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.
Ms. Marcella Flood, 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 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 has been a council rep on the board of MS Ireland for the last 3 years. He continues to apply his first hand 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 of persons with MS wherever possible. With the increased volume of governance and oversight required under the Charities Acts, Tom is very aware of the commitment required to fulfil his duties to the best of his ability and contribute to the success of the society going forward at branch, council and board level
Particularly over the last year as a member of the Governance Committee he has attended at least 7 meetings in addition to the usual bi-monthly board meetings to review the Constitution of the MS Society and recently the committee has commenced reviewing the Bye laws. He also has attended a number of Regional Meetings, Branch AGMs and ordinary branch meetings on behalf of the board of MS Ireland.
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 and former Chairman of the Cork City Branch of MS Ireland. He is currently Vice President of Mallow Credit Union having previously served as President for 4 yrs. He is treasurer of the local Board of MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) in Mallow. He is a very active member of Mallow Development Partnership, a voluntary organisation set up to improve everyday life in the town in the area of Industry, Education, Science, Innovation etc. Tom has a Certificate in Credit Union Governance from UCC.
Dr. Edwina Dunne
Edwina has over 37 years national and international experience in health and social care services, across the public and private sector. She is driven by her passion to enable people deliver quality services and provide assurance on the level of compliance with standards regulations and policy. Edwina has extensive experience, knowledge, commitment and reputation as a practitioner, educationalist, leader and manager across corporate, clinical health and social care services. She has worked in large and small organisations, HSE, NHS, Canadian Hospitals and now with nursing homes.
Edwina started as an Occupational Therapist, moved into therapy management, healthcare management, key qualification here in OD, MSC Healthcare Management., and finally into senior national management in HSE, additionally, achieving a Doctorate in Business Administration DBA. .
Key recent: Edwina was the first head of Quality and Risk in the HSE, as an assistant National Director for Assurance She was the instigator, established and managed the national Healthcare audit service similar to (Internal audit) for clinical and social care services. As was the subject of her Doctorate she develops teams, gives people voice and encourages staff to think creatively and question ways of working and learning. She has an ability to identify where policy and procedure can be improved, engaging with staff at all levels to understand what standards and regulations mean in practice
Edwina retired from the HSE 2016, and now works as an ‘Empowering consultant’ (building capacity) with organisations in supporting compliance with HIQA regulations including as a member of the national Ambulance Service, national Quality and Safety Committee.
Edwina has one daughter who has twins and three sons, youngest son in final year in college.
Edwina enjoys living near Wexford town and near Curracloe beach.
Ms. Jacinta Kelly
Jacinta has more than fifteen year’s International Sales & Marketing experience, and a verifiable track record of achieving revenue, profit and market growth objectives, having held senior positions with blue-chip organisations, including Ericsson AB, VWR International, P&O Group & Exel Logistics (Deutsche Post).
In 2009, Jacinta took the decision to leave a full-time and travel demanding-career to take on, what she describes as her most rewarding and fulfilling role to-date, that of part-time carer for her father when his mobility became impaired resulting from stroke. At that time, motivated by a need to be based in Dublin and have flexible working hours, Jacinta established Firm Thinking, a freelance strategic marketing consultancy that works with large and SME clients in both private and charitable sectors formulating business & market growth strategy. In her capacity as freelance consultant, Jacinta has led the successful delivery of large scale strategic marketing consulting projects, covering areas such as business product launch, marketing strategy, on-line digital strategy, brand strategy and marketing communications.
Mr. Eugene Kearney
I have Multiple Sclerosis, as did my father and one of my cousins. I was diagnosed in 1990 at the age of 34.
I cannot overstate how valuable the services provided by MS Ireland, particularly by the Louth Branch and NE Region, have been to me and the many others who live each day with MS. These are services which must not only be protected but expanded.
My qualifications are in Industrial Engineering, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Following some years in Management Consultancy, I worked for 35 years with SIPTU, initially providing a technical perspective on issues which arose in all types of employment situations and had a national brief. As MS affected my mobility I worked as a Financial Analyst and Researcher and am now retired. I have also lectured at Third Level.
I have served as Board Member, Chair and Secretary of a number of NGO's over the years.
My professional and personal experiences allow me to offer a different and very necessary perspective to the work of the Society.
I am married with one daughter and live in County Louth.
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, Deputy Chairperson
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).
Mr. Martin Power
Martin is chief Risk Officer at Octium, an international life company and a subsidiary of Banque Havilland in Luxembourg, He is an accountant with over 30 years in Financial Services in Investments, Risk and Financial Management. He started his career in Irish Life and was involved in a number of IFSC life companies such as SEB, Handelsbanken and Mediolanum. He is a Certified Accountant (FCCA) 1986, Retirement Planning 2015 with LIA and Operational risk with the Institute of Bankers.
Martin married with six children, living in Clontarf, Dublin.
Martin’s brother in law and one of his colleagues in Irish Life have been diagnosed with MS and he would like use his expertise to substantially improve the lives of those with MS.
Ms. Anne Restan
Anne is a lawyer working for the State in public law for the past 20 years having practiced as a barrister for 8 years before that. In her current role, she has gained a sound practical understanding of the importance and requirements of structured corporate governance. Anne also has a sound working knowledge of the framework within which MSI and its Board must operate.
Anne is a member of MSI’s Governance Committee and is the National Contact person for the People with MS Advisory Committee which advises the Board of MSIF (International Federation). She is a member of MSI’s Council, nominated by the South Dublin voluntary branch. Anne has been involved at all levels in the South Dublin Branch since its re-establishment several years ago
Anne lives in Dublin and is married with two daughters.
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.
On this Valentine’s Day when many of us choose to celebrate romantic love, Christina McDonald and Niall McGahon give us their take on MS and Romance. Christina We see it all around us. On the streets, in movies and in songs, love and romance. They are everyone’s desire at some point. I was diagnosed at 26 in the common age range for an MS diagnosis (20s-40s). These are also the years seen as someone’s prime years- in college, looking for love, perhaps settling in with someone, building a career, getting married and all the typical life-steps. MS at times has changed how I view myself as a woman. Questions constantly loom such as “am I a burden for my partner?” or “am I still attractive when my symptoms peak?” or “have I embarrassed you in public? “Am I still fun to be around when my fatigue is bad? Sometimes I wish I could be more spontaneous and that I had more energy like I used to before MS. It can be difficult to maintain a romantic relationship when you’re living with MS but with two people who compromise and understand the difficulties that may arise from MS, they can plan around what suits their needs and keep the spark alight. The thing is, I am not my disease, I am not MS. While those questions might go through my mind, I know that when my partner looks at me, she still sees the person that she fell in love with and not the condition. Although we might not go out for date nights as much as we used to, we still make a joint effort in bringing a date night to us. This includes nights in with a movie and takeaway - Netflix and chilling out. We tend to do things earlier so that I have more energy. Compromise is key for myself and my partner when it comes to MS and romance. I see myself as lucky because I had found “the one” before my diagnosis so I didn’t have to worry about how to tell someone I’m dating about my condition. My partner has been with me every step of the way. Niall’s Perspective I think it’s fair to be said most men don’t live up to the Hollywood romance and the way it’s sometimes portrayed but god do we try our best! By the time of my diagnosis at the age of 34, I had met my beautiful wife and we were 4 years married. We now have a beautiful son and another on the way. Like Christina, I never had to go through the process of having to tell someone about my condition. I thank god every day for that because without my wife going through this process with me, I don’t think I would be as strong as I am now. One of the definitions I found for Romance was: “feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life” Quite apt for both MS and romance with a loved one. The illness fills your head full of mystery about the future and sometimes pulls you back and isolates you into a remote-ness from your everyday life. MS gives you a kick in the nuts, excuse the pun, from an in-timacy perspective. I’ve found myself questioning myself on countless occasions “Jesus you’re useless…”, “how embarrassing…” and as time progresses this can eat at you and sometimes it’s easier not to try. Thankfully I get a kick up the ass and get pulled out of whatever dark room I may have entered. All because the person who, 13 years ago filled my head full of mystery of what could be, of excitement of what was to come, took me to a remote place that was only her and I. To me romance is not necessarily about the big gestures; it may have been that a few years ago. Sometimes the smallest of things can be the most romantic. The spontaneous back and foot rub, the dinner made or simply the holding of hands. These all may seem the easiest for most. However when you have little feeling in your dominant hand these tasks become even more challenging but more enjoyable and appreciated when they are done. Christina is right, Netflix and chilling on our own sofa is a bloody good date night too! My perspective on life with MS is about team work. Like Christina, we are not MS, it doesn’t define us. We have the full understanding that the love that we first found all those years ago is not going to be broken by MS, we are only going to get stronger. Ro-mance is not dead, it has just taken on a different form and that’s ok because it will never disappear.
Research Request What is Parental self-efficacy? Parental self-efficacy describes the beliefs one has of their ability to manage and perform the role of parenting successfully. Who is carrying out this study? Rachel Mc Laughlin is a 4th-year Occupational Therapy student in NUI Galway. This research is being completed with a final year university project. This study will run between January and April, 2019. Aim of study Your participation in this study will add to knowledge on how MS can affect parents, specifically through levels of fatigue and parental self-efficacy. It is hoped that this information will lead to an improvement in health services in the future. Who can participate A parent with MS with a child/children between 2-18 years old? If you are interested in participating in a study looking at the impact of fatigue on parenting please read the information sheet to find out more about this study and if you are eligible to participate Get in touch Contact the researcher at firstname.lastname@example.org who will happily answer any questions that you may have.
We are so excited to announce that we have teamed up with Emma Larkin, a jewellery designer who is based in Galway. Emma has designed these small little kisses to wear on your lovely lobes. So now you can show your support and help us Kiss Goodbye to MS! Emma is supporting our Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign as MS is a condition that she has been surrounded by for her whole life. Emma’s mum was diagnosed with MS before she was born. “I am aware of the good and the bad days that MS can bring but I think trying to have a positive attitude, can go a long way. My mum has been a great support in my life so it means a lot for me to take part in this Kiss Goodbye MS campaign”. Emma has recently started her own jewellery business and her work is on sale both online and in selected shops. You can check out more of Emma’s amazing designs here. So what are you waiting for? These stunning Kiss Goodbye to MS lip earrings are subtle and add a touch of glamour to your everyday! So head to our shop or call one of our team on 01 6781620 to place your order today! Our earrings are priced at €11.00 including post and packaging. 50% of the cost will do directly to Kiss Goodbye to MS.
Research Request We have been approached by a postgraduate student of psychology at Trinity College who is researching whether young people aged 14 -18 years who live with chronic pain have different worries and beliefs about worry, from their counterparts who do not live with chronic pain. Aim of study This study is the first step in understanding beliefs about pain and about worry in a sample of adolescents, who experience chronic pain, and to compare and contrast this with a sample of adolescents who do not experience pain. Get in touch If this is a study you would like to take part in, please email Aoife email@example.com
To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February, this week our MS and Me blogger Ciara O’Meara highlights the women of science and innovation who have changed the world for us all. The importance of science is too great to ever be underestimated or underappreciated. Without developments and continued progress and innovation in the world of science, we would not have the knowledge and information to understand the behaviour of the world around us. My own thinking on science has evolved dramatically throughout my own life journey. From a naïve and frustrated Leaving Certificate Chemistry student, I am now an avid subscriber to scientific research based journals and a research contributor. My initial train of thought on this topic ran something like this: Marie Curie- The first person to win a Nobel Prize in two different fields for her ground breaking work on radioactivity, Leaving Certificate Chemistry- the fear of remembering the difference between organic and inorganic compounds and that dreaded periodic table Florence Nightingale- the founder of modern nursing and instigator of professional training standards and better health outcomes Fourth Year Bachelors Degree Nursing Research Proposal- literature reviews were the bane of my life and this concept of methodology and sample size was seriously impacting on my RAG week preparations Dr. Rita Levi- Montalcini- Nobel Prize Recipient for her work on neurobiology. Dr. Montalcini also carried out research in conjunction with the National MS Society on identifying proteins that help nerve cells grow and stay healthy. The pride and sense of achievement and empowerment when I handed in my own Masters Research Dissertation on ‘Parent’s Experiences of a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis in their young adult sons/daughters’. Science can no longer be considered a male-dominated area; women and girls have always had a critical role in scientific research and development. And continue to do so. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development focuses on the importance of science, empowerment and gender equality to achieve their identified goals. Given that less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and in tandem with the UN’s goals for sustainable development, The United Nations General Assembly declared February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Women are more at risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis in comparison to our male counterparts. Given this female dominance, it seems only right to give credit to some of the women and girls who have contributed to recent scientific research and development in the field of MS. Maria Howard, MD at Harvard Medical School (2018), focused her research on pregnancy and MS. Given the diagnosis of MS in women of childbearing age, her research examined annual pregnancy rates between women with and without MS and also studied medical insurance claims made in terms of complications which occurred post pregnancy. Her results were promising with an increase in women with MS becoming pregnant in comparison to a decrease in pregnancies among women without MS between 2006-2014. Medical claims relating to difficulties encountered post partum, i.e. birth complications, premature labours, were similar in statistics between women with and without MS. Her research, in tandem with other studies, strengthens the understanding among women that pregnancy does not necessarily affect the long term clinical course of MS and can be done so successfully with the support and monitoring of health care professionals, new treatments and continued research. The importance of early screening and recognition of cognitive impairments in people living with MS has been highlighted through the work of Dr Rosalind Kalb (2018). Her research has focused on the importance of establishing standard baseline assessments for cognition, appropriate treatments, increased awareness and education among healthcare professionals and stricter monitoring. This initial research by Dr Kalb on the importance of cognitive health and monitoring among people with MS has paved the way for future researchers to develop on this identified need and work on tools to address these issues Scientific Research in the field of MS is developing daily and women and girls are playing a more prominent role in their contribution to the field. There is an increase in female led research in the areas of drug therapy, complementary therapies for MS and an increase in the number of grants, funding and research scholarships awarded to females. February 11th is one day to mark the role that women and girls play in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Let’s encourage, empower and support girls and women every other day of the year. #WomenInScience #WomenInResearch Check out these resources for further reading on scientists mentioned in the piece: Maria Howard’s Research on Pregnancy ttp://n.neurology.org/content/91/17/e1559 United Nations Homepage on International day of Women and Girls in Science http://www.un.org/en/events/women-and-girls-in-science-day/ Female Scientists that have changed the world https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/17-top-female-scientists-who-have-changed-the-worl/ Research on Cognitive Impairment and Recommendations for MS https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1352458518803785
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