Host Committee

Catherine Comiskey

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin University

Professor Comiskey is the Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin University.

In 2007 Catherine was appointed by Minister of Education and Science to serve on the board of The Irish Research Council.  In 2012 the Minister for Health to Chair the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol appointed her and in 2016 she was nominated to serve on the National Drug Strategy Team.

In 2013 she was appointed by the EU to serve on the Scientific Committee of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Anita Ghafoor-Butt

Irish Family Planning Association

Anita is the Head of Education and Training for a Sexual Health and Reproductive Health and Rights NGO, the Irish Family Planning Association.

She has co-authored the Royal College of Physicians Better Sexual Health for Ireland Policy Statement: enabling informed decisions and promoting education.

Anita is currently on a secondment to the HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme and is leading on all Sexual Health Campaigns and Communications Programmes.

In her spare time, Anita is an active Board Member for

Brian Galvin

Health Research Board

Brian works for the Health Research Board (HRB) and is Head of Ireland’s National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

He manages the HRB National Drugs Library, an evidence resource for practitioners, policy makers and researchers in the drugs and alcohol field, and is Editor of Drugnet Ireland, the HRB’s quarterly drugs research and policy bulletin.

Marie Lawless

Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force

Marie is the Policy and Research Officer of Ballymun Local Drugs & Alcohol Task Force.

She has been involved in policy and research activities relating to a wide range of alcohol/drugs inter-agency initiatives that have an effect on alcohol and drug use such as community safety, poverty, homelessness and educational disadvantage.

This involves promoting evidence informed practice to enhance outcomes at client, practitioner and community level.

Hilda Loughran

School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin

Dr Hilda Loughran has worked for over 25 years in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Prior to this appointment worked in Stanhope alcohol services.

She has remained involved in practice through her work on Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused work, specifically in the field of drug and alcohol use.

Her research includes alcohol and drugs policy and practice and brief interventions. Her publications include an edited book ‘Substance use in social work education and training’.

Helen McAvoy

Institute of Public Health in Ireland

Dr. Helen McAvoy graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a primary medical degree in 1997. She now works as Director of Policy with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH).

IPH facilitate the development of the North South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group and contribute to the development of research and policy to reduce alcohol-related harm in the context of the wider public health frameworks Healthy Ireland and Making Life Better.

Brian Roberts

Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau

Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts is attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

He has worked in the area of drug policing for 20 years and represents An Garda Siochana (Irish Police) on a number of groups of the Irish National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA).

He is a member of Europol’s expert group on New Psychoactive Substances and is keenly involved in the development of harm reduction measures in Ireland from a policing perspective.

Anna Quigley

Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign


Anna is co-ordinator of Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign, a network of community organisations involved in responding to the serious drugs problem in Ireland.

A core part of the work is organising and facilitating local, regional and national networks that provide a voice for the communities most affected by drugs and participating as a community representative on national government structures that oversee Ireland’s national drugs strategy.

Anna is currently a member of the National Co-ordinating Committee on Drugs and represents Citywide on the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs. She is also a member of the National Steering Committee that is currently working on the development of the next National Drugs Strategy in Ireland.

Gerard Farrell


Gerard is Director of Operations for DublinTown – the city’s Business Improvement District (BID). The organisation is charged with the promotion of Dublin city centre as a destination of choice for shopping and socialising.

Gerard was the coordinator for Dublin’s successful application for Purple Flag status, an award that recognises excellence in the management of the night time economy.

Gerard has represented DublinTown on a number of important committees, including the “Better City for All” report implementation group set up to deal with drug-related antisocial behaviour as well as and the Garda’s National Strategic Retail forum.

Fiona Lyons

GUIDE clinic, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin

Dr Fiona Lyons is a consultant in Genitourinary/HIV Medicine at the GUIDE clinic, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin. She is also the current Clinical Lead in Sexual Health, working with the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme on implementation of Ireland’s first national Sexual Health Strategy. 

Fiona qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 1992 and trained initially in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and completed her training in Genitourinary/HIV medicine in 2004. Her special interests include HIV in women; pregnancy and marginalised groups.

In her current clinical lead role, she has a particular interest in models of STI service delivery.