Board Members

Fiona McCausland

Goretti Horgan

Goretti Horgan is a Senior Lecturer in social policy at Ulster University. She is Director of ARK’s Policy Unit; ARK is a partnership between Queen’s and Ulster Universities that aims to promote evidence-based policy making and to help researchers, policy-makers and the wider public understand society and politics. She researches and writes about reproductive justice, including abortion, child and family poverty, disability, and children’s and women’s rights generally. Goretti was appointed by the Minister for Communities to the Anti-Poverty Strategy Expert Advisory Panel, the Panel’s report was published by the Department in March 2021. She is a member of Board of Directors of the Northern Ireland Anti Poverty Network, and a founding member of Alliance for Choice Derry.

Thomas Mahaffy

Thomas Mahaffy is Head of Organising and Development with UNISON NI with a lead responsibility across a wide range of public policy issues including equality, human rights, and health inequalities. He works in partnership with Health Trusts and other bodies on a local and international basis. He is a Board Member of the NI Human Rights Consortium, the NI Anti-Poverty Network and Participation and the Practice of Rights.

Pat Austin

Pat has been Director of NEA NI for 17 years. She is an Economics graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. After graduation she spent a year teaching before moving into the voluntary sector. She has also trained as a social worker and holds a Diploma in Social Work. Before starting with NEA, Pat spent 10 years at Help the Aged where she managed their advice and advocacy services.

Ciara Fitzpatrick

Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick is a lecturer and researcher at Ulster University School of Law. Her research expertise is the social security system and issues associated with it namely, poverty, destitution, and the gendered impacts of socio-economic disadvantage. Ciara is academic adviser to the Cliff Edge Coalition which is campaigning for a strengthened welfare reform mitigation package, by resolving the five-week wait for UC, mitigating the two-child limit and providing support for private renters. Ciara is an active anti-poverty campaigner and frequent contributor to civic debate, government processes and on the media.

@c_fitz_on Twitter

Taryn Trainer

Taryn Trainor is the Regional women’s and Equalities officer with Unite trade union.  She has worked in this role since 2008 progressing women’s issues and challenging inequality both in the workplace and broader society.  She is a long standing member of the NI ICTU women’s committee and the NI ICTU Committee.

Ellen Finlay

Ellen Finlay is Policy & Development Manager at the Samaritans. She is a skilled public affairs strategist with a proven track record of navigating complex political landscapes and building productive relationships with policymakers.  Her background is in social policy, her professional interests encompass social inclusion and effective community consultation and engagement.

Ellen has championed issues surrounding food poverty and insecurity, child poverty, and women’s lack of engagement in policy. She has successfully lobbied for direct payment for Free School Meals during Covid-19 and played an instrumental role in getting the Children’s Services Co-operation Act through to Royal Ascent.

As a Commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, Ellen has leveraged her expertise to develop public affairs strategies that drive positive change. She has also served as a member of the Independent Mechanism for Northern Ireland, the Department of Health Hyponatraemia Implementation Programme Workstream Two, and as deputy Chair of the Joint Forum (VCS panel).

Additionally, Ellen was a member of the co-design group that developed an Anti-Poverty Strategy and a Disability Strategy for the Department for Communities.

Amie Gallagher

Amie Gallagher is a community development worker from Creggan in Derry. Currently she is the project coordinator for the Focus Project, which provides local women with practical support and a platform for their voice and issues to be heard within the wider community. Amie has experience in facilitating good relations and contentious issues workshops with young people from interface communities.

She has a background in human rights and women’s rights education. Her interests lie particularly in the development of deprived communities in a post conflict setting, informal community education, opportunities for inclusion of minorities, policing these communities and the experiences and outcomes for women and young people, considering the inter-generational impact of the conflict.


Becca Bor

Development Coordinator

Becca Bor is the Development Coordinator for NIAPN. She has a background in education, community development, participatory practices, trade union activism and campaigning for social change. Originally from Boston, she has been living and working in Derry since 2014.