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The Older People’s Empowerment Network (OPEN) is a working group composed of peer representatives of older people as well as members of the NCPOP research team. The group was founded with the purpose of developing the Keep Control Campaign and continues to promote the campaign to support older people to be empowered against all forms of elder abuse, particularly elder financial abuse. OPEN emphasises the strengths, resources, rights and responsibilities of older people to safeguard their own well-being and happiness.

The founding members of OPEN are:

Thelma Doran is a retired Irish diplomat. She is particularly interested in issues concerning the elderly, and was a volunteer for several years with the Senior Helpline. She is a founder member and co-ordinator of a voluntary group in her parish, which provides a friend from the parish to visit those who are housebound, sick or living alone.

Carmel Downes is a research assistant in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, TCD.  She worked in the NCPOP from 2012-2014, during which time she contributed to a programme of research into elder abuse. She assisted in the development of the Keep Control campaign and remains a member of OPEN.

Mary McCarthy is a psychologist and a member of the NCPOP User Group. At present, she is a volunteer with Age Action Ireland where she is involved in projects on elder abuse, inter-generational solidarity, advocacy and the wellbeing of older people. She previously worked in Trinity College on EU research projects relating to social inclusion, mental health and older people.

Dr Deirdre O’Donnell is a Lecturer in Health Systems in UCD, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. Her research interests include later life well-being and happiness as well as empowerment and elder abuse prevention and intervention. She is the NCPOP Principle Investigator on the Keep Control campaign.

Patrick A. Sheehan is a Solicitor and advocate for victims of elder financial abuse and probate fraud. He is a retired Civil Servant and a former Lecturer (2007-2011) on the topic of Legislation to HSE Staff undertaking FETAC level 5 qualifications.

Dr Niall Tierney is enjoying retirement. He is the former Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health and also the former chairman of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Niamh Walker is a retired second level teacher of English and History living in Tallaght and has six grandchildren. She was active in the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland serving as branch officer, and on a number of special interest committees. Upon retirement she became involved with Older and Bolder where she was a member of the media panel. She continues to be interested in maintaining and improving quality of life, services and entitlements for senior citizens. She has a special interest in advance planning for senior years and end of life.


If you have not already registered with OPEN you can register here.

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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