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Who We Are?

Women for Europe founders Michelle O'Donnell Keating and Niamh Gallagher Women For Europe a growing network of women in Ireland who passionately believe that Europe is a good thing for Irish women. We have come together to campaign for a Yes vote to the Lisbon treaty next October. Women’s voices were absent on the Yes side last time. Issues of interest and concern to women did not feature in the mainstream debate. This time, we want to make sure that things are different.

Women For Europe knows that Irish women have benefited enormously from Ireland’s membership of the EU. Yet, 56% of those that voted no to Lisbon last time were women. To us, this does not add up.

Women for Europe will spend the summer and autumn speaking to women and for women in Ireland about their experience of Europe, and their concerns about Lisbon. We will provide clear, accessible information on the treaty and exactly what it does and does not do. We want to take discussion about the treaty into women’s homes, lives and workplaces. This time, the debate should be about real issues, not mis-information and confusion.

Women for Europe – Join Us

Women for Europe is looking for women across the country to join our campaign. The more women who talk to family, friends and colleagues about the treaty and about Irish women’s experiences of Europe, the better our campaign will be. If you are interested in joining us or finding out more then please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or use the JOIN button and join our campaign

Women for Europe – Our Supporters

Many women prominent in Irish public lfe have given their support, including among others:

Maeve Binchy, Deirdre Purcell,  Kathleen Fahy of Ruhama, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, Miriam Hederman O’Brien, Sylvia Meehan, Carmel Naughton, Frances Ruane and former Lord Mayor of Dublin Eibhlin Byrne

Women for Europe – Our Team

Olive Braiden
Olive Braiden has worked in the voluntary and community sectors for over 20 years. She was Director of the Rape Crisis Centre for 10 years. She has been involved in campaigns for legislative reforms in areas of women's rights. She commissioned groundbreaking research in the area of rape and child sexual abuse. She secured State funding to establish training programmes for community workers in the former Yugoslavia and Kosova during and after the conflict in that region.
In August 2003 she was appointed Chair of the Arts Council. She is a Human Rights Commissioner, a Guardian of the National Gallery of Ireland and a member of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board. She was the establishing Chair of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. She has served on many Government Working Parties and Steering Committees. In 2006, Olive was appointed by the Minister for Finance to the Public Service Benchmarking Body and by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism to the London 2012 Olympics Task Force.
A native of Sligo, Olive is a mother and grandmother. She has lived in Spain, France, Belgium, UK, Bahamas and Thailand. She holds an M.Phil in Gender Studies from Trinity College. She was awarded a Doctor of Laws in University College Dublin in 2008.
Olive is the Chair of Women for Europe.

Niamh Gallagher

Niamh Gallagher is Research and Policy Analyst at the Children’s Rights Alliance in Dublin. As part of her work she represents the Alliance at Social Partnership, on the End Child Poverty Coalition, and at Eurochild, where she is Chair of the Policy Working Group. Before joining the Alliance Niamh was a researcher at Demos, one of the UK’s leading think tanks. There her research focused specifically on public services, looking at issues of disability, youth services, education and family. She co-authored a series of Demos reports, including ‘Making it Personal’ looking at the future of Social Care in the UK with Charles Leadbeater. Niamh also worked closely with UK local authorities supporting them to co-design new local education services with local people.

Niamh holds a Masters Degree in Politics from the London School of Economics and a BA in European Studies from Trinity College Dublin. She is the co-founder of the Women for Europe Campaign with Michelle O’Donnell Keating.

Michelle O'Donnell Keating

Michelle has been an activist for Europe since the NICE II Referendum when she worked as part of a civil society campaign group Ireland for Europe which successfully campaigning for a YES vote. Michelle was also part of an Irish delegation & research team, organised by former MEP Mary Banotti, which visited Poland on their accession to the EU. She is also an active member and promoter of the European Movement Ireland

A native of Waterford, Michelle is an IT Project Manager & Analyst for a consultancy group Enovation Solutions Ltd. Previously Michelle worked abroad in the UK & Australia and has travelled extensively throughout Asia-Pacific, Egypt & Europe. Michelle and her husband Adam have a 2-year old son called Isaac.

In early 2009 Michelle co-founded the Women for Europe Campaign with Niamh Gallagher.

Billie Sparks
Billie is the Campaign Co-ordinator at Women for Europe. She graduated with a BA Hons. in History and Politics, having spent a year studying in the University of Cologne. She went on to study law and qualified as a solicitor in 2009.
Billie has been involved with voluntary and community projects for many years including Special Olympics Ireland, Ballymum Community Law Centre and the DePaul Trust. Billie now volunteers with Free Legal Aid Centres once a month.

Caitríona McDonagh

Caitríona is a Barrister based in Dublin. She has a keen interest in European affairs and Ireland's current role in the EU. She is the Policy Team Leader of Women for Europe.

Caitríona is a member of the European Movement Ireland and sits on its Advisory Council. She is also an active member of Lawyers for Europe.

Colette Douglas

Colette was one of the founding members of the Progressive Democrats in 1985 and has twenty five years of experience of political campaigning at local and national level.

Colette has worked on all six General Election campaigns since 1985 in the Dublin South Constituency. She worked for six months at the Department of Foreign Affairs as PA to Minister Liz O’Donnell in the run up to the 2002 General Election.

Colette was Director of Elections for Fiona O’Malley TD at the 2007 General Election and is now Team Leader of the Networks Group in Women for Europe.

Sally O’Neill

Sally is a mother and grandmother from Dublin. She has been working in Project Management with various companies and charities for more than twenty years.

Sally has a keen interest in working towards getting the Lisbon Treaty passed in Ireland and is part of the fundraising team in Women for Europe.

Michelle Mahon

Michelle is the Corporate Responsibility Manager for Tesco Ireland. Michelle has a strong interest in European Affairs and felt that the Pro-Lisbon Debate wasn’t communicated accurately in Lisbon I.

Michelle is from Dublin and is part of the fundraising team for Women for Europe.

Paula Cooney

Paula volunteers on a number of committees providing marketing and PR expertise for the benefit of charitable causes including the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. A native of Dublin, Paula currently works for O2.

Paula is part of the team organising and co-ordinating Women for Europe events all across the country.

Women for Europe – About Us

Women for Europe Limited is a guarantee company without a share capital (public), registered in Ireland.

Company number: 473438

Registered office:

84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2