Get to know our 25 YMIP journalists!

We have put together a team of 25 citizen journalists to cover the Irish Presidency between January and June 2013.  Our journalists are divided into five regions, on the basis of the European Parliament constituencies: Dublin, East, North-West, Northern Ireland and South.  Get to know them here, and peruse their YMIP work so far.

Dublin Journalists

tarisaiTarisai May ChidawanyikaFrom Zimbabwe, living in Dublin

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe for 12 years.  I then moved to Ireland because my family was already here.  I developed a passion for reading and law while I was getting used to Ireland.  In time reading became second nature to me.  My strongest points are my determination, self-belief and persistence.  I know that if I want success I have to go for it myself as life for me did not begin with a silver spoon.  My weakest point is impatience but it has become something I have begun to learn as the best results don’t need to be rushed.  Everything happens in its own time and I need not always rush it.  I’m a Law student and I have no regrets about my degree choice.  I am not sure what career I want to pursue with this degree but in time it will fall in place.  I love the French language and I hope I can spend my summer in France broadening the knowledge I already have.

Check out May’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@TarieMay).

Sallyanne DownesFrom Balbriggan, Dublin

I am a 21 year old final year media student specialising in video production in Dublin City University. I am passionate about student empowerment, youth participation, mental health awareness, development and social enterprise. I run a social enterprise called Raising and Giving, we aim to provide a support structure for students to set up social initiatives that make an impact on Irish society. Last year we were lucky enough to receive a philanthropic donation of €50,000 to develop the organisation nationally. This September I represented Ireland on behalf of my organisation in a global social enterprise competition known as Enactus in Washington DC. I have just graduated from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s youth programme Wave Change and am currently interning there. I live for adventure sports and drama with a keen interest in surfing and snowboarding. I love capturing life through a lens and enjoy presenting a college radio show. At the moment I am rehearsing for Rent the musical and a children’s TV show I was cast in recently. David Attenborough is my inspiration in life and I hope someday soon to produce my own nature documentaries.

Check out Sallyanne’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here.

Vicky KavanaghFrom Coolock, Dublin

A born journalist, I’ve been dedicated to media since an early age.  I graduated from DCU in 2011 with a BA in Journalism.  Apart from corresponding for YMIP, I work in the News and Current Affairs Section in RTE, I’m a writer for The Daily Update and am a Youth Ambassador for, an initiative of Inspire; a mental health charity.  I’m passionate about social and economic matters and believe that unless society pushes for change collectively, change cannot occur.

Check out Vicky’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@VickyWrites).

Eoin KelleherFrom Rathfarnham, Dublin

I am a medicine student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. I grew up and went to school in Dublin, and have maintained an active interest in both politics and art from a young age. I have been reduced to the ‘lesser’ art form of cartoons at this stage, however. I contribute political cartoons to The Phoenix, University Times, as well as various RCSI publications. I am also currently the chief editor of the RCSI Student Medical Journal.

Check out Eoin’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, follow him on Twitter (@EoinKr), and check out his website for lots  more cartoons.

Laura Mc LoughlinFrom Walkinstown, Dublin

Laura is currently in third year of her English Studies Degree at Trinity College Dublin.  She has recently been appointed Project leader of Write Up! at TCD.  Write Up!  is a new venture between Enactus TCD and The University Times which aims to improve literary levels and empower young people from disadvantaged secondary schools by running journalism workshops and giving students the opportunity to have their work published in The University Times.  Laura enjoys working and volunteering with children and young people.  She volunteers with Bridge21 as a student mentor and is also a volunteer at Fighting Words.  Laura’s interests include creative writing, researching, technology, current affairs, media and journalism.

Check out Laura’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@90_laura).

East Journalists

Mary BrowneFrom Carlow, living in Dublin

I’m a 20 year old Carlow girl who loves communication in all its forms. From social media to personal conversations I adore interacting with people. I would describe myself as an outgoing, easy to get on with person. I love meeting new people so am particularly excited about being part of YMIP, getting to meet other like-minded young people. I think the fact that we all have a similar interest in media will prove successful in building relationships. I am in final year in college and am the acting Events Manager on DCU Raising and Giving Society. This has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in college. I have loved being part of a committee, getting to organise events and getting involved with social projects such as ‘Go Gaga for GAA’ and ‘Rag Rugby’ which the society raises money for.

Check out Mary’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@Mary Browne1).

Ciara GalvinFrom Celbridge, Kildare

Until recently, I lived and worked in Brussels in the European Parliament. I studied Politics in NUI Maynooth, and have worked mainly in research and communications for various politicians since then. Outside of politics, I enjoy cycling and travelling. I have completed two 400km charity cycles in the past few years, and I went interrailing last summer from Brussels to Zagreb. The summer before, I travelled from London to Vienna by bus. I hope to visit Iceland and Scotland in the next year or two. One of the best things about Brussels was living in such an intercultural atmosphere, getting to know people from all over the EU and beyond. Though I have returned to Ireland for the time being, I imagine I will move abroad again in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I look forward to being part of the Youth Media project during the Irish Presidency.

Check out Ciara’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@CiaraLeena).

David NowakFrom Enniscorthy

I am a 19 year old student, studying Economics and German in UCD. I was born in Germany, then moved to Poland and then moved here. I am a member of Young Fine Gael in which I hold two committee positions, I am the Vice-Chair of Wexford YFG and the Public Relations Officer of Dublin Regional Council. I got my first camera in 2008 and that’s basically how I got into photography.

Check out Dave’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow him on Twitter (@NowakDave).

North-West Journalists

Sorcha CusackFrom Donegal, living in Dublin

I am currently a 2nd year student studying Law with French Law in UCD. I would consider myself quite the activist and believe that young people have a very important role to play in being the voices that shape the world we live in now and not just the voices that we are cultivating for the future. I therefore can say that youth activism has formed a very large part of my life. In my spare time I organise and participate in debates in college, I play guitar, I volunteer in my local youth centre and I blog. I am never one who understands what it is to have “nothing to do” or be “bored” because invariably, I am always starting up some new project or lobbying for something or other. I am an opportunist and am a firm believer that giving up is never an option. The well known saying “it takes one drop to start a ripple” is one which resonates with me – I am never afraid to speak out about something even if I am the only one who sees it as important.

Check out Sorcha’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@sorchacusack).

Isabella De LucaFrom Mullingar, living in Galway

I am twenty years old and in the third year of my degree in English, Psychology and Creative Writing at NUI Galway. I was born and raised in Ireland but inherited my Italian name, passion and good taste in food from my dad. In my free time I love reading, playing piano and all things Harry Potter. I started keeping a diary in my early teens, and haven’t stopped writing since. I have always been very interested in social justice issues. When I was younger I went through a phase when I dreamed of being a politician, as it was the only platform where I thought I could be heard. But my voice didn’t work out loud very well, so the pen became my medium instead. And later, the laptop keyboard. For my third year writing project, I’m keeping a personal blog aimed at young people that includes news and commentary on social and current affairs. My goal is to get the youth more involved and passionate about the world around them, and YMIP is an amazing opportunity that will hopefully help me achieve that aim.

Check out Isabella’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@izdeluca).

Clodagh GarryFrom Limerick, living in Galway

I am currently studying an MA in Communications and Journalism in the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta at NUIG. I am passionate about the Irish language and Irish culture. I enjoy working with people and I have a particular interest in social policy. I have experience working with communities and in customer service. I have dual citizenship with Canada. I like travelling and trying new things and hope to get the opportunity to do some more in the future.

Check out Clodagh’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, follow her on Twitter (@ClodaghGarry), and check out her YouTube account (clodagh garry) to see some of her videos.

Laura GaynorLaura GaynorFrom Derry, living in Sligo

My name is Laura Gaynor and I’m the youngest member of the YMIP brigade.  I live in the part of Ireland where the people still say ”I does be”.  These days they call it Sligo.

Apart from a love affair with tea, my biggest interest is making movies, which I’ve been pursuing since camera phones came on the scene when I was a youngster.  Since then I’ve been making films whenever possible.  I started entering them in competitions in 2010 and they’ve since been shown in Ireland, as well as places like Greece, Croatia and Chicago at Intn’l film festivals.  Four have been broadcast on RTÉ Two and another partially shown during an interview.  On the opposite side of the camera, my “proudest” moment in my acting “career” would be the day I had to jump out of a bin dressed as a superhero for a short film which ended up being shown on RTÉ Two Tube and screened in Cologne, Istanbul and Seoul, South Korea.  Academics wise I’m in my last year of school and my favourite subjects are Business and English.  Apart from that, I’m on’s Action Panel and have a green belt in Mugendo.

Check out Laura’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, follow her on Twitter (@_LauraGaynor), and check out her YouTube account (TheRoboCaterpillar) for lots more videos.

Richard MantonFrom Clare, living in Galway

I am a PhD student in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, researching the promotion of sustainable transport. My main interests are politics, environment and education. I am also interested in international development and have volunteered in Haiti, Zambia and Germany. I am a big fan of Irish culture, particularly Gaelic Games, Irish language and music and a few pints of Guinness! That said, I think it’s possible (and necessary) to have a truly inter-cultural Europe, based on respect, peace and economic inclusivity. I hope to cover Irish Presidency events on the environment, economy, unemployment, international development, and foreign policy of the EU.

Check out Richard’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, follow him on Twitter (@mantonr), and check out his blog, Public Engineering.

Órla Ryan NEWÓrla Ryan
From Sligo, living in Galway

I am currently doing a Journalism MA in NUI Galway. I am due to graduate in November 2013. I am studying modules that include News Writing and Reporting, Features Journalism and Broadcasting. I am the co-features editor at Sin, the university’s student newspaper, and also contribute to two current affairs programmes on the college radio station, Flirt FM. I write for a number of Irish websites and recently started my own blog. I graduated from Communication Studies in Dublin City University in November 2010 with first class honours. My main interests are journalism, writing, photography, live music, travelling, running and volunteering. My biggest achievement to date is running the Dublin City Marathon in 2012. I ran with my family and we raised over €11,200 for cancer services in Sligo General Hospital. When in Sligo, I live with my mum, three sisters and our dog Shep. In Galway, I live with three friends. My favourite journalists include Dearbhail McDonald, Robert Fisk and Charlie Brooker. I love all aspects of the media and firmly believe that good journalism plays an imperative role in aiding and prompting social debate and change.

Check out Órla’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@orlaryan).

Northern Ireland Journalists

Andrew Coffman-SmithFrom Nashville, Tennessee

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, Andrew is a hiking enthusiast, lover of secret oral history and avid photographer. He is currently a MA Journalism student at the University of Ulster, Coleraine and has a BA in History and Political Science from University of Tennessee. He has previously worked as a staff writer for two weekly papers, a production assistant for an award-winning documentary and a communications intern for a United States Congressman. A partial portfolio of his published work can be found on his website.

Check out Andrew’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow him on Twitter (@CoffmanSmith).

Caithlin CorriganFrom Belfast

Hello! I’m Caithlin, I am 25 and currently work for Concern Worldwide as a Direct Marketing Executive. I completed my MA in International Relations two years ago and am currently studying for a post graduate diploma in International Development. Before that I studied for a BSc in Communications, Advertising and Marketing. I love to travel, speak really bad Spanish and can get really competitive when playing charades… my apologies in advance. Also enjoy horse riding, dancing and skiing, although not necessarily in that order.

Check out Caithlin’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@CaithlinC).

blaine-2Blaine Gaffney
From Sligo, living in Belfast

My name is Blaine Gaffney and I am from Co. Sligo. I am an enthusiastic political master’s student in QUB who possesses a great personality and work ethos. I am an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual who will always give 100% no matter what the situation. Professionally, I am very keen to work with a governmental department in Ireland or in the European Union as public affairs is my passion. My ideal role would be some position in Europe which would allow me to work with the security and defence policy of the EU. European military deployments and the forces structures and EU policies towards external action are of great interest to me.

Check out Blaine’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow him on Twitter (@blainesligonew).

Una KellyFrom Derry, living in Dublin

I’m 21 and come from Derry City. Currently in my final year of studying Law and German in Trinity College, I’m looking forward to hopefully graduating this year and seeing what the future holds. Involvement in student media and internships has developed my interest in journalism and I hope to eventually pursue a career in it. I spent my third year of college abroad in Hamburg, Germany and loved it. I would recommend an Erasmus year to anyone! I plan to spend more time living in Germany and other European countries. My main passion in my spare time is music, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of orchestras and choirs for years.

Check out Una’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here.

Maeve MontagueFrom Tyrone, living in Dublin

Growing up at the end of a large family, I was always surrounded by conversations across a wide range of subjects, and differences in opinion were invariably expressed. This background has made me interested and curious about the world we live in, and I have felt impassioned by social justice and rights since then. It also taught me that for people to become engaged, topics should be discussed with every opinion having the right to be heard. I’ve always wanted to be involved in changing the world for the better and, being a ferocious reader, I always thought it would be journalism which would do this. Dublin became my home four years ago, when I moved to study medicine, and over that time I have become involved with some amazing projects and had some great experiences – one of which was spending two summer months in India teaching kids in a Delhi slum. I learned a lot from this time, and it gave me a new viewpoint on development issues and where help is needed. I hope to work with MSF after graduation, and stay involved with development.

Check out Maeve’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here.

James MulhallFrom Offaly, living in Derry

I’m a 22 year old MA Journalism student at UU Coleraine, graduate of NUI Galway. I have varied interests but mostly my current interests revolve around writing – trying to build up a portfolio and get experience in journalism. I have particular interest in the divide between N. Ireland and the Republic right now. Other interests include travelling (of which I do not get to do as much as I would like to due to student financial constraints) and music. I have an interest in the Irish language too and despite my attempts I haven’t been able to break the mould from conversational to fluency but I continue to try! I have volunteered in the past and would very much like to do so again once my MA programme is over as I will have more time on my hands.

Check out James’ coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow him on Twitter (@dodgeyjammer).

Aine O’DohertyFrom Derry

I’m a politics graduate who has ventured into the world of journalism. Currently studying the NCTJ in Journalism at the North West Regional College and I’d like to think I’ve found what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have always had an interest in politics, and I like to keep up to date with current affairs. I have a particular interest in European politics, especially the politics of Italy, after writing my dissertation on the topic. I also enjoy music and attending concerts, and try to attend at least one festival every summer. I enjoy socialising with my friends and love going out for dinner and trying new restaurants when possible. I also enjoy running and I’m currently in training for a 10mile coastal challenge at the end of March.

Check out Aine’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@aineodoherty).

South Journalists

Marie DromeyFrom Cork, living between Cork and Limerick

At the moment I’m studying my Masters in Psychology in UL. I recently graduated with a degree in Applied Psychology from UCC. Outside of studies and Psychology, I’ve spent the last few years being an alumnus with the European Youth Parliament. This has brought me all over Europe and I’ve met some of my best friends through EYP. I’ve also enjoyed debating with university and I love going to these competitions – although not taking it very seriously! In my spare time I’m an avid music and photography fan. I am currently very much an amateur photographer and have no doubt driven my friends mad constantly having my camera in their faces! Other than that; good food, movies and running are high up on my favourites list.

Check out Marie’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@mariedromey).

Carlynn McCarthyFrom Kerry, living in Dublin

Carlynn studied European Integration Studies in UCC.  She loves to travel and speak foreign languages badly.  She also loves sport and runs, boxes and does Pilates.  She is a multi-disciplined journalist with experience in radio, online and in print, and feels slightly uncomfortable about referring to herself in the third person.  She loves social media and has a healthy interest in photography.

Check out Carlynn’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@Carlynnmcc).

Tricia PurcellFrom Tipperary

I’m a journalism graduate from the University of Limerick.  I’m currently working as an intern at where I am involved in the subediting of their new website.  I live in Tipperary but make the commute to Dublin three days a week for my intern duties.  I am a big movie, music and book lover, not necessarily in that order.  I received my Grad.Dip in Journalism from the University of Limerick in January, and I also studied to receive my BA in New Media and English in 2011 in UL.  I would ideally like to work in journalism and the media in the near future.  I haven’t settled on a particular field or area in journalism just yet; I’m keeping my options open! Any role with the possibilities of travelling also appeals to me. I also spend too much time on Twitter.

Check out Tricia’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@purcell_t).

Aisling TwomeyFrom Cork

I am a twenty two year old bibliophile, with a particular affection for shoes, politics, movies and social media. I studied at University College Cork for four years, completing my BCl (Hons) in 2011 and my LLM (Criminal Justice) in 2012. I have spent the past five years contributing to media wherever possible; I was the Deputy Editor of the UCC Express and then the Editor in Chief of Motley Magazine. I have written for the Irish Times and Irish Examiner and I am a contributor to the Evening Echo in Cork. I absolutely adore dogs, and spend most of my free time reading, cooking or tapping away at Twitter. I dream about editing TIME magazine and running a successful food blog.

Check out Aisling’s coverage of the Irish Presidency here, and follow her on Twitter (@taisling).


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.