We are a team of dedicated professionals.
Since 1994, Sally worked as coordinator and later director of a charity for older Irish people, called the Irish Elderly Advice Network. Offering advice, support and information to older Irish people living in the UK, Sally and her staff have transformed the lives of thousands of people.
Sally was born in a mother-and-baby home, and spent her childhood in an industrial school in Ireland. In her late teens, she moved to London to be reunited with her mother. Starting out as a filing clerk at the London Electricity Board in east London, she stayed there for 9 years until she moved to a job as a admin assistant in Islington council.
Between 1971 and 1994 Sally worked throughout for Islington Council. During this time Sally became involved in the Trade Union movement and became a very active shop steward, representing mostly low-paid female workers, working in an environment where women fought hard to address discrimination of a most basic kind, such as discrimination in promotion and pay. Sally was involved in the Islington Council’s legendary women’s committee, where in the late 1970s and early 1980s under the leadership of Margaret Hodge MP, the maternity and paternity rights of workers became the envy of local government workers in Tory boroughs.
Sally was involved in international issues such as the anti-apartheid movement, the Chile solidarity movement, the Northern Irish civil rights movement and in the 1980s, with the Miner’s strikes. Sally successfully negotiated with the leader of Islington Council to provide shelter at the town hall for striking miners’ partners when they came to demonstrate at Downing Street.
Sally throughout her working life maintained an affectionate connection with the Irish Centre in Camden, where she has worked on a voluntary basis and later in a professional capacity, for the past 40 years. It is in this context that Sally became involved in the campaign for justice for the Magdalene Laundry women.
Sally - alongside Phyllis Morgan - has been integral to the development and growth of IWSSN. After watching the ground-breaking ‘States of Fear’ documentary series by the late Mary Raftery that brought harrowing Survivor-stories of institutional care to the fore, Sally co-founded the Women’s Group in 2001. The group provided much needed support, advice and companionship to Survivors living in Britain. Sally has given evidence to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and subsequent inquiries, and has been recognised for her efforts in gathering extensive evidence from individual Survivors.
Sally and the other trustees later founded the Irish Women Survivors Support Network and secured the Irish Government’s agreement to fund five Survivor outreach services in Britain, at a time when no such services existed. In recognition of the decades of work with the Irish community living in the UK, Sally was appointed as a member of the Irish President’s Council of State in 2012. Sally Mulready is also an elected Labour Party Councillor in Chatham Ward in the London Borough of Hackney - first elected in 1997. Sally was also the Speaker of Hackney from 2010 to 2011.
Marie has had a career in financial management and business development. Spending her early years in Irish institutional care, Marie retains memories - good and bad - of life under the care of the religious orders. When Marie was released from the institutions, she came to Dublin, and like many before her, found life in Dublin without family and close friends that you could trust, very lonely. With a lack of any real opportunities for employment for a young girl straight out of institutional care, Marie at just 21 moved to London, with support from former residents of institutional care.
Marie was resourceful and as she moved from one bedsit to another in Cricklewood and Kilburn, experienced a variety of challenges from landladies who could be very cold and indifferent to Marie and young women like her. Nevertheless, Marie had ambition and aspiration and wanted to get on, so was astounded at being offered a job in central London in commercial finance, which is an industry she remained in for her whole working life.
Marie settled down to married life and had a family of 3 children and now 3 grandchildren. Seeing her children grow up and spending precious time with them was very important to Marie. As a mother, Marie wanted her children to grow up without prejudice and with a good social conscience gained from her own experience. She constantly encouraged her children to do well by others and to think of the best in others.
Marie was one of the founders of the IWSSN and amid her own good fortune as a happily married mother of three, Marie felt deeply that too many Survivors were struggling, were unhappy and felt quite lost in society. Marie all the time encouraged many women Survivors to come into the fold, to be part of the Women’s Group and engage with a supportive and positive network. Marie is now a trustee and treasurer for IWSSN and uses her financial and business skills to enhance the performance of the organisation. With Survivors now entering their later years, Marie firmly believes that the outreach support IWSSN provides is vital for their quality of life.
Since her birth, Tina lived in various institutions run by the religious congregations. When she turned 16, Tina was sent to work in a stationary and confectionary shop in County Mayo. After this job, Tina applied for nursing in London through a friend, and arrived in London in 1968. Working in Mumford as a health care assistant, Tina was accepted to train as a nurse in Whittington Hospital in 1969. After qualifying, Tina worked for the elderly for over 16 years. In 1976, Tina married and went on to have three children.
Tina began a new role in district nursing in 1978 and then moved into practice nursing in 1990. Tina is still working full-time and is based in a GP practice in Caledonian Road, London. Meeting many inspiring and wonderful people, Tina has loved her time as a nurse in the UK.
Tina got involved in the Women’s Group from the early days of its existence - she enjoyed helping to connect the Survivor community in London and making friends with people who had walked similar paths in life. Tina stood to become a trustee several years ago as she felt very passionately about ensuring Survivors who have struggled all of their lives, got access to support they need - whatever form that takes. It’s important to Tina that Survivors know that they can trust IWSSN to take a stand for them.
Betsy was born in Inchicore, Dublin but was sent to Summerhill industrial school at 18 months old. From then on, Betsy spent all of her childhood in the Irish institutional care system, run by the religious congregations. At 16, Betsy left the industrial school and decided to start a new life in the UK. Moving to Langley, England, Betsy lived with her mother and her new family.
Betsy worked in retail for several years, and was eventually taken care of by one of her colleagues who invited Betsy to live with her and her family. Betsy remembers this time in her life fondly, as she was made to feel like part of a real family for the first time in her life.
Working in Vauxhall, Luton in the mid-1960s, Betsy met and married her husband and we went on to have two children. While bringing up her family, she worked a number of jobs including cleaning and factory work. On return to full time work, Betsy changed career to be a carer for elderly dementia patients in residential homes. Betsy did this for 10 years before switching to care for adults with learning difficulties and has been doing this for over 13 years until retirement. Betsy finds this work extremely rewarding, and despite being retired, she still does some shift work now.
Betsy joined IWSSN’s trustee board because felt that she could be a voice for other survivors that aren’t able to communicate their issues or have not yet dealt with their past.