Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) staff left to right:
Elaine Mears, Information and Statistics Officer; Terran Bell, Intern; Clíona Saidléar, Communications and Policy Director; Mary D’Arcy, Network Administrator and Financial Officer; Juley-Ann Collins, Intern; Susan Miner, Services Support Coordinator; Marianne Clifford, Intern; Caroline Counihan, Legal Director; Fiona Neary, Executive Director.
Fiona has worked for almost twenty years in the rape crisis and violence against women sectors. During this time, Fiona was a founder member of the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre, and worked in front line service delivery and development in both Mayo and Galway RCCs. As Executive Director Fiona’s role includes National Policy Initiatives across a range of Government Departments and inter-agency fora, Strategic Direction of the RCNI and on-going development of the RCNI as an organization and a network. As a member of the National Steering Committee on Violence Against Women from its inception, she has worked in partnership to bring the expertise of local Rape Crisis Centers to bear on National and International policy direction. Fiona is particularly interested in understanding, developing and building inter-agency responses.
Fiona has been the Irish Expert to the European Observatory on Violence Against Women. Previously Fiona has worked in areas of crisis pregnancy, childcare and project evaluation. She has completed a Masters Degree in Community Development as well as a Higher Diploma in Counseling Survivors of Sexual Violence.
Caroline is the latest addition to the RCNI team and is the new Legal Director where she is bringing her insight into the need to improve the system for all survivors of sexual violence to bear on RCNI policy. Caroline was called to the Bar in England and Wales in 1992 and has since practiced in mainly criminal work for both the defence and prosecution. She has also represented abused women in the family courts and dealt with immigrant cases. Caroline has been a practicing Barrister in Ireland since 1997. She has a background in languages and the social sciences with a first degree in French and German (1978, NUI Galway) and a second in Psychology (University of London, 1989).
Clíona Saidléar, PhD
Policy and Communications Director
Clíona has been the RCNI Policy and Communications Director since 2004. Her role is to facilitate internal and external policy development and communications to further the RCNI's objective of transforming society. Her work involves the development, recording and dissemination of policy positions in order to maximise lobbying and public awareness, interagency cooperation and the management of regular publications. In her role she has chaired the National Steering Committee Public Awareness Subcommittee on Violence Against Women and is currently organising the 3rd International Conference on Survivors of Rape Clíona was previously employed with a political party in Wales, Plaid Cymru, and the Royal College of Nursing after she completed her doctoral thesis with the department of International Politics in Aberystwyth. She worked for over ten years in the disability sector before that.
Network Administrator and Financial officer
Mary has been Network finance/administrator with the RCNI since May 2002. In this role she is not only responsible for financial and administration of the Network office but also all network business encompassing all our members in Ireland. She also administrated the European-wide Daphne project headed by RCNI at whose conference was formed the Rape Crisis Network Europe. Previously Mary was employed with EuroSTAR Conferences and the West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation. She has completed diplomas in Advanced Computer Skills and Community Development Practice with NUIG.
Information and Statistics Officer
Elaine became the RCNI's Information and Statistics Officer in 2008. She has completed an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law at NUIG and a B.A. in English, Media and Cultural Studies at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire. Her dissertations for both her degree and masters focused on specifically feminist issues; the first on the Irish suffrage movement, and the second on legislation and the legal process in Ireland regarding sexual violence with a view to analysing women's role within society and Ireland's international human rights obligations. Elaine has a strong background in voluntary and advocacy work, having volunteered with numerous NGOs and worked in the student's union whilst completing her degree. Her dedication to the rape crisis sector was put to the test in 2008 when she did a parachute jump for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre - a test she passed with flying colours!
The RCNI also benefits from the skilled and highly qualified services of interns, student placements and volunteers on various projects.