Gathering. All Welcome!

To begin after Wrap Up – Venue TBC on the day.



Speaker Biographies

Matthew Gibb has a professional background in Social Work practice and a Masters degree in Social Policy and Social Work Studies, from the London School of Economics. Matthew has extensive experience working with older people, carers and people with sensory and physical disabilities. His role is both that of Senior Medical Social Worker to patients attending the Memory Clinic (Mercers Institute for Successful Ageing) and Social Researcher at the DSIDC. Matthew is currently involved in a number of projects including the Dementia Friendly Communities initiative with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Dempath project at St James’s Hospital.

Alvina Grosu, PhD, a native of Moldova, is living in Cork, Ireland for more than 15 years and continues to experience personally the process of adaptation and acculturation to Irish culture. She is fluent in English, Romanian, Russian and few other Slavic languages. Dr. Grosu holds a PhD in psychology, is a registered psychologist and specialise in cross-cultural psychology. She is a member of Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) Europe and Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Dr. Alvina Grosu was the founder of  Culturewise Ireland, an Intercultural Training, Research and Consultancy company back in 2006. By combining her personal experience and professional knowledge and skills, Alvina on behalf of Culturewise provides support to private and public organisations  and their employees to find solutions for intercultural and international challenges. Dr. Grosu has created unique packages designed to stimulate an international and diversity mindset among personnel and so to help individuals, groups and organisations operate confidently and successfully in contemporary Multicultural Ireland. Among Culturewise’s clients are: Bank of Ireland,  Credit Unions, Revenue Commissioners Cork and Kerry, Cork and Dublin  City and County Councils, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Boards Cork, Limerick, Sligo,  HSE, TUSLA Child and Family Agency, UCC, CIT, DCU, NUI Galway and Maynooth,  Mary Immaculate Limerick and St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Queen’s University Belfast and many other. Please see a full list and testimonials on

Dr Alvina Grosu  also conducted research projects on behalf of Culturewise Ireland for HSE and Arts Council of Ireland.

-       “Multicultural health” An Assessment of Health and Personal Social Service Needs relating to Ethnic Minority Groups within the HSE Mid West Region – HSE Research Report, May 2008.

-       “Travellers participation in the Arts during 2009-2013” for Arts Participation Department within Arts Council of Ireland.

Academic work of Dr. Grosu is on MA programmes in  UCC and Irish College of Humanities and Applied Science, Limerick. She works on a part time basis since 2008 and besides teaching and assessing the theoretical modules is also supervising Master degree research dissertations in the area of Multicultural Counselling and Psychotherapies. Practical aspects of her activities include working with clients as well as serves as clinical supervisor for trainee students counsellors/psychotherapists in Cork and Limerick area.

Dr. Grosu was involved in community development work on a voluntary basis since arriving to Ireland. She had worked with community leaders in Monaghan on behalf of Peace III project during 2012-13 and sat on the Board of Directors for Triskel Art Centre during 2008-10. Alvina is well connected and has good working relationships to culturally diverse communities in Cork and around Ireland. 

Dr Oisín Hannigan is the current Watts fellow in St James Hospital Department of Medicine for the Elderly. He graduated in 2008 with a degree in Biochemistry with Structural Biology from Trinity College Dublin, then undertook a degree in Medicine in University College Cork, where he graduated in 2012. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He predominantly works in the Memory Clinic in St James Hospital and is currently undertaking a higher degree with research interests in memory, quality of life in the elderly and osteoporosis. 

Marguerite McCarthy is presently a Senior Social Worker in Peamount Healthcare in Newcastle, Co.Dublin.  She works with older adults with an intellectual disability and she also works with adults with a neurological disability in Peamount Healthcare.  Prior to this she worked as a Social Worker in Stewarts Care in Palmerstown, Co.Dublin with children and adults with an intellectual disability and their families for eight years.  Prior to this she worked in Deaf Hear with children and adults and their family with a hearing impairment for nearly three years.  She also has lectured in the BA Honours Degree programme in Social Care Practice in the Institute of Technology Tallaght.  She also worked as a social care worker and family support worker with The Brothers of Charity in Cork with children and adults with an intellectual disability for a number of years. Marguerite is now a member of the Social Work in Disability National Committee in the IASW.

Sylvia Melbourne qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 2009 as a social worker.  She is presently working for the Health Service Executive, Primary Care Service in CHO 9 Dublin North City since 2010. Prior to Sylvia’s current role she worked for Bank of Ireland from 1987 – 2006. In partnership with the HSE Sylvia completed the Irish Cancer Society’s WE Can Quit Community Facilitator Training Programme in 2014 and was involved in the delivery of the Dublin 15 pilot programmes which commenced in March 2014. 

Erna O’Connor is an Assistant Professor of Social Work, Placement Co-ordinator and Director of the Master in Social Work Programme at Trinity College Dublin. Prior to joining the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity, Erna worked as a social worker at the Drug Treatment Centre and St James's and Beaumont hospitals in Dublin. Her PhD research on the use of Relationship-based Social Work in Responding to Trauma was based on practitioner research undertaken while working as a social work team leader at the Emergency Department at Beaumont Hospital. Her research interests include researching social work practice, transnational social work, health-related social work, bereavement and reflective learning and practice. 

Kathleen Quinlan is a Senior Social Worker with St Francis Hospice, Dublin. She qualified in 1993 as a Social Worker and in 2014 qualified as an integrative psychotherapist. She has worked across a range of specialities intellectual disability, dual diagnosis, adult mental health, domestic violence, cancer support and palliative care services.

Kathleen brings the influences of her personal, work and academic experience to her role as a Social Worker in Community Palliative Care Services. She believes strongly in supporting both service users and colleagues in our journeys with living and dying. 

John Ryan 

I studied at the University of Greenwich and did my professional training in Social Work Dip SW (CQSW) along with a Dip in Higher Education. I specialised in the area of Mental Health, Disability and Child Protection, I worked in London for 6 years. I have also completed a post graduate course in Child Protection and Welfare in Trinity College.

I continue my education through my involvement in a special interest group Social Worker in Disability (SWID) in the Irish Association of Social Work and am part of a group that is looking at Continuous Professional Development for Social Work.

I have been a guest lecturer for the Open Training College, and I have lectured in Trinity College and UCD. I am a practice Tutor for UCD for Social Work training. I am also a Tutor for the Irish Sports Council in Child Protection and Welfare. I have also developed best practice policies on Protection of Vulnerable Adults and been part of the Special Olympics Code of Ethics policy development committee. I have had published articles on Emigration as a contributory factor to Mental Health, and on Protection of Vulnerable Adults.


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