Meet the team: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick

Terry Dignan

CEO of EPIC Terry Dignan joined EPIC in January 2017. Terry is the former Director of Trinity Consultants, a leading provider of support services to organizations supporting children and youth. He has over 20 years’ experience working in both the statutory and voluntary sectors in Ireland and internationally. He is former Director of the Sheredar Foundation, the first rehabilitation centre of its kind providing services to children and families from Russia. He was Director of Programmes at Barretstown and Chief Executive Officer at L’Envol (France), a centre for children and families affected by life-threatening illnesses. He was involved in a number of international children’s projects including the Beslan School siege, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami rehabilitation and leadership programmes for children and youth whose lives are affected by conflict. Terry can be contacted at

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

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

Darragh Farrell

Advocacy Officer in the Dublin North East region.

Having worked successfully in multiple social care settings, Darragh came to EPIC with experience advocating on behalf of a diverse mix of individuals. Within addiction services, the disability sector, and the criminal justice system, Darragh has a proven track record in building and maintaining therapeutic relationships with members of marginalised groups. After completing the BA in Social Care at DIT, Darragh took up work in Special Care working directly with some of the most vulnerable young people in the State. Having recognised care experience as a predictor of contact with the criminal justice system, Darragh undertook the MA in Criminology at TU Dublin to broaden his understanding of routes in and out of crime. Darragh’s approach to work is underpinned by a strong sense of social justice and a staunch commitment to the pursuit of equality.

Darragh can be contacted at:

Adrian Sheehy

Advocacy Officer in the 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:

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

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

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

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

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

Andrea Meyer

Andrea joined EPIC in July 2017 as Administrator to the National Advocacy Service. Andrea comes to EPIC with over 10 years’ experience of working in Office Administration including Community and Family Support Projects. Andrea can be contacted at

Patricia Thorp

Office Manager

Patricia is responsible for the day-to-day working of EPIC’s national office taking on whatever duties need to be done to keep the office running efficiently, allowing other staff members to concentrate on their own jobs. Patricia joined EPIC in 2005, having previously worked as PA and Team Assistant for various businesses in the Corporate Sector. 

Patricia can be contacted at

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

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

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

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

Susan Carey

Participation and Engagement Coordinator

Susan joined EPIC in October 2017 and is responsible for maximising the engagement of children and young people with care experience by facilitating them to speak out on issues of importance to them in an attempt to influence positive changes to policy and practice. She supports the EPIC Youth Council, a national council for young people with care experience who are interested in participating in campaigns, forums, consultations and events. Susan has been working with and for children and young people for over 10 years in many areas including the legal system, the youth and community sector and the academic sector. Previous to her role in EPIC, she worked in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, Foroige and as a barrister specialising in criminal and family law.

If you would like to find out more about the EPIC Council, please click on the link or email

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