Research Profile

Fiachra Ó'Súilleabháin

Biography

Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin is a professionally qualified, CORU registered Social Worker since 2002.  He teaches across a number of modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level within the School. He lectures on gender and sexualities, LGBT+ matters, social services and welfare practice, child sexual abuse, child protection and welfare, and professional practice. He supervises research carried out by students at post-graduate level.

Fiachra works as part of the multi-disciplinary Master of Social Work Team delivering a professionally-accredited, two-year taught postgraduate (MSW/PGDSWS) programme to students who wish to become social workers. On that specific programme, he teaches and mentors students’ practice skills and lectures on research methods, investigative interviewing, child protection and welfare and professional practice. Fiachra is the MSW Selection Co-ordinator along with Dr. Kenneth Burns, MSW Deputy Director.

Fiachra’s doctoral degree, awarded in 2011, examined for the first time the parenting experiences of gay men in Ireland. In addition to publications, he has delivered papers and seminars at conferences both nationally and internationally regarding child sexual abuse, LGBT+ issues and social work practice.  He is actively involved in research about the experiences of trans youth in Ireland; social work practice in the area of alleged sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviour; activism in social work; and social work education. 

Fiachra has extensive practice experience. He was the manager of a regional multi-disciplinary child sexual abuse assessment unit within the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA) from 2009 to 2017. Prior to that he worked in the same agency as a Principal Social Worker and as Basic Grade Social Worker. He also has professional knowledge of child protection and fostering social work practice. Fiachra has provided a range of continuous professional development training to social workers, social care leaders, medical doctors, nurses, teachers and foster-carers about child sexual abuse, direct work with children and managing children with sexualised behaviour problems, and talking with children and young people about sensitive matters. He was a member of the TUSLA Cork Foster Care Committee in Cork from September 2010 to December 2016. 

Fiachra is a member of a number of practice advisory boards and action learning groups for social work organisations, provides social work consultancy to practitioners and serves on Boards of Directors of a number of community-based organisations.

Research Interests

My overall research interests have centred on sexual behaviours, GLBTQI issues and investigative interviewing practices in the context of child protection and welfare.

Publications

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2014)'Vigilant dads: exploring gay men’s parenting experiences in contemporary Ireland'
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2014) 'Vigilant dads: exploring gay men’s parenting experiences in contemporary Ireland' In: Maire Leane and Elizabeth Kiely (eds). Sexualities and Irish Society. Dublin: Orpen Press. [Details]
(2008)'Interviewing children and young people as a part of the child protection process'
Bradshaw, T. and Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2008) 'Interviewing children and young people as a part of the child protection process' In: Kenneth Burns and Deborah Lynch (eds). Child Protection and Welfare Social Work: Contemporary Themes and Practice Perspectives. Dublin: A & A Farmer. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2017)'Expanding “Irish Family” Repertoires: Exploring Gay Men's Experiences as Parents in the Republic of Ireland'
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2017) 'Expanding “Irish Family” Repertoires: Exploring Gay Men's Experiences as Parents in the Republic of Ireland'. The Journal of GLBT Family Studies, [Details]
(2014)'Victimisation and psychosocial difficulties associated with sexual orientation concerns: A school-based study of Irish adolescents'
Cotter, P., Corcoran, P, McCarthy, J., Ó Súilleabháin, F., Carli, V., Hoven, C., Wasserman, C., Sarchiapone, M. Wasserman, D. and Keely, H. (2014) 'Victimisation and psychosocial difficulties associated with sexual orientation concerns: A school-based study of Irish adolescents'. Irish Medical Journal, 107 (10):310-314 [Details]

Book Reviews

 YearPublication
(2016)Book Review of T. Mc Carthy (2015), The Common-Sense Guide to Improving the Safeguarding of Children Three Steps to Make A Real Difference Book.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2016) Book Review of T. Mc Carthy (2015), The Common-Sense Guide to Improving the Safeguarding of Children Three Steps to Make A Real Difference Book. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
(2006)Book Review of T. Hafford-Letchfield, (2006). Management and Organisations in Social Work.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2006) Book Review of T. Hafford-Letchfield, (2006). Management and Organisations in Social Work. Book Reviews [Details]

Presentation

 YearPublication
(2015)Young People with Risky Sexual Behaviours: Responses of Child Protection Social Workers in Ireland.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2015) Young People with Risky Sexual Behaviours: Responses of Child Protection Social Workers in Ireland. Auckland, New Zealand: Presentation [Details]
(2012)Same-sex Adoption in Ireland.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2012) Same-sex Adoption in Ireland. Cork, Ireland: Presentation [Details]
(2011)Gay Adoption in Ireland.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2011) Gay Adoption in Ireland. Cork, Ireland: Presentation [Details]

Thesis/Dissertation

 YearPublication
(2011)‘Stepping Out': An Examination of Gay Men’s Parenting Experiences of Parenting in Contemporary Ireland.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2011) ‘Stepping Out': An Examination of Gay Men’s Parenting Experiences of Parenting in Contemporary Ireland. Thesis/Dissertation [Details]

Reviews

 YearPublication
(2016)Family Centre Annual Report 2015.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2016) Family Centre Annual Report 2015. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2015)Family Centre Annual Report 2014.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2015) Family Centre Annual Report 2014. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2014)Family Centre Annual Report 2013.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2014) Family Centre Annual Report 2013. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2013)Family Centre Annual Report 2012.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2013) Family Centre Annual Report 2012. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2012)Family Centre Annual Report 2011.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2012) Family Centre Annual Report 2011. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2011)Family Centre Annual Report 2010.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2011) Family Centre Annual Report 2010. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]
(2010)Family Centre Annual Report 2009.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2010) Family Centre Annual Report 2009. Cork, Ireland: Reviews [Details]

Practice Guideline

 YearPublication
(2015)Family Centre Clinical Staff Induction Manual (3rd edit.) TUSLA.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2015) Family Centre Clinical Staff Induction Manual (3rd edit.) TUSLA. Cork, Ireland: Practice Guideline [Details]
(2015)Child Sexual Abuse Assessment: Case Analysis Too.
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2015) Child Sexual Abuse Assessment: Case Analysis Too. Cork, Ireland: Practice Guideline [Details]
(2015)Family Centre Policies and Procedures Document (28th edit.) TUSLA: Family Centre, Cork.
Ó Súilleabháin, F., Geraghty, F., Collender, J., Hudner, R., Mc, Donnell, R. and Rohan, J. (2015) Family Centre Policies and Procedures Document (28th edit.) TUSLA: Family Centre, Cork. Practice Guideline [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2001O'Connor Scholarship University College Cork

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) Member Member/
BASPCAN Member Member/
CORU Registered Licensed Social Worker/

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2018)All Ireland Social Work Educators' Forum,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2018) Breaking the Binary: Trans and Gender Non-Binary Youth. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], All Ireland Social Work Educators' Forum, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland , 11-JAN-18 - 12-JAN-18. [Details]
(2018)Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development (SWSD) 2018,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. & O' Sullivan, G. (2018) Social workers’ perceptions of current child protection risk in the assessment of historical sexual abuse allegations in the Irish Context. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development (SWSD) 2018, RDS, Dublin, Ireland , 04-JUL-18 - 07-JUL-18. [Details]
(2018)Social Work and Sexualities International Conference Sexualities, genders and intersectionalities: Expanding contemporary social work issues,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2018) Navigating Heterosexist Systems: Gay Fathers’ Experiences in the Republic of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Social Work and Sexualities International Conference Sexualities, genders and intersectionalities: Expanding contemporary social work issues, University of Montreal, Canada , 09-AUG-18 - 10-AUG-18. [Details]
(2018)BASPCAN Congress,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2018) Assessing Sexual Abuse Allegations of Pre-School-Aged Children in the Republic of Irelan. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], BASPCAN Congress, University of Warwick, UK , 08-APR-18 - 11-APR-18. [Details]
(2018)IASW SWAMH SIG Conference: Psychosocial Interventions in Social Work,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2018) Social Work's Core Therapeutic Skills. [Keynote Speaker], IASW SWAMH SIG Conference: Psychosocial Interventions in Social Work, St. Patrick's University Hospital, Steeven's Lane, Dublin , 13-APR-18 - 13-APR-18. [Details]
(2018)32nd Conference of Irish Historians,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2018) 'Coming out, letting go': Gay fathers' narratives in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 32nd Conference of Irish Historians, University College Cork , 26-APR-18 - 28-APR-18. [Details]
(2017)15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. & Geraghty, F. (2017) Allegations of sexual abuse in pre-schoolers in Ireland:  Pre-screening the communication skills of very young children. [Poster Presentation], 15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, The Hague, Netherlands , 01-OCT-17 - 04-OCT-17. [Details]
(2017)15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect,
Campbell, K. & Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2017) Developing a Service Design Model to Support front-line practitioners in identifying and responding to service needs - with a particular focus on adolescents presenting with problematic sexualised behaviour. [Oral Presentation], 15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, The Hague, Netherlands , 01-OCT-17 - 04-OCT-17. [Details]
(2017)6th Biennial National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference,
Campbell, K. & Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2017) Supporting evidence informed service development through action learning. [Oral Presentation], 6th Biennial National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference, Cork, Ireland , 27-OCT-17 - 27-OCT-17. [Details]
(2017)15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect,
O’Sullivan, G. & Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2017) Developing a model for the assessment of historical allegations of CSA from a safeguarding perspective . [Oral Presentation], 15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, the Hague, Netherlands , 01-OCT-17 - 04-OCT-17. [Details]
(2017)6th Biennial National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference,
O’Sullivan, G., Ó Súilleabháin, F., Hartnett, G. & Noonan, T. (2017) Developing a Social Work Response to Historical Abuse. [Oral Presentation], 6th Biennial National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference, Cork, Ireland , 27-OCT-17 - 27-OCT-17. [Details]
(2017)Urban Space and the Body: An International Conference of the Cross-Disciplinary Urban Space” Network,
Leane, M. & Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2017) Transgender and gender non-conforming youth: Negotiating personal identities in urban spaces. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Urban Space and the Body: An International Conference of the Cross-Disciplinary Urban Space” Network, Cork, Ireland , 09-JUN-17 - 10-JUN-17. [Details]
(2016)DCU Socio-Legal Research Centre Law and Society Biennial Conference State Accountability for Vulnerability,
Leane, M. & Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2016) Transgender Children And Young People In Ireland: Socio-Legal Challenges to Self-Expression of Gender,. [Oral Presentation], DCU Socio-Legal Research Centre Law and Society Biennial Conference State Accountability for Vulnerability, Dublin, Ireland , 09-SEP-16 - 09-SEP-16. [Details]
(2016)BASPCAN Evidence-Informed Practice, Practice-Informed Research Conference,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2016) Protecting Young People with Risky Sexual Behaviours from Sexual Exploitation: Social Workers’ Experiences in the Irish Context. [Oral Presentation], BASPCAN Evidence-Informed Practice, Practice-Informed Research Conference, Birmingham, UK , 18-NOV-16 - 18-NOV-16. [Details]
(2013)HSE South Regional Network,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2013) Interviewing Very Young Children (2-5yrs). [Invited Lectures (Workshops)], HSE South Regional Network, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland , 30-SEP-13 - 30-SEP-13. [Details]
(2013)IASW HSE UCC Biennial Social Work Conference: New agency, new rights, new systems: Are children any safer?,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2013) Protecting Children in an Online World. [Oral Presentation], IASW HSE UCC Biennial Social Work Conference: New agency, new rights, new systems: Are children any safer?, Cork, Ireland , 25-OCT-13 - 25-OCT-13. [Details]
(2012)Doctor of Social Science Symposium,
Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2012) Undertaking a D.Soc.Sc Thesis – Reflections. [Invited Oral Presentation], Doctor of Social Science Symposium, Cork, Ireland , 10-FEB-12 - 10-FEB-12. [Details]
(2007)IASW HSE UCC Biennial Social Work Conference: New agency, new rights, new systems: Are children any safer?,
Bradshaw, T. and Ó Súilleabháin, F. (2007) Interviewing Children in the context of Child Protection & Welfare. [Oral Presentation], IASW HSE UCC Biennial Social Work Conference: New agency, new rights, new systems: Are children any safer?, Cork, Ireland , 26-OCT-07 - 26-OCT-07. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
School of Applied Social Studies Staff-Student Liaison Committee Co-Chairperson2017 /
UCC Gender Equality Working Group Member2017 /
MSW Selection Committee Co-ordinator2017 /
Digital Learning (SPEEDS) Committee Member2017 /
Ethics Committee Member2017 /
Tusla Third Level Liaison Forum CPD Subgroup Member of TUSLA Third Level Liaison Forum Subgroup2017 /

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
University College Cork Lecturer23-JAN-17 /
TUSLA Child and Family Agency Unit Manager Family Centre30-DEC-09 / 22-JAN-17
TUSLA Child and Family Agency/Health Service Executive Principal Social Worker Family Centre14-NOV-05 / 29-DEC-09
Southern Health Board Locum Social Worker/Social Care Worker07-MAY-01 / 07-SEP-01
Southern Health Board Social Worker North Lee06-MAY-02 / 07-DEC-03
Health Service Executive/Southern Health Board Social Worker Family Centre08-DEC-03 / 13-NOV-05

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2011University College Cork DOCTORATESocial Science
2002University College Cork Master of Social WorkSocial Work
2000University College Cork Bachelor of Social ScienceSocial Science

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
English FluentFluentFluent
Gaeilge FunctionalBasicBasic

Consultancy

 ClientDescription
Munster Adolescent Project TUSLA Cork
Action Learning Group Member
Cork Gay Project
Board Member
Practice Advisory Board Specialist Inquiry Team TUSLA Cork
TUSLA Family Centre
Peer-review and expertise provided in the assessment of alleged child sexual abuse
Foster Care Committee Cork TUSLA
Chairperson and Member of the Approvals Committee
Douglas Credit Union Ltd
Chairperson of Board of Directors

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

My key areas of teaching expertise and interest are GLBTQI issues and sexualities, child sexual abuse and harmful sexual behviour, child protection and welfare, direct work with children and young people and welfare pluralism in the delivery of social services.


Throughout my professional practice, I have sought to be a research-minded and evidence-informed practitioner. I have utilised research to reflect on, and improve, my practice. I believe that teaching, research and practice are part of a connected cycle of ongoing learning and professional development. 


As an educator in UCC, I aim to share my passion for social work research, education and practice. I work to enhance students’ learning experiences and to achieve the best possible learning outcomes for students.  I aim to inspire students to practice ethically and in anti-discriminatory ways to promote equality and social justice. I aim to assist students to develop a proficiency in critical thinking in order to develop their capacity to undertake assessments in practice and to professionally evaluate and judge situations. I seek to familiarise students with the application of theory to practice and how they are inter-connected and to help them understand how social policies at the macro-level can influence the lived experiences of individuals and communities at the micro-level. I view teaching as an interactive process which sees students as key partners in the learning project. 

 

I view teaching as an interactive process with students being partners in the learning project. I like to provide students with a poly-vocal learning environment where students are empowered to learn from each other.  I am student-centred in my approach to teaching – information and knowledge needs to be imparted in an accessible way in order for students to understand and they need to understand the knowledge before they can apply it to practice.

Overall, I use a range of teaching methods to engage students in learning rather than being overly dependent on one method. I use lectures, role-plays, case-studies, practice experiences, media studies, group discussions, peer support and visual aids as learning tools in the classroom. As a part of my digital teaching and learning, in 2017, I developed online lectures about professional practice for undergraduate social science students with Dr. Eileen Hogan, Lecturer, School of Applied Social Studies.


Bachelor of Social Science                          

SS2024            Fieldwork Placement (with Dr. Eileen Hogan)

SS3030            Fieldwork Placement (with Dr. Eileen Hogan)

SS3021            Sexuality and Society (with Dean Máire Leane)

SS2003            Social Services and Welfare: Policy and Practice

 

Bachelor of Social Work                                

SS2211            Mixed Economy of Welfare & Personal Social Services

 

Higher Diploma in Social Policy 

SS5026            Sexuality and Society (with Dean Máire Leane)

 

Master of Social Work                              

SS6112            Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement I (with MSW team)

SS6112            Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement II (Lectures)

SS6106            Applied Social Research (with Dr. Eleanor Bantry-White & Dr. Kenneth Burns)

SS6108            Child and Family Welfare I (guest lecturer on child sexual abuse)

SS6207            Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement II (with MSW team)

SS6207            Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement II (with Ms. Caroline Shore)

SS6201            Child and Family Welfare II (guest lecturer on investigative interviewing)

SS6206            Dissertation in Social Work (with Dr. Eleanor Bantry-White)

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2017Laura Nolan University College CorkMaster of Social WorkVoluntary care processes: A comprehensive analysis of Irish, Norwegian and Finnish contexts.
2017Christín Murphy University College CorkMaster of Social WorkYoung people 'at risk'? A critical examination of notions of risk in child protection and welfare social work
2017Sharon Morrison University College CorkMaster of Social WorkWorking together to safeguard children: An examination of multidisciplinary approaches to child protection practice
2017Francis Condon University College CorkMaster of Social WorkWhich theoretical approaches and perspectives could be applied to social work practice in an attempt to work most constructively with the trans community?
2018Stephanie Tips NUI (UCC)Master of Social WorkIgloos all year round: An examination of the views of young people into the spaces and places of Douglas (CARL)
2018John Daunt NUI (UCC)Master of Social WorkOur Place Matters: An exploration of young people’s participation in the Douglas community and international models for developing community participation (CARL)
2018Niamh Condron NUI (UCC)Master of Social WorkAn International Literature Review on the Needs of People who have Offending Behaviours and/or Substance Use Issues (CARL)
2018Phil O' Sullivan NUI (UCC)Master of Social WorkDress to Impress: Parents’ Fears of Allegations of Fabricated Induced Illness in Cases when their Child has Mitochondrial Disease - Exploring the Voices of MITO Families Ireland (CARL)
2018Cara Mc Carthy NUI (UCC)Master of Social Work‘Smells Like Community Spirit’: An Exploration of Stakeholders Perceptions of the Social Needs and Issues for Young People in Douglas (CARL)

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2019Sexuality and Society SS3021Sexuality and Society

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K

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