The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is dedicated to the conservation and better understanding of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Irish waters. The group was founded in 1990 to establish an Irish stranding and sighting scheme and to campaign for the declaration of Irish territorial waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary. Just six months later, in June 1991, the Irish Government declared all Irish waters to be a whale and dolphin sanctuary... the first of its kind in Europe. The IWDG is a broad mix of conservationists, whale watchers, researchers, educators and, above all, people who are passionate about marine wildlife and cetaceans in particular.

The IWDG is as registered charity (Charity Number: CHY 11163) and registered with the Charity Regulatory Authority (No. 20029913). We are also members of the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and receive grant funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment through the IEN.



  • Chief Executive Officer

    Simon Berrow is Chief Science Officer and Acting CEO of the IWDG. He is a founder member of the IWDG and has been co-ordinating its activities since his return to Ireland in 2000. He is Project Manager of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation ( based in Kilrush, Co Clare. Simon carried out his PhD at Lough Hyne Marine Reserve while at University College, Cork where he set up the IWDG and also spent 2.5 years on South Georgia with the British Antarctic Survey. He lectures full time at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology ( on the Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology degree and IMBReSEA Masters programme.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 8545450


    E-mail address:
  • Group Coordinator and Communications Officer

    Trea Heapes is the Group coordinator and communciations officer. She has a BSc. in Computer Systems and has many years of experience in industry. In recent years she has worked on local community projects including: Project Coordinator for Seol Sionna, a traditional boat building project, Tourism Development officer for Loop Head Tourism, a community tourism network, Community liason and project coordinator for a number of Heritage Council projects including the Loop Head Heritage Audit and the Loop Head Wetlands study. Trea has a keen interest in nature watching and conservation and has been a member of the group for a number of years. 

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 3819 216


    E-mail address:
  • Sightings Officer

    Pádraig is IWDG Sightings Officer. His involvement with IWDG dates back to 1992. Since then he has been Group secretary (1996), Membership secretary (1997) and has held his current position as Sightings Officer since 1999. Since those early days he has travelled extensively in search of whales, before moving to Cork in 1999. He spent much of the next decade monitoring fin and humpback whales along the West Cork coast. He is an advocate of sustainable Whale Watching and is a regular contributor to a range of natural history publications, media and wildlife documentaries.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 86 3850568

    E-mail address:
  • Strandings Officer

    Mick O'Connell is IWDG Strandings Officer. Although originaly trained as a forester he has been co-ordinating the IWDG Cetacean Stranding Scheme since 2003, originally under the ISCOPE project and now under contract to the NPWS. Mick has spent considerable time carrying out land-based watches around Co Kerry and was also on the IWDG Cape Verde Expedition in 2006.

    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 87 6328106

    E-mail address:
  • Science Officer

    Seán O’Callaghan is Science Officer with the IWDG. Séan recently graduated with a degree in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology course from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. He has been involved with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group since 2008 and is accredited as a JNCC Marine Mammal Observer with experience in both land and boat based monitoring for abundance estimates and mitigation measures. He has undertaken research in Ireland and Portugal since 2016. Séan provides support to the science programme and officers as well as currently carrying out his own work on using photo-grammetry for determing length and condition of dolphins and whales. 

    Mobile Phone: 085 7764918


    E-mail address:
  • Conservation Officer

    Dave is Conservation Officer with the IWDG. Dave has worked with IWDG since the mid 90's and lives in Bangor, Co. Down. Dave developed the IWDG's programme of offshore surveys, starting by establishing the IWDG ferry surveys programme in 2001. He has authored a number of IWDG publications including the IWDG Atlas of the distribution and relative abundance of marine mammals in Irish offshore waters 2005 - 2011, and our policy documents on commercial fishing and the impacts of noise pollution on cetaceans.He pioneered deepwater acoustic monitoring for cetaceans in Irish waters using static acoustic monitoring and continues this work as part of IWDG's consultancy programme. Currently Dave works as Citizen Science Officer at the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

    Mobile phone: +44 77 71762355

    E-mail address:
  • Social Media and Outreach Officer

    Meadhbh Quinn is contributing to social media outreach.  Meadhbh graduated from University College Cork with a BSc Hons in Zoology, and shortly after began working as a research assistant with the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation.  It was here that she first became actively involved with IWDG.   She is now an accredited Marine Mammal Observer and carries out a range of work in inshore, offshore and land based monitoring surveys for research and consultancy purposes, as well as working as a fisheries contractor for the Marine Institute.  
    Mobile Phone: 353 (0) 87 2759529

    E-mail address:
  • Northern Ireland Officer

    Cathy Gibson is IWDG Northern Ireland Officer. She graduated from Queen's University Belfast with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology with professional studies and is currently working towards an MSc in Ecological Management & Conservation Biology at Queen's. Cathy's MSc project is currently being finalised and will be working with cetaceans & bioacoustic data. At present she is working in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and is a certified MMO with experience in boat and land surveys. Alongside AFBI, Cathy has worked on a photo-ID project in Northern Ireland using social media as a tool to add to existing data and an acoustic monitoring project of harbour porpoises in the Skerries & Causeway SAC.

    Mobile phone: +44 7511160658


    E-mail address:
  • Irish Language Officer

    Padraic de Bhaldraithe is the IWDG Irish language officer. Padraic is a graduate in zoology from UCD, with an MSc in Zoology from University College, Galway. He subsequently did postgraduate research in biological oceanography in Galway and in the Centre Nationale de l’Exploration des Océans in Brest, France. He was involved in the salmon mariculture industry for a number of years, taught in a second-level school for 10 years before joining the inspectorate of the Department of Education and was subsequently seconded to the State Examinations Commission where he was the Chief Examiner for Biology. He has been a member of the IWDG for a number of years. He is also a keen sailor, reporting casual sightings on the Irish coast to the IWDG. He studied translation at the National University of Ireland and currently works as a freelance translator.

    Fón póca (Mobile phone): 353 (0) 87 6591904


    E-mail address:
  • Membership and Merchandise Officer

    Mags Daly is acting as Membership Officer for the IWDG a role assisted by Stephanie Levesque and Frances Bermingham. This involves  managing membership database, responding to requests and sending out orders and sourcing new lines of merchandise.


    Mobile phone: 353 (0) 83 840 1102

    E-mail address:
  • Book-keeper

    Susanne Matejka is the IWDG Book-keeper and has a degree in Business Economics. She has extensive experience in office management, events management, marketing and accounting. Susanne has worked in small and big organisations, including tourism. She has been in contact with IWDG regarding small tourism events in recent years and provided possibilities of exposure during events for the group.

    Mobile Number: 353 (0) 87 927 1476


    E-mail address:
  • IWDG Welfare Officer Recruitment

    In order to support the organisation and provide opportunities for membership involvement in the work of the IWDG we are seeking to appoint a Welfare Officer.

    The Welfare Officer will be expected to work with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Co-ordinator and the Board of Directors (BoD) to develop welfare policies and actions to assist in the protection of cetaceans and their habitats in Ireland. The officer would be expected to familiarise themselves with international best practice in the area of cetacean welfare and conservation.

    The Welfare Officer will be required to operate within the IWDG's recently published Welfare Policy Document and updated Face to Face with a Beached whale publication. The Welfare Officer will also be expected to develop a programme of live stranding courses around Ireland utilizing IWDG training resources such as whale pontoons, inflatable whale and dolphin models, IWDG literature and deliver a training course on whale entanglement.  The officer will be encouraged to seek funding for welfare projects.  

    The successful applicant will have a good knowledge of current cetacean welfare best practice and procedures along with good communication skills. A science background is desirable. Officers can be based anywhere but are expected to attend officer meetings, typically held in the IWDG Offices at Kilrush Co. Clare. 

    Please write a brief application letter and CV if interested. Any IWDG member may apply to be appointed as an officer but it is preferable that a member only holds one officer position at any one time.

    Officers will be appointed by the IWDG BoD or its representative. All appointed officers will be subject to the policies, protocols, and ethos of the IWDG and may make recommendations on policy matters while reporting to the BoD and at the AGM for consideration. 

    Officers will be encouraged to set up a working group to include other interested IWDG members to carry out the welfare work programme. They will be expected to contribute and implement relevant actions agreed in the current IWDG 3-Year Plan. Officers may be reimbursed for expenses incurred where such expenses have been authorised in advance by the CEO and the position will be reviewed by the BoD on an annual basis. 

    For more information on this position please contact: or

    phone 065 9051763.

    E-mail address:
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