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Meet the Speakers

Georgeta Botas: Assistant Commissioner, Public Sector Supervision & Consultation Unit (Health And Voluntary Sector), Data Protection Commission

I am working as an Assistant Commissioner with the Data Protection Commission, with responsibility for Consultation and Supervision with the Health and Voluntary Sectors. I have been an employee of the Commission since early 2018 and I have worked across many units including complaint handling unit and information and assessment unit. In my current role, among other things, I am responsible for providing best practice guidance and advice to organisations across the public sector on compliance with the data protection legislative frameworks.
I am enthusiastic, very self-motivated person and have a passion for my work in data protection area holding the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/E) by International Association of Privacy Professionals, as well as the Advanced Diploma in Data Protection by King’s Inns.

Frances Black: Independent Senator, singer and founder of the RISE Foundation (a charitable organisation working with people with a loved one in addiction)



Dr Michael Browne: Independent Researcher

Dr Michael Browne is an independent researcher and social policy analyst living in County Mayo. He is author of a large number of research reports and discussion papers in a wide range of policy domains, including housing and health and social care services. He has written a number of reports which have examined and critiqued the current architecture of long-term care in Ireland from a human rights perspective. Michael has prepared reports for Safeguarding Ireland on the role of independent advocacy in ensuring that the voice of people with reduced decision-making capacity is heard by those charged with delivering health and social care services. Michael was lead researcher for the 2022 Safeguarding Ireland Report, Identifying Risks – Sharing Responsibilities: The Case for a Comprehensive Approach to Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults. Michael is particularly interested in a human rights approach to policy relating to people who may be vulnerable because of reduced decision-making capacity. He is a strong advocate for the introduction of both safeguarding legislation and protection of liberty legislation in Ireland.

Leanne Caulfield: Deputy Director of Research, Law Reform Commission


Alex Davidson: Independent Chair, Inverclyde Adult Support and Protection Committee, Argyll and Bute Adult Support and Protection Committee, Orkney Public Protection Committee

Alex Davidson. Community development worker and social work manager in Strathclyde Region, and Head of Adult Services in South Lanarkshire Council. On early retirement worked in the Joint Improvement Team on health and social care integration for 11 years, while also working as an Independent Chair of Adult Protection committees in five local authority areas. Experience in inspection and improvement work in heath and social care. Independent Chair of Future Pathways, Scotlands In-Care Survivors Fund, and past chair of the Scottish Muscle Network, PAMIS, Board member of Key Scotland.and worked with Policy Hub Scotland on improvement and development work for several years. Keen grandfather, hillwalker, and gardener.

Ciara Drain: Allied Irish Bank



Prof Thomas Goergen: Department of Criminology and Interdisciplinary Crime Prevention, Department of Criminology and Law, German Police University, Muenster, Germany

Thomas Goergen is a psychologist and professor at German Police University, Muenster, where he holds a chair in criminology and crime prevention. The university teaches police officers from all German Police forces on their way to senior police service. Thomas’ current research areas and interests include victimisation of vulnerable adults, domestic violence and intimate partner homicide, political extremism and prevention of extremism, terrorism and terrorism prevention, crime and criminalisation of minorities. In general, the research focus of the Chair of Criminology is on crime and victimisation in different fields as well as on the respective approaches to prevention.

Tim Hanly: General Manager, National Safeguarding Office (HSE)

.Mr Tim Hanly studied as a Social Science undergraduate at UCC and qualified as a social worker from the University of Warwick in 1991. He completed a MA at Warwick with a dissertation on the self- organisation of people with Disabilities. Tim worked as a social worker in Glasgow between 1991 and 1995 as part of a Community Care Team. Since returning to Ireland in 1995 Tim has occupied various management positions within Child Care services in both the North East and Mid-West Areas. Tim has a particular interest in the foster care and after care provision and would have played a key role in developing practice and policy within the HSE and TUSLA in these areas. Tim commenced as Principal Social Worker in HSE National Safeguarding Office in September 2015 and is currently General Manager of the Office. He played a key role in supporting the implementation of the HSE Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons at Risk of Abuse policy and has recently completed an MSc in Quality & Safety in Healthcare Management from the RCSI.

Jess Harris: Research Fellow, Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London

Jess has just completed a national NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR) funded study focussing on strengthening safeguarding responses to people experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness (MEH) who self-neglect, and has developed follow up studies to build on the impact of this research, focussing on Evidencing the social work role within responses to multiple exclusion homelessness and on Addressing multiple exclusion homelessness in social work education. She has been researching the health and social care workforce at HSCWRU, and its predecessor SCWRU, at King’s since 2006 (more research on Adult Safeguarding by the Unit is available here). The HSCWRU webinar series she runs on different aspects of homelessness research and innovative practice is free to attend and open to all (contact Jess to join the mailing list):

Prof Gillian Manthorpe: Professor of Social Work, Director, NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, Kings College London

Jill Manthorpe is one of the UK’s leading researchers in health and social care policy and practice. She contributes to international scholarship and to practice developments and to wider policy and community initiatives. Her research background is in gerontology, social care practice and policy, safeguarding and workforce, joining King’s College London in September 2021, as its first Professor of Social Work, now Emerita. She holds an honorary professorship at Queen’s University Belfast and was previously Visiting Professor at Ulster University. She is a former Chair of Hull & East Riding Adult Protection Committee/Safeguarding Adults Board and Former Trustee of Action on Elder Abuse (now Hourglass). Her research on adult safeguarding has covered subjects such as safeguarding reviews, mental capacity, safeguarding practice, and policy. She has worked on projects involving data analysis of public opinion, and service data. She has worked with policy makers in England and Singapore on adult safeguarding legal reform and contributed to practice guides, continuing professional development within health and social care services. Recent work has explored the impact of the pandemic on safeguarding work.

Prof Lorna Montgomery: Reader in Social Work in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University, Belfast

Prior to taking up post in Queen’s, Lorna practiced as a social worker within the adult sector for 20 years, primarily within the area of mental health and adult safeguarding. She has also worked for 5 years in a NGO in Uganda, East Africa. Her academic interests have focused on specific aspects of adult sector social work. Her teaching and research include work on adult safeguarding, mental health, parenting, and cross-cultural practice. She has a particular interest in the influence of deprivation and poverty on adult safeguarding and also on developing  tools to support social workers in their practice.

Dr J.P. Nolan: Head of Quality & Patient Safety, Health Service Executive

Dr Erna O'Connor: Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Erna O’Connor is Assistant Professor of Social Work, Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning and Practice Education Coordinator at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin. She is a CORU registered social worker. Prior to joining the university Erna worked as a social worker in drug treatment and HIV services and a senior social worker in hospital-based social work specialising in age-related healthcare and emergency department social work practice. Her teaching and research interests include health-related social work, bereavement and trauma and practice education.

Judge John O'Connor: Circuit Court (Dublin)

Dr John O’Connor was educated in University College Galway,. University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the Law Society of Ireland and the Nottingham Law School. He is currently a Judge of the Circuit Court assigned to the Dublin Circuit and in that capacity, hears applications under the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Law. Prior to his appointment as a judge, Dr O’Connor was a solicitor. He is also a former chairperson of mental health tribunals. He has considerable experience as an academic, lecturer and prior to his appointment as a judge, as a legal practitioner in advising on capacity law.

Catherine-Ellen O'Keeffe: Health Information and Quality Authority, Representative, Data Protection Commission

Louise O'Mahony: Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland

Prof Amanda Phelan: Professor in Ageing and Community Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

Amanda Phelan is a Professor in Ageing and Community Nursing in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin since March 2020. Prior to this appointment, she was an Associate Professor in Nursing at the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems, University College Dublin (UCD). At UCD, Amanda was the Director of Gerontological Programmes and Deputy Director of the National Centre for the Protection of Older People. In TCD, Amanda leads Ireland’s only MSc level multi-disciplinary programme on adult safeguarding and has teaching areas in programmes related to community health, dementia, gerontological nursing and advanced practice. Amanda has a research interest in safeguarding vulnerable populations (particularly related to older people), older person care, missed care, public health and community nursing. Amanda is Vice President of the All-Ireland Gerontological Nurses’ Association and a member of the Board of Directors in Third Age and Safeguarding Ireland. Amanda has published two edited books on the topic of elder abuse and her third co-edited book, is on the area of gerontology. She is currently working on a book on community-centred care. Amanda has numerous peer-reviewed publications and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect and the International Journal of Older People Nursing

Patricia Rickard-Clarke: Chair, Safeguarding Ireland

Patricia Rickard-Clarke is a lawyer and former Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission. She was the lead Commissioner in relation to the Commission’s work on: Vulnerable Adults and the Law: Capacity, Bioethics: Advance Health Care Directives and Legal Aspects of Professional Home Care. From 2012 to 2016 she was a member of the Council of the Hospice Foundation and of its Think Ahead Project Advisory Group of the Forum on End of Life. She was a member of the Council of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland from 2013 – 2017. She is the Chair of Safeguarding Ireland clg and Deputy Chair of SAGE Advocacy clg. She was a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Group appointed by the Minister for Health to draft a code of practice on Advance Healthcare Directives, a member of the National Assisted Decision-Making Steering Group of the HSE and was a member of the National Disability Authority’s Expert Group that developed the non-healthcare codes for the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. She is a member of the Department of Health Expert Advisory Group on Protection of Liberty Safeguards. She has contributed to a number of national and international publications on topics related to decision-making capacity and adult safeguarding.

Bibiana Savin: Assistant Executive Director, Case Management & Support, Sage Advocacy

Dr Nicole Steils: Research Fellow, NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London

Dr Nicole Steils is a Research Fellow at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit (HSCWRU) at King’s College London. Nicole led an NIHR School for Social Care Research funded study on responses to self-neglect and hoarding behaviour among older people in England. She is now part of a team exploring involvement of professional decluttering services in cases of hoarding behaviour, and leads a small study on training offers for professionals working in this area. As part of HSCWRU activities, Nicole leads a study on Registered Nurses working in Adult Social Care settings and evaluates the introduction of the Nursing Associate role in England. She was also engaged in a study on Approved Mental Health Professionals and on Social Work in Hospitals. Before becoming a researcher, Nicole worked for over ten years in the area of out-of-school education and social in Frankfurt am Main/Germany. Nicole’s other research interests lie in the use of technologies, particularly in care and education; counselling/mentoring; social policy; personal identity/identities and how these are shaped; and bringing theory and practice together

Dr Yongjie Yon: Technical Officer, Ageing and Health, Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe