John is a professionally qualified social worker who moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland in 2013.
After graduating from the University of Glasgow with the degree of Master of Arts with Honours in 1977, John started a 36 year professional career in social work practice and management in Scotland. He completed his professional training in social work at the University of Oxford, graduating with the degree of Master of Science in Applied Social Studies in 1981. In addition to his professional qualification in social work, John completed executive management training at the University of Strathclyde, graduating with the degree of Master of Business Administration in 1993.
During the course of his professional career in social work, John worked for a number of local authorities in Scotland, culminating with the post of Director of Social Work and statutory Chief Social Work Officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council from 2007 until his retirement from public service in 2013. After moving to Northern Ireland, John worked as an independent social worker and adviser to public bodies and not for profit organisations. He also served on the committee of the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers from 2015 until 2017, when he retired from social work practice. His professional interests and expertise relate to supports and services for disabled adults, accounting for more than half of his social work career.
Between 1997 and 2016, John served as a trustee of a Scottish voluntary organisation which supports men and women with a learning disability to live independently with support in the community.
Larry has been General Secretary of the Financial Services Union (FSU) since
2001. He was educated at CBS Crumlin and subsequently graduated from UCD with
an Honours B.Comm degree and a Masters degree in Industrial Relations/
Personnel Management. He worked initially as a union official in the Irish Transport
and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), now SIPTU, up to 1984, when he joined the
Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA), now FSU, as Assistant General Secretary.
Larry is a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Executive
Committee and is also a member of the UNI Europa Finance Steering Group.
Des Coppins is a retired public servant. Educated at the Dublin Institute of
Technology (formerly Bolton Street) and Trinity College, Dublin, Des worked in
central government including the Department of the Environment and Local
Government, the Taoiseach’s Department, the Department of Finance and joined
the Department of Transport when it was set up in 2002. In Transport he oversaw
the development of the first sectoral plan (under the 2005 Disability Act 2005) to
make all forms of public transport more accessible to people with disabilities. He
went on to oversee the successful roll-out of the first phase of the plan and just prior
to his retirement saw the plan revised with a firm set of targets, timelines and
budgets to make public transport universally accessible.
Fergal Rooney is a practicing Counselling Psychologist. He is currently lead clinician
with Psychological Services for Healthy Relationships and Sexuality at St. John of
God Hospital, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. He has a particular interest in lifespan
development, intellectual disability and sexuality, and the role of internet in sexual
Fergal has maintained his interest in working with people with intellectual disability
throughout his career, and has engaged with and supported people with intellectual
disability who have presented with psychosexual and/or forensic related needs. He
has also worked with community and prison based forensic services, with particular
focus on working with people who have carried out sexual offences. He has been
instrumental in devising and delivering a range of assessment and therapeutic
programmes for the Irish Prison Service, The Probation Service of Ireland and
community therapeutic services. He has conducted prize-winning research in this
area, and he has presented his work at national and international conferences.
Fergal values opportunities to promote good clinical practice in responding to
psychosexual needs. He lectures on the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology
programme at Trinity College Dublin, he provides frequent workshops and seminars
for healthcare professionals, and he provides clinical supervision to a range of
professionals who work with forensic therapeutic services.