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International Speaker Line Up for Women’s Aid Armagh Down Conference.

Women’s Aid Armagh Down today officially launched its 40th Anniversary Conference ‘Be the Change’ which takes place on Wednesday 28th February in Canal Court Hotel, Newry. This must attend conference is aimed at anyone in business, sport or community life who has responsibility for people, such as HR professionals, managers, sports coaches, or community workers.

The internationally renowned speaker line-up includes US based Jackson Katz, educator and author who has long been a major figure in the growing global movement of men working to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. His ‘Mentors in Violence Prevention’ programme was the first large-scale prevention initiative in professional sports and the U.S. military.

Jackson will be joined by outstanding female speakers’ – lifelong campaigner and actress Sabina Higgins who is married to the current President of Ireland Micheal D Higgins; Dragon’s Den dragon and serial entrepreneur Norah Casey, who has lived experience, a senior legal figure; and Bernie McNally, Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Board along with young people impacted by domestic abuse. The event will be hosted by renowned broadcaster Donna Traynor. Noel McNally, whose daughter Natalie was tragically killed along with her unborn child, in her own home in Lurgan will also be speaking. Noel will be attending with his wife, Bernie.

Eileen Murphy, CEO Women’s Aid Armagh Down said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing such an exceptional line up of speakers to this area to talk to us about the concept of being an ‘active bystander’ in domestic abuse and male violence scenarios. This conference aims to reach beyond the usual audience for Women’s Aid, looking at the role of workplaces, schools, community groups and sport in tackling this scourge in our community.

“49 women have been murdered across the island of Ireland since March 2020 in domestic situations, 18 of these women in Northern Ireland. These are stark and shocking figures as behind each statistic is a woman, often children, and a heartbroken family.

“This needs to stop- we have the power to stop this, but we all need to be part of the change. This starts right from how we educate boys and girls at the earliest age, about how to treat each other and in particular how to treat women; as well as how we teach young people about healthy relationships.

“We are really looking forward to what will be a fantastic conference discussing these issues. Jackson has come over from Boston especially to join us. We really cannot thank all our fabulous speakers enough for agreeing to be part of this very special event.”

Eileen continued, “We could not have done this without our sponsors and partners, our platinum sponsors Terex Corporation and Murdock Building Supplies with ReGen, Rathbane Group, and Jack Murphy Jewellers. We rely also on our statutory partners for their support with Newry Mourne Down PCSP (Police and Community Safety Partnership), Armagh Banbridge Craigavon PCSP and Southern Health and Social Care Trust partnering us on the event.

“This truly will be a not to be missed conference for anyone with people management responsibilities in any walk of life. We look forward to seeing a capacity crowd on Wednesday 28th February at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry.”

Tickets are limited and are available from womensaidarmaghdown.org 



Women’s Aid Armagh Down (WAAD) has launched its ‘Be the Change’ international conference taking place in Newry on 28th February 2024. The conference will see speakers including Sabina Higgins, Norah Casey, Jackson Katz and Noel McNally address the role we all play in reducing domestic abuse in our community. WAAD were joined at the official launch by representatives from corporate supporters and public sector partners including Terex Corporation, Murdock Building Supplies, ReGen, Rathbane Group, Jack Murphy Jewellers, Newry Mourne Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership. Pictured are:


Pic 1: WAAD Launch:

Front (l to r) Charlotte McAteer, and Gemma Murphy, Jack Murphy Jewellers, Niamh O’Maolain, Chair WAAD Board, Hazel Robinson, Murdock Building Supplies, Eadaoin McVerry, ReGen, Eileen Murphy, CEO, WAAD, Martina Flynn, Newry & Mourne PCSP.

Back (lto r)Aisling Gillespie, ABC PCSP, Elizabeth O Connor, Rathbane Group, Bernie and Noel McNally, Laura Gorman, Jemma Gamble and Catherine Gallagher, Terex with Leanne Spratt, SHSCT.

Pic 2: Platinum Support

Gemma Gamble, Catherine Gallagher, Laura Gorman, Terex Corporation with Niamh O’Maolain, Chair, and Eileen Murphy, CEO WAAD, along with Hazel Robinson, Murdock Builders Merchants.

Pic 3: Sponsors

(seated l to r) Charlotte McAteer, and Gemma Murphy, Jack Murphy Jewellers, Eileen Murphy, CEO, WAAD, Niamh O’Maolain, Chair WAAD, Hazel Robinson, Murdock Building Supplies and Eadaoin McVerry, ReGen. (Standing) Jemma Gamble, Catherine Gallagher, Laura Gorman, Terex Corporation and Elizabeth O Connor, Rathbane Group.

Pic 4: Partners

(Back LtoR ) Leanne Spratt, SHSCT, Martina Flynn, Newry & Mourne PCSP and Aisling Gillespie, ABC PCSP.

(Front) Niamh O’Maolain, Chair and Eileen Murphy, CEO, WAAD



Audio and video clip interviews from launch available via: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbZY8pGFkp5miuzorSNXGnw