Our History 

The Oiled Wildlife Response Network was formally established in 2015 with the aim of developing reliable infrastructure for national preparedness and response capability when it comes to pollution incidents involving marine wildlife such as birds, seals and cetaceans. 
The Oiled Wildlife Response Network is a registered charity (20161491) and Company Limited by Guarantee (608212).  

Supporting Organisations

We are a coalition of conservation and animal welfare organisations that coordinate the training of volunteers to act as ‘first responders’ in the event of an oil spill.

 In addition, the Network  works closely with authorities and industry to ensure the best outcome for wildlife and the safety of volunteers.

Our Team 

Pauline Beades

BSc(VN) hons, RVN. (Founder and Training/Events Coordinator)

Pauline is currently working as a veterinary nurse with a particular interest in wildlife. Prior to her veterinary career Pauline spent 31 years with Aer Lingus. In Pauline's spare time, she trained in the care of oiled wildlife initially with International Bird Rescue & Rehabilitation (IBRC)and worked at their oiled bird facility in San Pedro California. She also trained at Ostend Wildlife Centre in Belgium. While learning about the specific needs of wildlife affected by oil spills, Pauline realised that there was a great need in Ireland for a collaborative Wildlife Response should an oil spill ever occur here. Thus, the OWRN was born.

Paul Rogers

BA,MA, MSc (Chairperson of the board)

Presently working at Northside Partnership as Chief Executive Officer. Paul has had a long career in social and community development with a clear vision of what can be achieved. Paul has had a life long interest in the marine environment and spends a lot of time involved in marine activities such as sailing.

Captain Hugh Conlon

Harbour Master, Shannon Foynes Port Company (Director of OWRN)

Presently Harbour Master with Shannon Foynes Port Company with special responsibilities for Emergency Planning, Oil Pollution Response and HNS response development, Oil Jetties and Dangerous goods. Director of SEAPT Ltd, the Shannon Estuary Anti- Pollution Team, and managing the Team since its beginning in 1993. Prior to this Captain Conlon spent 17 years working at sea initially with BP Shipping and then with Dublin Shipping, on oil tankers.

Dr. Steve Newton

PhD - Seabird Conservation Officer with Birdwatch Irl. (board member and instructor)

Since the 1990's Steve has been involved in seabird monitoring, research and management with BirdWatch Ireland. He has a 20 year involvement with managing Rockabill and its Roseate Terns in north County Dublin and also regularly works on Skellig Michael in Kerry. Between 1998 and 2002 he coordinated a full national census of all breeding seabirds and a resurvey commenced in 2015. Steve has been part of OWRN since its inception.

Laura Kavanagh

BSc HONs (Network Coordinator)

Laura is a marine ecologist who graduated from Galway – Mayo Institute with a BSc Hons in Applied Aquatic Ecology and is an accredited JNCC Marine Mammal Observer and Seabird surveyor. Laura has over 10 years experience in marine wildlife surveying and was involved in the PReCAST (IWDG), BRAHHS (University of Queensland) and SCANS III (SMRU) projects, as well as working worldwide in both the oil & gas and renewable industries, with extensive experience working in north Atlantic waters. Laura has been involved with the OWRN since 2014.

Sonia Ní Mhaonaigh

BSc Hons Zoology

Sonia has a degree in Zoology and trained as a Field Ranger in Kruger National Park in South Africa. She worked in Seal Rehabilitation for 3 years and has volunteered in many animal rescue centres. Sonia has worked with Pauline for many years and Pauline ensured that there was no escaping her involvement in the creation and development of the OWRN. Subsequently Sonia has worked in Event Management and is currently a member of An Garda Síochána. Sonia continues to be proud to be involved with the OWRN as it is a growing and truly worthwhile network.

Helen Silke

BA History; Archaeology; Psychology (Instructor)

Helen worked with Aer Lingus for a number of years before moving to West Cork to rear her children. Helen is a Surf Lifesaver and spends time sailing and canoeing with her husband and children. Helen is passionate about wildlife and the marine environment and has traveled to Belgium as representative of the OWRN to expand her training in the care of oiled wildlife. Helen has been part of OWRN since its inception.

Caryn Elmes

BSc (VN) hons RVN

Despite achieving first class honours in Veterinary Nursing at UCD, Caryn presently works in a health clinic in Dublin. Caryn's medical experience has crossed the species from animal to human and back to animal and now back again to human! After sucessfully completing her diploma in chemistry Caryn worked in a veterinary laboratory before moving to a medical clinic where she became practice manager. Caryn's love of animals led her back to full time education and her degree in veterinary nursing. However she has now made her way back to the world of human health. Caryn is the mother of one very active little boy.

Dr. Joanne O'Brien

PhD ( liaison with IWDG and GMIT)

Joanne is a lecturer at Galway-Mayo institute of technology. Joanne completed her PhD on small cetaceans off the west coast of Ireland in 2009. Her PhD was funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to support marine protected area designation and monitoring.

Noel O'Donoghue

Chairperson of the ISPCA

Noel is an animal welfare officer and director of Kilkenny SPCA. Noel was the chairperson of the ISPCA. Noel has been involved from the early days of the OWRN and has acted as liaison with the ISPCA

Veronika Bahnikova

MA Project Manager ( Board Member)

I have always been a keen wildlife advocate and admirer of everything that Mother Nature has created, and so I was always looking for ways in which I could get involved in protecting the natural world for us and for future generations. I am originally from the Czech Republic and I came to Ireland straight after I graduated from University. Since then, I have been actively involved in various non-profit organisations while working as a Project manager in some of the large Tech Companies in Dublin. At the end of 2019 I gladly took up Pauline on her invitation to join the OWRN team and help them to operationalise the OWRN Business plan by stepping into the role of the Operations committee group lead.

Gerard Boylan

BAF FCA (Director and Treasurer)

A Chartered Accountant with a Degree in Accounting and Finance from Dublin City University, Gerard spent over 20 years as a Senior Executive in the Energy sector, prior to that he worked as an accountant with PricewatherhouseCoopers. Gerard has always had an interest in animal welfare and nature.