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Thu 25 Feb

Launch IASW Anti-Racism Strategy 2021-2023

12 - 2.00pm


To view the video of this event, go to

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Colletta Dalikeni

Dr. Colletta Dalikeni is a CORU Registered African- Irish Social worker, Educator, and researcher, currently based at Dundalk Institute of Technology. She is Board member of the Irish Association of Social Workers, Editorial committee member, reviewer for reputable international journals as well as an active member of the IASW Anti-Racism Advisory group. Colletta’ s local and international social work academic and practice experience encompass various areas that include but are not limited to chid protection/welfare, medical social work and intellectual disability.  Her research and teaching interests have a bias towards culturally competent social work practice with various ethnic minority categories such as immigrants, asylum seeker and refugees.  Her particular focus is on how the intersecting discourse of race, racism, culture, come to bear on their human rights in the context of social citizenship entitlements. Colletta’s emancipatory activist research and scholarship is evidenced through her ongoing active involvement in several community social inclusion and diversity projects. Some of her current work in relation to social work is focussed on creating safe spaces and conducive conditions for addressing race-based issues in both social work practice and education through asking difficult questions about Racism. Her other current preoccupations involve leading collaborative Erasmus Plus funded EU projects that are also aimed at challenging Racism and other injustices to promote successful social inclusion and integration at national and EU levels.

Aine McGuirk Chairperson: Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW)

MSocSc, MA, NQSW Coru: SW004099

Aine McGuirk qualified as a Social Worker in 1978. A graduate of UCD and the IPA she has gained extensive experience in state and voluntary sectors providing services for children, vulnerable adults, marginalised groups (including travellers and persons affected by drug addiction) and their families. Her experience encompasses both direct social work, social work management and whole service management. Aine has post graduate qualifications in social work, public service management and social work research. She is the Chair of the Irish Association of Social Workers serving her third year in this capacity.

Senator Eileen Flynn 

Senator Eileen Flynn was nominated to the Seanad by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in 2020 and is the first Traveller/Mincéir to serve in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Her background is in community development and activism on behalf of Irish Travellers and in solidarity with other ethnic minorities. She is also deeply committed to the causes of women’s rights, human rights, and equality. Eileen is proud of her work with organisations such as the Irish Network Against Racism, Ballyfermot Travellers Action Group, National Traveller Women’s Forum, Apollo House, and her campaigning efforts in both the Marriage Equality and Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 (Repeal of the 8th Amendment) Referendums. She was one of the first people in her family, along with her twin sister, to attend University and graduated with an Honours Degree in community Work from NUI Maynooth. Originally from Ballyfermot, she now lives in Donegal with her husband, Liam, and her young daughter. She hopes to use her time in the Seanad to lend her voice to the cause of human rights and equality for all those at the very end of Irish society. “More than anything I am hopeful. I truly believe that the appetite for change brings new energy and impetus to tackle the problems causing so much pain and hardship in our communities. I have never been one to shy away from difficult and hard issues and understand deeply the importance of speaking truth to power.” 

Gruber grakal a muni talosk air ain.

Working towards a better day for all.

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Ms Claudia Hoareau: Irish Network Against Racism (INAR)

Ms Claudia Hoareau is a speaker, creative and diversity & inclusion professional, specialising in anti- racism. Her background is in the arts and international relations and she is passionate about curating and holding safe spaces for conversation, learning and cultural change to take place, with a view to building fairer, equitable and more empathetic societies. She has been involved in various projects at state and community level highlighting the issues faced by migrants in Ireland in the areas of health, employment, and discrimination with particular focus on racism. She has also led on media and community initiatives that dispel myths and stereotypes and promote and advance the positive contribution of migrants to Irish society. Claudia currently sits on the board of the Irish Network Against Racism and is focused on helping organisations and institutions address racism in Ireland through facilitating workshops, delivering training and designing and developing policies and programmes to prevent racism and support those who experience any form of discrimination.  

Dr. Washington Marovatsanga

Dr Washington Marovatsanga is a registered social worker, educator, researcher and diversity consultant. His wide-ranging experiences and qualifications encompass Youth work, Community development and social care and was acquired internationally and locally spanning over ten years. He was recently awarded a PhD in Arts, Humanities and social sciences from National University of Ireland Galway for his research on educational, practice and policy responses underpinning social work service provision for Black Africans in Ireland. He is a joint author of an upcoming book on the topic. As a social services and community youth work practitioner, he has been privileged to professionally interact with diverse professionals in various parts of rural and urban Ireland at key worker and project co-ordinator levels. His experience includes implementing multi-element support plans, capacity building programmes and providing consultancy to community based participatory action research projects. The public, private and voluntary organisations that he has been professionally associated with include local authorities, health care providers, higher education and migrant led organisations. His current focus is on the design, development and teaching of culturally plural decolonised curricula, inclusive anti -racist education and equity diversity training programmes. Dr Marovatsanga is also currently an active member of the IASW Anti -Racism Advisory Group charged with formulating the organisation’s first ever Anti -Racism strategic plan. As a former Social Work Action Network (SWAN) activist and editorial committee member, he believes in the importance of radical activist scholarship in informing radical policy advocacy and implementation through both inclusive critical debates and street level community activism in engaging the status quo to achieve real transformative change- and hence real social justice.

Muireann Ní Raghallaigh is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at University College Dublin. Her research is primarily focused on the lived experiences of asylum seekers and refugees, looking at topics such as the experiences of unaccompanied minors; refugee family reunification; transition from the direct provision system; integration and the needs of refugee children. Muireann’s teaching across various modules in UCD includes content on anti-oppressive practice, anti-racist practice and cross-cultural social work practice.

Diane Ihirwe is an African-Irish social worker, speaker, writer and social justice seeker. She is a graduate of Master in Social Work from Trinity College and holds an undergraduate degree in Social Care from TU Dublin. Diane speaks about racism from the everyday life as well as systemic and structural racism and the role of everyone to create an anti-racist society. Diane is the Co-Founder of Roots In Africa- Ireland Network (Riainetwork), a network that began after a strategic death of a young person due to racial bullying. Riainetwork is building a community through understanding and pride of African Heritage especially for young African-Irish people. Working on the pillars of Knowledge,  Empowerment and representation, Riainetwork provides a safe and brave space for the community and provides various trainings. Diane advocates for the abolition of the Direct Provision System. She travelled to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva to advocate on behalf of Asylum Seekers on the Committee of Eradicating Racial Discrimination (CERD). Diane co-founded the Young Mother’s Network (YMN), a support group for mothers living in Direct Provision Centres. Diane hopes to see and Ireland free of hate and fear. An Ireland where difference is celebrated.

Ms Evelyn Oboh Professionally Qualified Social Worker (Tusla)

Evelyn Oboh is a Senior Social Work Practitioner who has worked in the area of Child Protection, Fostering and currently Children in care. Evelyn is also a social work practice teacher with UCD. Evelyn is passionate about children and family work, advocacy work and support work. Evelyn has been involved in various projects in Africa, highlighting issues faced by vulnerable children and women in their communities. Evelyn’s passion for her work with vulnerable children and women in Africa led her to attend the 63rd session of the commission on the status of women at the United Nations New York in 2019 as an advocate for women Empowerment programme in 2019. Evelyn is a member of the IASW Anti-racism Strategy Advisory Group.