Resources from SWAN Dublin event “Do We know what Human Rights and Social Justice Mean in the Ireland of Today”?

for social work education and not being able to speak out against the increasing technocratic procedures being forced upon social workers, among other issues. It was clear that there is anger about this amongst social workers and their allies (some of whom were at the event), and as a result, SWAN Dublin will be looking to organise another event in the near future on this topic. Keep checking this page and the facebook page for updates. You can also join our mailing list by clicking this link: 

In the mean time social workers, get angry, get active!

‘Can Openers’ the debut novel by Mal Jones

The novel can be purchased for £9.99 in paperback or for 0.99 as an e-book at the Rowanvale website. The book has already garnared a favourable review from the ResoluteReader blog, which states that ‘[r]eaders will want to keep reading though, not just because of the story, but because the world that the author has created is tragically believable.’

The publisher’s lay out the story in more detail:

[The novel] ‘raises concerns about the way the welfare system is run as a target-driven business, rather than as a caring and compassionate helping hand. This frustration is the motivation behind Can Openers, an intense dystopian thriller exploring our current systems and where they may lead us.

Every aspect of peoples’ lives are determined by a rigid framework set down by the authoritarian Dependency Department – a department that organises people by an evidence-based science. Believing the poor are feckless, and self-reliance should be encouraged, Frederick Smyth is approaching the peak of his career.

Currently the head of the district unit, Frederick’s ambitions of promotion are thwarted as a shocking and brutal murder turns his life upside-down.

This darkly comic novel is full of surprising twists that keep the reader guessing. Set in a near-future society where survival of the fittest is state policy, this novel is a stark warning of where our society may be heading.’

London ‘Crisis In Mental Health’ Day Conference, November 2014

Speakers included stalwart supporters of SWAN, Peter Beresford, Professor of Social Policy and chair of Shaping Our Lives, and June Sadd, a mental health survivor and researcher. We also heard from a member of Unison’s NEC (in her personal capacity) and a worker from Unite Community and activists came from two important disputes, both challenging the effects of privatisation of adult services, Your Choice Barnet, following which we collected £150 for their strike fund, and St Mungo’s Housing who didn’t need a collection since they’d just won their dispute!

This gives some idea of the scope of the conference. What we learnt from it? That ‘mental illness’ has a deep impact on both service users and practitioners, that it effects those diagnosed with specific conditions and less obviously but equally corrosively on the wider community. This includes vulnerable women forced into giving up their babies for adoption, children coping with abusive family conditions, members of the LGBT community facing domestic violence. And we also learnt how people can survive and thrive, whether it’s music or campaigning or both, there’s a collective response that takes on the aloneness.

What SWAN learns from the event is the need to address more clearly the experience of those in the Black and Ethnic Minority Communities. We’re also beginning to network with other campaigns concerned with the impact of privatisation on mental health services and the voluntary sector.

Upcoming Events, which may be of interest to Social Work Action Network Ireland Members

The Social Work Action Network Ireland is delighted to support both of these events and will continue to engage collaboratively with grassroots groups such as these on the issue of housing and homelessness in Ireland. Representatives of SWAN Ireland will be attending both events and we hope to see you there!

1. November 18th – “All Mod Cons? Young People and the Private Rented Sector”. “‘All Mod Cons?’ is a photo exhibition, hosted by We’re Not Leaving, that examines the issues facing Young People in the Rental Sector.

As well as the Photo Exhibition the evening will include the launch of We’re Not Leaving’s Housing Policy Proposal, a couple of short talks about particular aspects of the housing crisis including the wonderful Father Peter McVerry, and some exciting interactive elements.

The photographs are to be submitted by young people in order to share their personal experiences of the rental sector. If you are interested in submitting a photograph please find more details via

We’re Not Leaving is a youth movement of students, precarious worker, the young unemployed and combinations of all three. It campaigns around issues facing young people in Ireland today (including housing, internship culture and cuts to welfare, mental health support and education) that contribute to youth emigration”.

For full details and to RSVP to the event click here: 

2. November 28th – “Mortgaged Lives Book Launch”. “Housing Action Now is proud to host the launch of the English translation of Mortgaged Lives by Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany, in association with the
Platforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca
(PAH – Platform for People Affected by Mortgages).

Mortgaged Lives is both an account of successful collective action, and a how-to guide for citizen’s movements; providing tools and approaches for united response to imposed crisis. It details the spectacular rise of the PAH; a Spanish organisation that has mobilised on a massive scale and helped tens of thousands of Spanish citizens who have been evicted from their homes, shackled with debt and brought to breaking-point by neoliberal banking and political structures.
The book also discusses the strategies necessary to create and maintain an effective egalitarian social movement that can empower individuals through support and organisation.

This FREE event is co-hosted by two activists from the PAH, Jenifer González and Javier Arizmendi and along with the book launch there will be time for discussion about lessons from Spain and organising around the housing situation in Ireland.

Event location on google maps:

Housing Action Now (HAN) is a collective of community workers, researchers and activists concerned with the growing housing crisis in Ireland.
HAN is a member of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and The City”.

For full details and to RSVP to the event click here: