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 Joan Jordan talks about foot-drop and the implications it has for her daily life. Talk about issues with your doctor, seek referrals or book an appointment if this is something that is affecting you. Like many of my M.S symptoms, foot-drop crept up on me over time. The best way I can describe it is that the process of lifting my foot sufficient height to walk effortlessly doesn’t happen. My foot catches on low obstacles (like carpet pile) and I need to make a conscious action to lift my weak foot when walking. Stairs are the hardest because I need to raise my foot the correct distance so I don’t miss and trip. Things get worse as the day goes on and flat, light shoes help. I have tried a device under the supervision of my physiotherapist and the electric signal really did make my foot move appropriately (albeit involuntarily!). I think I would get used to the sensation over time but for now- I am minimising the amount of walking I do and practising the exercises I have learned in yoga class to keep my foot mobile. I’m not a physio- so my best advice if you are experiencing foot-drop is to contact one and make an appointment. I would recommend you ask around people in your area with similar symptoms to see who they favour. Do tell your neurologist when you visit them to get their advice too. I occasionally get called out by people who don’t know I have Multiple Sclerosis for being lazy. Explaining my illness to them generally works. I don’t go into too much detail- I just tell them that I find walking long distances difficult because my right foot drops when I attempt to lift it. Generally people understand and are aware of my situation in the future. When walking is required- I always ask in advance if the “5-minute stroll” really is an accurate estimation. I know how far I can walk and trying to keep up with a gang of energetic power-walkers when I am past my limit is not good. I always calculate my route when travelling to avoid unnecessary steps and am realistic with friends when we plan events involving much walking. It’s tough sometimes when my kids want me to join in with activities requiring a lot of footsteps. We usually find a compromise and it doesn’t get to me so much anymore. Do you experience foot drop and how do you manage it? Looking forward to hearing from you!
We are live streaming talks from our 'Living Well with MS' Conference in Sligo this Saturday, September 23rd. You can join us on the day from anywhere around the world... We are delighted to welcome our guest speakers: Dr. Orla Gray, Neurologist, Queens Hospital, Belfast @ 10am Dr. Deirdre Corby, DCU School of Nursing @ 11am Dr. Sinead Hynes, OT, NUIG @ 12.15pm Dympna McNamee, Social Worker @ 2.30pm Tune in on Saturday, 23rd September from 9.45am. Click the link below and join the conversation. #MSLiving https://youtu.be/Bj8_Ug7ftMM
Exploring Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Social Asymmetry as predictors of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Multiple Sclerosis Gary Tracy, a PhD student from NUI Maynooth, is conducting a study looking at how people act in response to receiving a diagnosis of a chronic medical illness (i.e., Multiple Sclerosis). Aim of study This study is interested in evaluating if posttraumatic stress is common among individuals who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Additionally, this study will consider how factors such as loneliness and/or social factors such as social isolation can influence how likely a person is to experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress following a diagnosis of a chronic illness. What do I have to do? Participants would be required, on one occasion, to complete a questionnaire booklet containing numerous psychological measures. The duration of completing the questionnaire booklet is approximately 20 to 30 minutes. To participate, please follow the following link Further informaton Information is available in the Participant Information Leaflet. If you require further information regarding any aspect of the proposed study now or at any time in the future, please contact the researcher Gary Treacy on 087-6511659
This week Niamh McCarron describes what it is like when 'MS Fatigue' sneaks up and a different day might be lined up for her! I had great plans for today! Today could have been the day I changed the world. I was going to conquer my to-do list and have a good hair day. My MS had a different plan, however, and in the battle of good (me) versus evil (MS), MS won. I was hit by a wave of fatigue that meant instead of hopping out of bed to face my Saturday, I dragged myself through the motions of breakfast, showering and back to bed again. Fatigue is a common symptom of MS. Some of my friends with MS live with fatigue a lot, almost all the time. Others won’t have it at all for ages, and then get hit with it out of the blue. In my experience, it gradually builds up without me noticing. For me, it will often come on after a period of being very busy at work or not taking care of myself properly - those weeks when I rush around having spaghetti hoops for dinner while the vegetables in my fridge start to lose the will to live. I can get away with it for so long, before fatigue will remind me that I need to stop. Slow down. Take a breath. Fatigue is a hard symptom to describe to people. I mean, I can say that it is tiredness, but everyone gets tired. My friends with small kids, or who work long shifts at work, know all about being tired. Most days I feel tired myself. Fatigue is different. When it sneaks up on me, it’s like walking in wet sand, while wearing really soggy clothes that drag you down. My arms and legs get slow and stubborn, and moving quickly isn’t an option. My brain slows down, and concentration escapes me. The tiredness goes into my bones- every part of me needs to rest and to sleep. Fatigue robs me of my time. When I have made plans to do things, and I can’t physically get them done, it’s frustrating and upsetting. It robs me of my concentration; tasks that should come easily to me are foggy and harder to process. I push through as hard as I can while at work, to suffer the aftereffects when I get home that evening. Going to bed for a quick nap at 6pm can lead to sleeping through until the next morning. It robs me off my family; it’s not fun for my husband to have Sleeping Beauty snoring upstairs while he takes over all the household chores. Fatigue has also taught me to (try to) be patient and kind to myself. Fighting it too hard just makes it worse. It is better to give in sooner rather than later! So today, I had planned to go to Town. To have a nosey around the sales and see what was happening in the world. Instead I woke up tired, after a long night’s sleep and felt my entire body shout at me to stop. Slow down. Take a breath. Plans were quickly abandoned, and I spent the entire day in bed, sleeping and reading a bit and giving myself permission to just “be” rather than “do”. Tomorrow, I plan to get up, face the day and go for a stroll. MS might have a different day lined up for me. And that will be ok too!
Today, 13th September we celebrate one of our all-time favourite children’s authors and friend of the MS Readathon, the legendary man that is Roald Dahl. As we step into this magnificent world of childlike imagination and wonder we can’t help but notice that his books are still as fantastic today as they were when we were your age! Roald Dahl is a man that needs little introduction and if we were to tell you all of the reasons why we have chosen to celebrate his works over other authors we would be here a very long time! We are so looking forward to this week when we get to lose ourselves in this fantastical world where anything is possible. Isn’t that the point of reading? When you pick up any of Dahl’s books you know you’re about to be transported to a topsy-turvy world where the witty language is as inventive as the characters using it. One of our most treasured Dahl-isms is actually from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but originates in the timeless book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Willy Wonka is talking about some of the things the children can taste in his lickable wallpaper room. He then says matter-of-factly, “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.” Veruca Salt responds, “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?” Wonka puts an end to this by simply stating, “We are the music-makers, and we are the makers of dreams.” It doesn’t matter one bit that we don’t know what a snozzberry is, now does it? The point is that you should never stop using your imagination. It can be whatever you want it to be! Dahl has created so many stories within so many books and each is as varied as the last. One of the things that makes a Roald Dahl story different from any other is his unique ability to take the fantastical and make it seem completely normal. The BFG being the perfect example – shortly into the book there is no doubt left and you begin to believe that there are Big Friendly Giants out there delivering good dreams to children! But of course, Dahl was also a poet and what a scrumptious collection of poems he left behind! If you haven’t read Revolting Rhymes we insist that you go to your local library and find it today! Each poem is based on a traditional fairytale but naturally Dahl wanted to put even more magic into the tales so he created his own endings to wow all of his little readers. Children’s literature owes a lot to Roald Dahl and we are so thankful he shared his wonderful imagination with us. Now go pick up one of his books, open your imagination and enter the lickswishy world of Roald Dahl. Open a wonderful world of adventure and imagination through reading for a great cause and sign up to the MS Readathon
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