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Message from the NEW Chairperson of IASW

  • 28 Jun 2016

Dear Members, I contact you as the newly elected Chair of the Irish Association of Social Workers and to update you following our most recent IASW National Social Work Conference and AGM.

I am really honoured to take on the role of Chair, I have been actively involved with the Association since 1999 at different levels which I hope will prepare me to continue the good work of my predecessors in building up our professional body. I especially want to thank Donal O’Malley, who has been our Chair for the last two years. Donal has given many hours of his time to the Association, dealt with thousands of e/mails and attended many meetings on member’s behalf, Donal has kindly agreed to remain as a director in the coming year. 

I passionately believe that our Association has an important role, in not only promoting the role of social work and the professional development of our members but most importantly influencing policy and practice so as to improve the lives of all the individuals and families with whom we work with each day. 

On Friday the 17th of June we hosted our National Social Work Conference and Annual General Conference " Promoting Best Practice in Social Work Supervision", we formally launched the IASW Standards for Social Workers: Promoting Quality Professional Supervision and later in the evening we hosted the IASW Social Work Awards at Croke Park. From feedback to date, I think it really was a great day. 

I have often said altruism is alive and well within our profession and as always, behind our achievements, there were many people involved in making last Friday the success it was. 

On behalf of the IASW, I would like to thank, all those who made the conference the success it was; all our keynote speakers  Liz Beddoe, Paula McFadden and Carmel Halton, Aisling Coffey for conducting a workshop and for launching the Supervision Standards document, Sarah Donnelly for co-ordinating the poster display and also hosting the practitioner research symposium, those social workers who presented; Brian Donnelly, Catherine Walsh, Nerilee Ceatha and Mary O'Shea, Nicola Byrne for chairing the conference, John Brennan for being our volunteer photographer, Patrice for  co-ordinating members to help out on the IASW stand, and all those who took the time to prepare and bring posters to the conference, and especially our own hard working staff, Danielle McGoldrick and Cliona Murphy.

I would like to thank the Department of Children and Youth Affairs office for the generous grant they gave to support the conference.

As members, you will know that the IASW is a limited company with a Board of Directors, who are responsible for the decision making process within IASW. People give significantly of their time attending meetings, working on sub groups and keeping up to speed by reading all the relevant policies and reports. 

So I particularly would like to thank to thank all those who are stepping down from the Board, Aisling Coffey, Trish Mylan, Patrice Reilly, Paula Donohoe and Trish Sweeney. I know that they will still only be a phone call away for advice and support. 

I am particularly delighted to welcome the new members of our Board; Hilda Loughran, Aine McGuirk, Anette O’Callaghan, Ruth Murray and Elizabeth Hamilton. 

Our website will be updated, and you can contact any Board member through the IASW office.   

Our new Board for 2016/17 includes the following: 

·        Frank Browne Chair

·        John Brennan

·        Hilda Loughran

·        Aine McGuirk

·        Donal O’Malley

·        Billie Anne McCauley

·        Anette O’Callaghan

·        Joe McCarthy

·        Ruth Murray

·        Elizabeth Hamilton 

I think it of great value to the Association to have representation from across the country and from those in social work practice and academia. 

The aim of the IASW Social Work Awards is primarily to celebrate and promote our profession and to recognise the many committed social workers across the country who go the extra mile for our service users. While we specifically recognise individuals and teams who have been nominated by their peers, we are in no doubt that there are many social workers who quietly go about their business each day making a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

 I would like to congratulate all those who were nominated for an award and especially the Winners of 2016 Awards, and to thank the members who planned and organised the event, especially Paula Donohoe who was the lead person, as well as our judges who also gave generously of their time.  

2016 Team of the Year

Dublin North City Mental Health Team - WINNER

Sligo University Hospital Team

Medical Social Work Department, The Mater Hospital


2016 Social Worker of the Year

Gabrielle McDaid – Tusla, Donegal

Caroline Cantan – Enable Ireland, Dublin 24 - WINNER

Joe McCarthy – Tusla, Cork


2016 Practice Teacher of the Year

Brian Donnelly – Clontarf Mental Health Sector, Dublin - WINNER

Martina Doyle – Brothers of Charity, Waterford


2016 Researcher of the Year

Nerilee Ceatha – Tusla, Dublin 9 - WINNER

Carmel Halton – University College Cork - WINNER

Olivia O’Connell – Tusla, Cork


2016 Newly Qualified Social Worker

Victoria McGuinness – Mayo University Hospital, Mayo

Kate Newell – Cork University Hospital, Cork - WINNER

Michelle Byrne – Primary Care Centre, Dublin 8

The AGM was a lively affair and the four proposed motions were debated respectfully. The details and decisions are attached and are available on the IASW website. 

Finally, I would like to thank all members for their continuing support. The IASW is its members and the more members we have the greater our voice will be as a profession. I would like to ask each member to consider promoting membership with your colleagues and at team meetings. If every person was able to encourage an additional member we would clearly double our numbers and significantly increase our revenue. The demands on the Association for representation and to fund or host CPD events is relentless, but the greater our resources the more we can deliver for members and most importantly those with whom we work with.

Kind Regards,

Frank Browne

Chair of IASW