MS Ireland is governed by a Board of voluntary members. These members have a wide range of experience and skill. Some have MS themselves or have family members with MS. Others have long careers in business, social services and other areas. The Board promotes the vision and aims of the Society and charges the Chief Executive to meet these aims through the various departments, services and resources of the Society.
Mr. Paddy Stronge, Chairman
Paddy worked for over 40 years in Bank of Ireland and since his retirement he has been involved in training and consultancy both in Ireland and overseas. He has lectured in Finance for the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, the Irish Institute of Bankers and the National College of Ireland. He is a qualified accountant and has been a director of a number of companies. He was financial adviser to the Dublin Simon Community for many years. He has also contributed articles in national newspapers on banking and finance matters. Paddy would like to assist in the activities of MS Ireland particularly as some family members have been diagnosed with MS.
Mr Robin Bradley
Robin Bradley is a highly experienced company director and business transformation project manager. He is an ex banker who spent over thirty years analysing SME’s and large Corporate clients. He is a former member of the board of the Irish Credit Bureau. He brings experience in business management and strategic planning. He has worked abroad for many years and currently is a self employed financial consultant. Robin holds an MSC in organisational behaviour from Trinity College Dublin, a B.A in business studies from West London University and is a Qualified Financial Adviser from the Institute of Bankers in Dublin.
Robin is married with two children, living in Dublin.
Robin has a sister who is in long term care and is keen to lend his skills to MS Ireland which does so much to improve peoples lives.
Ms. Noelle Burke
Noelle Burke is the HR Director for RSA Insurance in Ireland. She is a Human Resources Professional with over 16 years’ experience in Technology, Manufacturing and Financial Services industries in Ireland & EMEA. She has a Masters in Strategic HR leadership and believes her greatest learnings have been from some of the brilliant leaders and mentors she has met throughout her career. She has enjoyed years of fun and success creating people focussed HR Strategies and delivering results through others.
Noelle has been involved in activities and fund raising for a number of communities and charities. She is married to Keith and lives in Kildare.
Noelle became interested in MS Ireland after a number of people in her life shared how their lives had been impacted by an MS diagnosis. She is keen to contribute in a positive way to allow those living with MS in Ireland flourish and reach their potential.
Mr. Thomas Cronin
Tom was married to Ellen for 27 years. Ellen lived with MS for 21 years and she sadly passed away in 2004. Tom aims to apply his personal experience of living with a Person with MS, to the decisions being made at Board level and would aim thereby to improve the quality of life for People with MS, whenever possible.
Tom has one daughter and lives in Mallow, Co. Cork. He is a retired telephone technician having worked with Eircom for 37 years. Tom is very active in the community. He is a member of the Cork City Branch of MS Ireland. He is former Chairman of the Branch. He is currently President of Mallow Credit Union, is a member of the local Board of MABS (Money Advise and Budgeting Service) in Mallow. He also sits on a committee dealing with dementia care and awareness in the community. Tom recently completed a Certificate in Credit Union Governance from UCC.
Ms. Marcella Flood, Deputy Chairperson
Marcella is Head of Digital Transformation at Allianz Worldwide Care. She is a passionate people manager with over 29 years' experience in Financial Services, Operations and Technology. She started her career in the technology group at Bank of Ireland, but has also been involved in 3 start-ups, as well as large corporates such as Microsoft. She completed a Bachelor's Degree in Science at University College Dublin in 1988 and a Master's Degree in Business Administration at UCD Smurfit School in 1998, and more recently a Diploma in Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors. Marcella is married with two children, living in South County Dublin.
Some of Marcella's family members have been diagnosed with MS, and so she is keen to contribute to the Society's aims of supporting those living with MS to live positive and active lives.
Mr. Ian MacDougald
Ian MacDougald is the Country Manager for Vifor Pharmaceuticals in Ireland. He has worked in commercial roles in the pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years and has extensive knowledge of the Irish healthcare system from interacting with various hospital specialties and primary care healthcare providers.
He studied science at University College Dublin, before taking a Masters in International Business Administration in Bournemouth University. He also holds a graduate diploma in Management Practice from NUI Galway.
Ian has been a member of the Sustainability Committee (sub-committee of the Board of MS Ireland since 2015).
Ian is married with two children and lives very close to the MS Care Centre.
Mr. Rory Mulcahy SC
Rory Mulcahy is a Senior Counsel, dealing mainly with commercial, construction and planning disputes, and public law cases. He has also acted frequently for regulatory authorities, such as the Medical Council and the Nursing Board, in fitness to practise inquiries.
He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, before taking the Barrister-at-Law degree at the King's Inns. He also holds an LLM in Human Rights and Discrimination Law from Queen's University, Belfast, and a Diploma in Arbitration from University College, Dublin. He was called to the Bar in 1998 and was made a Senior Counsel in 2014.
He lives in Dublin, and is married with three children.
Mr. Maurice O’Connor
Maurice has twice experienced MS in his immediate and extended family. His brother Kieran (RIP, 2008) was diagnosed with MS in the early 1990’s and as a child his family often visited a cousin of his father’s who also had MS.
Since taking voluntary severance from a senior management position in ESB in 2012, Maurice has worked as a volunteer with MS Ireland in its South East Regional Office in Kilkenny. Maurice is also a member of the Secretariat of the Kilkenny County Public Participation Network.
While in ESB, Maurice, a Civil Engineer by training, held down a wide variety of roles such as IT project management, commercial and property portfolio management, health and safety management and procurement strategy. Maurice also trained and practiced as a business coach in ESB.
Maurice became a member of MSI’s Governance Committee in 2014.
He also loves playing, recording and listening to music, and has recently taken courses on disability equality and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
Ms. Anne Restan (Bio and photo for insertion)
Ms. Mary Sheahan Lonergan
Mary has been a member of MSI since 1984 and in those years has been elected to various roles within the Fermoy branch, presently she is the Chairperson.
She is a “hands on” individual & thrives when organising, publicising and marketing the Fermoy Branch fundraising events. She is always looking for new ways to engage with the public, encouraging volunteerism & at the same time raising the profile of the society.
Mary is passionate about people’s ‘well-being’ & the society’s aim for supporting all those living with MS to live active & positive lives. Her connection & (involvement) within the local community affords her the ideal opportunity to promote, educate, encourage people to participate and engage with the society.“ The society has to have the necessary resources to function, we must be aware of opportunities, and we must also create opportunities, because standing still is not an option if we are to deliver the services & supports our members need and deserve”
Mary is a Kerry native, lives in Fermoy, Co. Cork.
This week from the MS & Me archives series - Declan Groeger discusses MS guilt. Greetings fellow travellers on the long, winding, pot hole strewn road that is Multiple Sclerosis! Have you ever sat at home doing absolutely nothing while your significant other was busy doing housework or other necessary jobs like gardening? Did you ever get that uninvited thought run through your mind like a ‘Will O’ The Wisp’ flitting around inside your head “If only I could do more?” And then the thought vanishes almost as quickly as it appeared. It is then replaced by a healthy dose of realism. All those trite one-liners spring to mind in rapid succession; wake up and smell the coffee, get real, get a grip. Realistically there’s not a chance of that happening. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Jean and I have been married since 1979 and I was diagnosed with MS in 1988. There are times when I still feel peculiar about not ‘pulling my weight’ in the household. It’s not really guilt but it’s very close. Maybe it’s more a male hunter/gatherer thing and the consequent feeling of inadequacy and inability to do’stuff’. Jean knows as much about MS as I do and my ‘idleness’ is never an issue for her but sometimes it’s an issue for me. This is one facet of MS Guilt. There are a large variety of symptoms associated with MS and I think that I have escaped very lightly with my particular MS. I feel peculiar about that when I meet other people whose MS has progressed more rapidly than mine. This is absolutely illogical because I don’t feel jealous when I meet others whose MS is less debilitating than mine. In fact I wish them well and hope that their wellness will continue far into the future. Another facet of MS Guilt? I go to the gym a number of times a week for 30 to 45 minute sessions. I’m working hard to stay as fit and mobile as possible but the gym work is not translating into ‘house fitness’. I feel guilty about that. Am I being selfish in maintaining my gym regime? 30 minutes in the gym requires 2 -3 hours rest after. Would I feel less guilty if I did 30 minutes of housework and then rested? Probably. More MS Guilt? These guilt thoughts usually manifest themselves when I am feeling less than 100% and they are usually short lived. I don’t feel guilty for having MS and on an intellectual level I know that the guilt I sometimes feel is irrational and illogical but I can’t do anything about it. Or can I? If you agree with the premise that worry is a waste of time then MS Guilt is an even bigger waste. Can anything be done with these useless, energy sapping, feelings? Mindfulness and Yoga are good weapons in the battle against MS Guilt. Does anybody else feel like this? And if so, what do you do about it? Originally published June 2015
MS Ireland has published our Pre-Budget Submission for 2018. Our key asks are: Investment of €3 million in neurology services Investment of €7 million in neurorehabilitation services Investment of €50 million in community services for people with disabilities €30 million increase for the Housing Adaptation Grant scheme Automatic entitlement to a GP Visit Card for those in receipt of the Long Term Illness Scheme Read our Pre-Budget Submission here. This submission has been prepared by Harriet Doig, Information, Advocacy and Research Officer. Questions and comments can be directed to email@example.com
and the lucky winners are... The draw for our Annual Summer Raffle took place on Friday, 21st July at our National Office. Taking some time out from her training for the upcoming Women's Rugby World Cup, Jenny Murphy popped into HQ for our Summer Raffle draw. We are delighted to announce this year’s winners: 1st prize: Michelle O’Connor, Dublin 2nd prize: Eilish Boyle, Cork 3rd prize: A. Costello, Galway Congratulations to all our winners and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported this year’s Summer Raffle. The funds raised will make a huge difference to services in our Care Centre.
Continual delays in reimbursement of new medications One year ago, the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) made a Framework Agreement with the Irish government on the pricing and supply of medicines. The agreement had two purposes (1) to save money and (2) to have timely access to medicines in the Irish health services. A year on, there are still serious delays in new medications being made available in Ireland. Ireland currently ranks 16th out of 26 countries in Europe in terms of the number of authorised medicines being made available and a number of medications that have been approved for reimbursement by the HSE are being referred to the Department of Health due to a lack of available funding. Of nine medications currently awaiting approval by the Department of Health, it has been 2½ years on average since the outcome of the HSE’s ‘Rapid Review’ (which is carried out to determine if a full health technology assessment (HTA) to assess the cost-effectiveness of a medication is required). MS Ireland believes that these delays in making new medications available are unacceptable, particularly given the strong scientific evidence that the earlier after diagnosis someone with MS is treated with an appropriate medication, the better their long term outcomes will be. There are some potential new therapies for MS in the pipeline, including two new treatments currently under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If licensed, MS Ireland believes these treatments should be made available to people with MS in Ireland as soon as possible and we call on all parties involved to try and find solutions to the problems with the current systems for medications access. Further reading Read the full press release from IPHA Read MS Ireland’s Briefing Document on the Systems in Ireland for Medications Access and Reimbursement Read MS Ireland’s Time to Act Report on Early Diagnosis and Treatment
This week from the MS & Me archives series - Lucina Russell discusses how words people use to speak about people with MS has an impact on our identity. There’s also mention of dating and road frontage! I’ve always hated labels. As a child, it was the itchy, scratchy ones on the back of new tee-shirts that had to be cut off before wearing them. In later years, it’s the other ‘labels’ that have caused me more discomfort. The labels that stick, that brand you. The ones that are hard to shake off once you have them. Ones like ‘MS Sufferer’. Big label. Huge connotations. I should say that I absolutely and respectfully acknowledge that there are many people with Multiple Sclerosis whose journey with this illness is a lot rockier than mine, who ‘suffer’ more than I. I am conscious of those people particularly when I write this and I understand that they may disagree with me, because their experiences are different than mine and may feel that their rockier road should be recognised as such. However, I write this taking a broad view, thinking of myself and the many people that I have encountered who have MS since my diagnosis. When you apply the ‘MS (or other chronic medical condition) sufferer’ label, you are allowing the label to consume the person, with the individual coming a close second. The media are divils for it. Maybe ‘MS sufferer’ makes a better headline than ‘person with MS’, but in my opinion, it’s neither a useful nor always accurate description. To me, that horrible noun takes away their humanity, their personality and suggests other words like ‘invalid’ ‘victim’ and even ‘martyr’. It’s not how I want my children to speak of me, even if my health deteriorates. The people with MS that I know are citizens, tax payers, parents, lovers, advocates, sisters, brothers, bloggers, daughters, sons, engineers, philosophers, fundraisers, athletes, who also happen to be have a common monkey on their back. And deal with it they do. With courage, dignity, zest, humour and yes, at times, with anger, disillusion, disappointment and fear. While I am on my soap box, the phrase ‘MS patient’ bothers me too. It conjures up images of a person passively nodding in agreement to the words of the Master. Most people I know with MS are very well informed, active and educated participants in the decision making around their wellness and health care plan. In my opinion, a person with MS, or any other illness is only a ‘patient’ when they are in a consultation with, or being treated by their GP, neurologist, or other specialist. Once they walk out of that room, they are back to regular old Citizen Me, getting on with life. Perhaps it would be useful to apply these labels to two personality profiles, one looking for a new job and the other, a date ‘Award-winning civil engineer with 20 years’ experience on large scale international project and Multiple Sclerosis Sufferer seeks exciting new challenge’ or ‘Twenty-something fun loving girl, with ten acres, including road frontage, looking for a man to share her dreams. MS patient’ To me, the ‘award-winning’ engineer and even the much sought-after ‘road frontage’ pales into the background, with the medical condition to the fore, in bright shiny lights. On a number of occasions, I have contacted radio stations and newspapers about their use of the phrase ‘MS sufferer’, to ask them to consider their use of language, but I have yet to receive a response from any of them. That won’t stop me from calling them out about the lazy linguistic choices that put me and other people with MS in badly-labelled boxes. Maybe the words they use don’t really matter to them, but they do to me. For now, I’ll put away my soap box, but in an easily accessible place!
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