Colm O’Gorman is Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, he has held this position since February 2007. He previously worked as a psychotherapist and was the founder and former Director of One in Four, the national non-governmental organisation that supports women and men who have experienced sexual violence. In this role Colm was instrumental in the establishment of the Ferns Inquiry, the first state investigation into clerical sexualabuse. He has been widely credited with bringing an objective and pioneering approach to the sensitive and challenging issues around the Irish experience of sexual violence. His work as a human rights defender is driven by a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and an abiding belief in the power of advocacy and activism, which challenges all of us to use our individual and collective voices to demand change where it is most needed. Colm served as a member of Seanad Éireann and is also the author of the best-selling memoir, Beyond Belief.


Maeve LewisExecutive Director of One in Four, a Dublin-based non-government organisation that provides counselling and advocacy services to men and women who have been sexually abused in childhood. and offers a treatment programme for sex offenders. One in Four is also a campaigning organisation, working to ensure that the needs of sexual abuse survivors are met in the criminal and civil justice processes and in the area of child protection. A psychotherapist for over 20 years, Maeve specializes in psychological trauma. She has extensive experience in the field of sexual violence, and has also worked in post-conflict situations in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone training local professionals as trauma counsellors.


Bruce ArnoldAuthor of The Irish Gulag: How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children (2009), an account of the Industrial School and Reformatory School system in Ireland and of the State programme of recompense and reconciliation initiated by Bertie Ahern in 1999. Arnold has published over twenty-three books, and currently serves as the Chief Critic of The Irish Independent, writing about art, theatre, music, and politics. In 2003, the honour of Officer of the British Empire was bestowed upon Arnold for his services to journalism and Anglo-Irish relations. Arnold is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an honourary academician of the Royal Hibernian Academy.


Journalist and Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times since 1997, Patsy McGarry has written many articles on the clergy sexual abuse scandal. It is because of journalists like Patsy that the lid was blown off Irish clergy abuse and cover-ups. He is a seasoned journalist having reporting for Magill magazine, the Irish Press, the Irish Independent, and Sunday Independent. He has authored three books, the most recent being a biography of former President Mary McAleese (2008). McGarry frequently appears on local radio as well as national and international radio and TV in connection with Irish religious affairs. He was awarded a national journalism award for political comment and analysis in 1993, and the European religion writer of the year award in 1998. (edited collection of essays on Christianity in 2001)


Pam Spees is a senior staff attorney in the international human rights program at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has a background in international criminal and human rights law with a gender focus, as well as criminal trial practice. She serves as lead counsel on in the legal effort to hold Vatican officials criminally responsible for the crimes against humanity of rape and sexual violence within the church. Prior to joining CCR, served as Program Director of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice, an international advocacy network dedicated to ensuring accountability for crimes of sexual and gender violence included in the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. She now serves as an advisor to the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (formerly the Women’s Caucus), which is now based in The Hague, to monitor the Court and continue the advocacy for accountability for gender-based violence. She also serves on the board of MADRE, a 30-year-old organization that works to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face.


Pat WallPatrick Wall is a canon lawyer and a former Benedictine Monk. After working as a “fixer” in the church, dealing with the aftermath of sexually abusive priests in parishes and schools, Wall left the priesthood, finding that the only way that abuse survivors would get the help and healing they needed was outside of the church hierarchy. Wall has consulted on more than 200 cases of clergy sex abuse and is a leading advocate for survivors.


 Marco PolitiMr. Politi is a Papal biographer and Vatican affairs analyst for the roman daily newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano”. For almost two decades Marco was a Vatican correspondent with “La Repubblica”, and he is the religion expert with “Il Messaggero”, since 1972. He has covered 4 conclaves and followed John Paul II and Benedict XVI on 80 trips all over the world. Marco and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein wrote the international best-selling biography of John Paul II. After his November 2004 exclusive interview with Joseph Ratzinger, he predicted the German cardinal would be the secret candidate to the papal throne. His latest book “Joseph Ratzinger. Crisis of a papacy“ (Joseph Ratzinger. Crisi di un papato – Laterza 2011) focuses on the loss of leadership of Benedict XVI, which eventually brought him to his resignation. He is regularly interviewed by ABC, CNN, CBC, NBC, PBS, BBC, RAI, ZDF and other European and Latin-American networks. During the period between 1987-1993 he was a foreign correspondent in Moscow, where he founded the first Foreign Press Association in the USSR


Paddy DoyleHe has recently been appointed by the Government as a member of the Memorial Committee to Survivors of Child Abuse. His appointment follows a recommendation of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, that a memorial be established to the memory of children who were abused, physically, sexually, psychologically and emotionally while in the care of Religious Orders and the Irish State. Paddy is one of Irelands leading activists for people with disabilities and child abuse. He has traveled across Europe and the US raising awareness on these important issues. He frequently contributes to TV, radio, and print media on a variety of issues, including the church’s role in caring for children. Paddy is the author of the best-selling book The God Squad, which has been published in many different languages.


Mari SteedThe daughter of a Magdalene survivor, Steed was adopted to the United States from Ireland, and is mother to a daughter also relinquished to adoption in the U.S. She has since been reunited with her mother, daughter, and extended family. Mari has worked in adoption activism for nearly twenty years, collaborating with rights groups such as AdoptionIreland, as well as Bastard Nation and Adopted Citizens of Eire (ACE) in the US. She provided testimony to the United States ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, and co-founded Justice for Magdalenes in 2003. Mari is currently the Director of Technology and New Media at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.


Tom DoyleTom Doyle is a Dominican priest. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and five separate master’s degrees. Tom served at the Vatican Embassy between 1981 and 1986 and while there he became directly involved with the clergy sex abuse case of former Fr. Gilbert Gauthe that received national publicity. After leaving the embassy he joined the U.S Air Force and served as a chaplain for almost 19 years. Tom worked with Ray Mouton and the late Fr. Michael Peterson, M.D., to compose the report on the problem of sexual abuse by clergy that served as the notice to the Vatican and to the U.S. bishops about the grave nature of the sexual abuse by clergy. He has served as an expert witness and consultant in criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S., in Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands and Israel. He has also done expert and consultant work with grand juries in the U.S., with the three investigative commissions in Ireland and with the Cornwall Commission in Canada. He has spoken before the State legislatures of several States and the District of Columbia in favor of statutory reform. In 2010 Tom was invited to address the Belgian parliament as part of that country’s response to the revelations of widespread cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy.


 Juan Carlos CruzJuan Carlos CruzIn 2009, together with James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, Juan Carlos came forward with his story of abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima, an emblematic priest in Chilean society. Born in Santiago, Chile, Juan Carlos studied journalism and worked in several newsrooms before moving to the United States in 2000, where he has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as their corporate communications executive. In April 2010, Cruz’s story broke in the New York Times, forever changing the dominance and cover-up of abuse in the Chilean Catholic Church. Because of his courage, other victims have felt empowered to come forward. Two best-selling books have been written about this case, and a movie is currently in the works.


Marie CollinsMarie Collins has campaigned for the protection of children and justice for survivors of clerical sexual abuse since bringing her own priest abuser to justice in 1997. A founder member of the Irish depression support group, “Aware,” she set up their voluntary Helpline service and later became a founding director of One in Four, Ireland. With other survivors, Marie lobbied the Irish government for the setting up of the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese – the Murphy Commission – which issued its report in November 2009. In 2010 Marie was one of the joint recipients of the Irish Humbert Summer School award for Courage. Marie has spoken about her experience as a victim of clerical sexual abuse at a number of international conferences including the symposium on child sexual abuse held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in February, 2012. She is a founder Trustee of the Marie Collins Foundation, a UK NGO dedicated to the needs of children, young people and their families for whom sexual abuse and harm has arisen via the internet and mobile technologies.


Sandra FernauSandra Fernau is a Sociologist from Wiesbaden, Germany. She studied Sociology at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt on the Main. Minor fields of study: Social Psychology, Psychoanalysis and Political Science. With a focus on the staging of 9/11 terrorist attacks in American cinema: A depth hermeneutic analysis of the film ‘World Trade Center’ She is currently a scholarship holder at the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony. Her current project is “The sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male members of religious orders in the German Bishops’ Conference” (qualitative component)


mannixsmallcropCllr Mannix Flynn, New Independent Councillor for Dublin South East Inner City will be the facilitator for this conference and is also performing his play ‘James X’ on Friday evening, open to all.

Artwork Header by David Quinn©

2 thoughts on “Speakers

  1. Looks likely to be a great Conference. Wish I could be there. Ireland has come a long way since I set up and chaired the enquiry into incest in Ireland under the aegis of the then ICCL in 1984/85. That was the first public investigation ever in Ireland and the Dept of Health put many strings on their financial supportbincluding not talking to any childrens’ Homes, police, soldiers or priests! Clodagh Corcoran.

    Ps. The term ‘child sexual abuse’ came into being durning the enquiry and replaced the term incest.

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