Irene (or Irini as her family calls her) was a young Greek woman arrested for prostitution. She was unable to speak English, making her arrest and admittance to Wentworth a traumatic and confusing experience. She had to rely on Karen Travers for some support, although Karen only had an understanding of basic Greek herself.
Irene's fiancee rejected her after her arrest. She is also unable to count on any help from her brother who is an illegal immigrant, like Irene. It's eventually revealed she was blackmailed into prostitution due to being an illegal immigrant.
Irene is eventually released from Wentworth when her bail is paid only to be arrested outside the gates, and immediately deported.
Maria Mercedes also played Yemil Bakarta later in the series.