Meet the team: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick

Marissa Ryan

CEO of EPIC

Marissa has over fifteen years’ experience working on human rights, equality and protection in both governmental and non-governmental capacities in Ireland and internationally. Marissa joined EPIC in December 2020 from Brussels, where she was based as Oxfam’s Global Deputy Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, leading the organisation’s multilateral policy and advocacy with the European Union, the United Nations, the International Financial Institutions and the OECD.

Previously, Marissa worked with Oxfam Ireland and Concern Worldwide; coordinated a project on the protection of LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees with BeLonG To; and represented the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs at the UN Human Rights Council and to the UN humanitarian agencies headquartered in Geneva. Marissa also spent a number of years in East Africa where she worked with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, among others. Marissa has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights from University College Dublin, and has served on the Board of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office.

Marissa can be contacted at: marissaryan@epiconline.ie

Karla Charles

Policy Manager

Karla is EPIC’s Policy Manager and has been working in the children’s rights and human rights sector for over a decade. She holds a Masters in Laws (LL.M London) in Human Rights Law, with a focus on children’s rights. She completed her graduate studies at Trinity College and postgraduate studies at the King’s Inns.  She has previously worked for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO), the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), the Children’s Commissioner for England, amongst others. Karla can be contacted at karlacharles@epiconline.ie

Fidelma Guinan

John Murphy

Advocacy Officer and Researcher Southern Region.

John has worked in residential care in both Wicklow and Cork. Following on from this he worked in Barnardos as part of the Origins team that worked with people who went through the Industrial and Reformatory School system to help them access information about their past and to trace family members. He has also worked in Limerick as a Community Resource Worker as part of the Family Support Initiative. John can be contacted at johnmurphy@epiconline.ie

Adrian Sheehy

Advocacy Officer – Southern region

Adrian joined the EPIC team in June 2020. He has a background in social care and community development. Adrian holds a BA in Community Development from Munster Technological University (Cork Institute of Technology) and an MA in Voluntary and Community Sector Management from University College Cork. Adrian worked for a number of years in the private residential care sector. He then transferred to residential care in the disabilities sector. Adrian worked alongside individuals with a dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental health, gaining lots of experience and insight into behaviours that challenge. Adrian is committed to supporting people in taking back control of the circumstances of their own lives’.

Adrian can be contacted at: adriansheehy@epiconline.ie

Brenda Kneafsey

Advocacy Officer Western Region

 Brenda has been involved as Aftercare Network Support Co-ordinator since May 2007. Brenda has previously spent 8 years working in Management in long term Residential Care in Galway and Wicklow and during her professional career has worked with young people from age 7 onwards. Brenda may be contacted at brendakneafsey@epiconline.ie

Fiona Murray

Advocacy Manager – Dublin North East and Dublin Mid Leinster. 

Fiona was appointed as a Children’s Rights & Participation Officer with EPIC in January 2006. Fiona has many years experience in residential care and in more recent times has worked with Early School Leavers in a community setting.

Fiona may be contacted at fionamurray@epiconline.ie

Mark Dwyer

Regional Advocacy Manager – West, Midwest, South

Mark joined the EPIC team in April 2020. He has been working with and for children, young people and their families for over 15 years in a variety of roles across the charity sector in Ireland and internationally. Prior to joining the EPIC team, Mark worked as a Service Manager with Jigsaw, Director of Operations, Camp Director and Programme Director within the SeriousFun Children’s Network, and as an International Criteria and Standards Inspector.

Mark can be contacted at markdwyer@epiconline.ie

Peter Lane

Advocacy Officer Dublin Mid Leinster.

Peter has many years of experience working in residential care, often with young people with complex and challenging needs. Before that, he worked with YAP, as a Youth Worker and he used to give workshops in communications and media studies. He also has extensive experience in event organisation and management. Peter has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Communications and Development and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies. He has a BA (Hons), a National Certificate in Philosophical Studies and a Diploma in Print Media and Journalism. He also has Fetac Level 6 qualification in Management. He is deeply interested in Social Justice and issues concerning Equality. Peter can be contacted at peterlane@epiconline.ie

Suzanne O'Brien

Suzanne O’Brien

Participation and Engagement Officer 

Suzanne is the Participation Officer and she is setting up Fora all over Ireland with different age groups, contact Suzanne in the EPIC Dublin Office if you want more information about Fora in your area. Suzanne can be contacted at suzanneobrien@epiconline.ie

Caroline Nolan

Advocacy Officer in the Southern region

Based in our Cork office, Caroline joined the EPIC team in 2012. Caroline has a Social Care Work background and worked with young people in Residential Care for over 11 years before joining EPIC. Caroline is passionate about Children’s Rights and in particular the rights of young people to have their voice heard and be taken seriously.

Caroline can be contacted at Carolinenolan@epiconline.ie

Michele Brady

Finance Manager

Michele joined the EPIC team as Finance Manager in 2015, originally on a part time basis. She is a qualified accountant who has worked in financial and management roles in both not for profit and commercial sectors.  In the last 12 years this has been predominantly in the charity sector.  She brings extensive experience to her role in EPIC.

Michele can be contacted at: michelebrady@epiconline.ie

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Advocacy Officer  Mid West Region (Limerick, Clare and Tipperary)

Joe joined EPIC in January 2016 and has a professional background in youth work, family support and community work.  Joe holds a BA Degree from Mary Immaculate Collage and in recent times completed a MA in Social Work from NUIG.  Joe has a strong belief in educating young people and providing them with avenues to express their ideas, thoughts and opinions and in doing so, empowering them to take ownership of their lives. Joe can be contacted at joewalsh@epiconline.ie

Edel Weldon

Sadbh O’Brien

Participation Officer 

Sadhbh initially worked in homeless services in Dublin for 3 years, responding to the immediate needs of the homeless.

Following on from that Sadhbh worked for 2 years as a Supervisor delivering a program of rehabilitation service to recovering drug users.

After this Sadhbh worked in Australia for a number of years as a Public Guardian assessing the needs of Wards of Court on behalf of the state.

For a period of 1 year Sadhbh worked in Canada on a social enterprise project supporting the needs of young people in accessing employment opportunities.

Sadhbh holds a B.A. in Social Science from the National University of Ireland (Maynooth).

Sadhbh can be contacted at: sadhbhobrien@epiconline.ie

Edel Weldon

Edel Weldon

Advocacy Officer

Dublin Mid Leinster. Edel worked in Children’s Residential Centre’s for 9 years as a Social Care Worker, Acting Social Care Leader/ Deputy Manager as well as acting Manager of a Children’s Residential Centre. She was the first established Aftercare Worker in the then HSE Dublin South City Area and developed the Aftercare service (Now part of TUSLA Dublin South Central) and is on the Board of the Irish Aftercare Network. She holds a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care from Sligo I.T. She joined the team in EPIC in January 2017. Edel can be contacted at edelweldon@epiconline.ie

Kitzito Mutahi Wahome

Advocacy Officer Dublin North East

Kizito is passionate about human rights and social justice and has worked both in Ireland and Kenya for non-governmental human rights organisations.  Kizito has worked in the disabilities sector as a social care worker where he helped to establish a self-advocacy group at the residential centre. Kizito transitioned to work in private residential care with young people and with separated children seeking international protection. Kizito has worked in residential Aftercare with young adults. Kizito is a qualified social worker and has worked with Tusla Child and Family Agency in the Children in Care Team.

Kizito holds a Master’s in Social Work from Trinity College Dublin, Master’s in Human Rights from University College Dublin, BA in Development Studies from Kimmage Development Studies Centre and Higher National Diploma in Media Moving Image from St. Kevin’s College.

“What matters in Life is not the fact that we lived. It is what difference we made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” Nelson Mandela

Kitzito can be contacted at kizitomutahiwahome@epiconline.ie

Therese Garvin

Advocacy Officer Dublin North East

Therese joined the EPIC team in March 2019 and before she joined EPIC, she worked in residential care as a Social Care Worker for 12 years. Therese was also Deputy Manager of a Residential Centre. Therese was certified as Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) trainer in May 2017 with Cornell University and was involved in training social care workers in TCI across the country. Therese has a BA in Applied Social Studies in Social Care. Therese is passionate about working with young people and is inspired by their achievements.

Therese can be contacted at theresegarvin@epiconline.ie

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