Social Justice Team

The work of the Social Justice staff team is overseen by the National Social Justice Committee, which is a committee of SVP members representing the eight geographic regions of the Society as well as a number of special appointees with expertise in particular policy areas.  The National Social Justice Committee is currently chaired by Nessan Vaughan.

The work of the staff team and National Social Justice Committee is supported by the Social Justice Network, a network of over 300 SVP members across Ireland. Members of the Social Justice network provide information to the National Social Justice Committee and staff team about social justice issues arising through their visitation work, as well as responding to regular surveys on issues such as education, in-work poverty and housing. 

Members of the Social Justice network also provide anonymised case studies of the lives of the people they assist which illustrate to policy makers the reality of living on a low income in Ireland.

The current Social Justice Team of the Society of St Vincent de Paul are:

SVP trusteesNessan Vaughan - Chair of National Social Justice Committee

Nessan worked for over 30 years in the public service at the National Manpower Service, Department of Labour and FÁS. During this time he held a number of senior positions: Regional Manager of Community and Employment Services and a senior Policy Manager, where he had national responsibility and represented FÁS at EU level. 

In 2010, Nessan, driven by a passion for social justice and equality, decided to leave the public service and to work (full-time) as a volunteer in the Community and Voluntary Sector. In addition to being Chair of SVP’s National Social Justice Committee and an active volunteer for his local SVP Conference and Area/Regional Councils, he is also Chair of the Northside Partnership, North Dublin MABS, New Life Centre (Darndale) and of The Employment Network (North Inner City). Nessan is also a Director of several other Not-For-Profit organisations in Dublin’s Inner City and Northside where he provides, amongst other things, support and advise on corporate governance. 

SVP trusteesCaroline Fahey - Head of Social Justice

Caroline is Head of Social Justice and Policy with the Society of St Vincent de Paul and has worked in the organisation since 2008.
Caroline leads the policy and advocacy work of the Society, working closely with the SVP National Social Justice Committee to identify social justice issues emerging through the experience of SVP members and the people we assist and developing solutions and policy proposals.

In 2019 Caroline was appointed by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to represent SVP on the Low Pay Commission, which advises Government on the rate of the National Minimum Wage.  Caroline was also a representative of the Community and Voluntary Pillar on the National Economic and Social Council (2011-2014), advising the Taoiseach on strategic issues for Ireland’s social and economic development.  
Caroline previously volunteered with a visitation Conference in inner city Dublin, and held the position of Secretary in the Irish Social Policy Association from 2013-2014. Caroline holds a Master of Social Science (Social Policy) from UCD and a BA (Mod) in Business Studies and Sociology from Trinity College.  She is also a mother of two young boys.


Tricia Keilthy - Social Policy Development Officer

Tricia Keilthy joined the Society of St Vincent de Paul as a Social Policy Development Officer in December 2016. Her work focuses on child and family policy, education, debt, and poverty. 

Tricia has over 10 years of research and policy experience and has worked for a variety of organisations such as the Combat Poverty Agency, One Family, the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, and the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at UCD.

She has also taught undergraduate courses at UCD on topics such as comparative social policy, family policy, and research methods.
Tricia holds a PhD in Social Policy from UCD and a MSc in Applied Social Research from TCD.

Marcella Stakem - Social Policy Development Officer

Marcella joined SVP in January 2018 as Social Policy Development Officer. She has responsibility for Education, Housing & Homeless Policy. Marcella holds a Masters in Community & Youth-work from Maynooth University and a Postgrad in Law from Dublin Institute of Technology. She passed the Law Society of Ireland exams in 2007 and worked as a legal executive and apprentice solicitor in two leading Dublin law firms.

She has worked in a variety of voluntary and community settings as a Youth Worker, Traveller Accommodation worker and as Research and Policy Officer for Traveller Accommodation. She has co-authored research papers on Traveller Health and Traveller Accommodation. Her other interests include addiction and mental health research.