IAIA Committee Members

Cahal McHale, formerly Principal Social Worker for Alternative Care in Donegal, is currently chairperson of the Special Interest Group on Foster Care within the Irish Association of Social Workers. He has a longstanding interest in applying attachment theory as a valuable aid to understanding the complex challenges for children in care.

Catherine Bond CEO of the Irish Foster Care Association with an extensive background in working with children across residential care and early years’ services.

Dr Helen Gogarty is an Independent Attachment Specialist and Jungian Therapist who has worked for many years with children in care, foster parents and professionals. She has developed a number of protocols for assessing attachment for children in care and also provides training for carers and other professional staff.

John (Johnnie) Gibson Independent Child Care Trainer and Consultant, has many years experience in residential care in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Specialist in therapeutic crisis intervention.  Trains and supports foster carers and helping children in care form secure attachments.   Faculty member, Residential Child Care Project, Bronfenbrenner for Translational Research, Cornell University New York.  Trained in the Child Attachment Interview Protocol.  Joint Convenor, Irish Attachment in Action.

Paul Harvey Model of Attachment Practice (MAP) Project Lead, Western Health and Social Care Trust and has the lead role in developing training and attachment based practices with Looked After Children.  Paul’s background is in social work and social care.  Joint Convenor Irish Attachment in Action and is a member of Scottish Attachment in Action.

Dermot O’Callaghan Senior Psychologist in Meath HSE working with children and families to promote healthy attachment and provides training in attachment.

Peter O’Toole Support Service Manager for IFCA who seeks to address the expressed need by foster carers for more understanding of attachment related issues and appropriate training to enhance practice.

Lynne Peyton Independent Consultant to Children’s Services in ROI and NI.  Former Senior Manager in Children’s Services in Northern Ireland and former Director of NSPCC.  Regularly undertakes audits and case reviews in both jurisdictions.  Has a particular interest in tackling chronic neglect and the immediate and longer term impact of lack of secure attachment in children.

Gail Penders is a Social Worker with twenty-five years’ experience of working with children, teens and their families.  She is Centre Manager of the TUSLA Child Well Being Centre at Castleblayney.  She is a panel member of the Foster Care Committee.  She understands the significance of attachment disruption and the need children have for secure base.

Marie Dunne is Registered Mental Health Nurse with 36 years’ experience.  She has worked in a range of settings that support individuals and families in the area of mental health. Her present role is as a mental health promotion specialist working in the health improvement department in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. This role involves working across all sectors including statutory, voluntary and community in the development of mental health and emotional wellbeing through education, training and partnership working.

Christina Enright  is a Child and Family Psychotherapist, Attachment Consultant and Trainer. For over 16 years she has worked in London with extremely vulnerable children and families across a range of settings, including schools and alternative education provision.