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 a Director in the operations group at Microsoft Ireland. She is a passionate people manager with over 25 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, before moving to Microsoft in 2010. She completed a Bachelor's Degree in Business with University College Dublin in 1988 and a Master Degree in Business Administration with UCD Smurfit School in 1998.
Marcella is married with two children, living in South County Dublin.
Marcella is keen to contribute to the Societies 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.
In the lead up to World MS Day 2017, MS & Me blogger, Trevis L Gleason gets behind this year’s theme Life with MS It could be said that I often quip about my multiple sclerosis as a coping mechanism. “Sure,” I’m oft heard saying when someone bemoans my disease more than I do, “We’ve all got something and there ain’t none of us getting out of here alive!” Is a favorite, as well as, “Better bad breath than no breath.” I’ve learned to take the things that MS (and life) hands me in the stride of existence. This isn’t always easy, particularly when my ‘stride’ is an MS gait which looks like I’m the monster from a bad Frankenstein remake or a hobbled gunslinger from the KO’d corral. Perhaps I can keep up this pithy attitude for the sake of appearances, or more likely, I must in defense of my own sanity. Forsooth, “If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry… and I’ve cried enough about MS” has got to be the truest of my ironies. My life with MS – as much as I can possibly make it – is about the living party. I get sad, have had bouts with MS-related depression and am sometimes even angry about what I can no longer do, just like anyone else who has heard the words, “You have multiple sclerosis”. But until they hang a tag on my toes, I’m going to drag them in the sand, dip them in the tide and dirty them in the garden. Which brings me to a raspberry seed that’s been stuck in my wisdom tooth since I first moved to Ireland nearly 5 years ago. I am not a ‘sufferer’! In press articles and reports, in biographical paragraphs and introductions, in speeches and interviews, I hear us being referred to as ‘MS sufferers’. I find that term archaic at best, arcane in all likelihood and offensive for certain. While I will not deny that I experience and am subject to symptoms of my disease and I am affected by, and become worse (all part of definition #1 of suffer from the Oxford English Dictionary), I am not a sufferer. I also struggle to surmount the definition of contend with MS but no one thinks to call me an MS contender. I deal effectively, cope, but the media doesn’t think to call me a coper. We remain, we are faced with and experience my symptoms but you won’t see enduror, undergoer or encounteror in print. Why then am I a sufferer?? Absurd, of course, are these awful monikers for someone who lives with a disease. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting to be called a liver either! I’d simply like to be a person, like you, like your family, like the rest of our community and the world. I am a person…. Yes, I’m a person who lives with MS, but I’m a person first, last and foremost. Why doesn’t the media stop using ‘sufferer’? Because we’ve let them get away with it. This year’s World MS Day is titled ‘Life with MS’. LIFE with MS. A successful Life with MS is all about the living part. I call on all of us living with MS to stop people when they call us sufferers. From here on, when I see it in a paper, hear it on a radio program or see it on television, I will call, write or e-mail the offending media outlet and correct them. It is time we are seen for more than our disease. We are contributors to society, we make the world a better place for ourselves and our community, we get up in the morning and do the best we can with what we have for as long as we can. We LIVE our lives with MS and we are people first. Happy World MS Day 2017. May we all LIVE our Life with MS. #LifewithMS Wishing you and your family the best of health. Cheers Trevis Trevis’ Award-Winning book, Chef Interrupted, is in the shops now. Follow him via Life With MS Facebook page, on Twitter and don’t forget to check out TrevisLGleason.com
Pregnancy contraindication removed from Copaxone 40mg/ml 3-times weekly, the first drug in this category to be cleared; Positive report agreed at European level, approval granted by Irish regulator Approximately 9,000 people in Ireland have multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the nervous system that disproportionately affects women of childbearing age Irish doctors can now prescribe a treatment option for women with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who are seeking to start a family. Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland has announced that the pregnancy contraindication for the Glatiramer Acetate injection, Copaxone 40mg/ml 3-times weekly, has been removed from the European label. An equivalent change was approved for Copaxone 20mg/ml in December 2016. No other drug in this category has had the pregnancy contraindication removed. MS is an autoimmune disease of the nervous system which damages the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, affecting vision, muscle control and other bodily functions. Approximately 9,000 people in Ireland live with the disease, and roughly 250 new cases are diagnosed each year. MS disproportionately affects women of childbearing age (20-40 years old). The removal of the pregnancy contraindication follows a Positive Variation Assessment Report issued by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and agreed by all Concerned Member States (CMS) in Europe that were involved in the procedure. Ireland’s medicines regulator, the Health Products Regulatory Association (HPRA), has also granted approval. The approval was granted based on an analysis of prospective pregnancy cases with known outcome and confirmed exposure to Copaxone 20mg/ml, from Teva’s Glatiramer Acetate (GA) Pharmacovigilance Database. This further strengthens the conclusion of the robust analysis of Copaxone 20 mg/ml pregnancy data, based on more than 2,000 pregnancy cases1. To date, this is the largest analysed dataset of pregnant women with MS who were exposed to disease modifying therapies during pregnancy. Dr Greg Hays, Medical Director, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, said the contraindication removal is significant for women with MS seeking to start a family. “MS is a debilitating disease that disproportionately affects young women at an age when they are most likely to be considering starting a family. “Teva is committed to helping women with relapsing forms of the disease lead the complete lives they desire. While it is still preferable to avoid using MS treatments during pregnancy, in appropriate situations, the removal of the contraindication from Copaxone is welcome for those who wish to remain on their medication or who were previously advised to stop taking their medication for the duration of the pregnancy.” Ms. Ava Battles- Chief Executive Officer at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland-said: “As MS is more prevalent in women of childbearing age than in any other group, the removal of the contraindication from Copaxone allows for Irish doctors to prescribe a treatment option (in appropriate situations) for women with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who are seeking to start a family.”
This week Declan Groeger is not a ‘Muscle Mary‘ but believes exercise has helped him maintain a positive attitude and helped to preserve his mental health. I am passionate about exercise now but that wasn’t always the case. I am a convert and an advocate for the cause. I am not going to use this blog to tell you why you should exercise but believe me when I tell you that you should. I am going to tell you about ‘Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis & Me’. There was a time when exercise was contra-indicated for People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) and that is my excuse for not exercising for so many years after my diagnosis; probably closer to the truth was the fact that I was a bit on the lazy side. The attitude to exercise has changed over the past number of years and these days exercise is actively encouraged in its many different forms. I was never sporty except as a spectator. I never carried any extra weight. I didn’t smoke at the time of diagnosis. I drank in moderation and ate relatively healthily. I was never motivated to exercise but in any event I never realised how important exercise, or the lack thereof, was going to be in later life. I had a young family; keeping up with two small children, household chores, gardening and a job were enough exercise, or so I thought. I exercise regularly now and have done so for more than 11 years. I go to the pool or the gym 2 or 3 times a week and I also have a list of daily home exercises. I don’t want to be a ‘Muscle Mary’ and I definitely won’t be blamed for overworking any of the gym machines! I go to the gym early in the morning when I am at my best; my energy levels start to wane in the afternoon. I love the social interactions in the gym and I feel that I am doing something positive to stem the MS tide. Even though I always feel tired after a gym session it is a good tired and the feel good factor is great. I believe that exercise has also helped me maintain my positive attitude and has helped to preserve my mental health. I’m sorry I didn’t start exercising earlier but because no one knows the course of the disease or the speed of progression, it is impossible to say whether my efforts would have been any more successful. I believe that exercise is helping me in my battle with MS and belief is a powerful motivator. I know that I should have started earlier but I also believe that it is never too late to start. Exercise is good for you whether you are living with MS or not, but don’t overdo it. A Chinese proverb says ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now’ and the same can be said for exercise – it is never too late to start. Looking forward to your comments... Declan Don't forget to check out able2access.wordpress.com
Highlighting Life with Multiple Sclerosis World MS Day 2017 will take place on Wednesday, May 31st and the theme this year is 'Life with MS', raising awareness of Multiple Sclerosis for thousands of people in Ireland and their families. Aoife Kirwan from Kildare and Maggs O’Riordan Wall from Limerick, both living with MS, are highlighting the challenges of life with MS including MS attacks, mobility issues, cognitive difficulties and the crucial need for increased neuro rehabilitation services. Ava Battles, Chief Executive, MS Ireland comments: “Life with Multiple Sclerosis is greatly impacted by the availability of neurology and neurorehabilitation services and this World MS Day we are calling for an increase in resources for neurology services in Ireland that match the need, ensuring access to care and support on time. Early identification of MS, early treatment with an appropiate medication and timely neurorehabilitation can improve functioning, reduce symptoms, and delay or prevent disability accumulation or deterioration.” How to get involved Events are planned across Ireland to mark World MS Day 2017 including 9,000 Steps for MS which will see supporters running, walking or dancing 9,000 Steps (6.5k) with colleagues, friends or family. Funds raised will directly help in services provision locally, in particular, physiotherapy, counselling and respite at the national MS Care Centre. Share your tips and photos/videos with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for living well with MS. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #LifewithMS MS Ireland, the national organisation providing vital services, information and support to people with MS, will hold a World MS Day event at Leinster House on Wednesday, May 31st to raise awareness of essential neuro rehabilitation services for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Neurology services in Ireland: The number of specialist nurses is significantly below what is recommended for our population with less than half the recommended number of MS nurses Every hospital group exceeds the ratio for consultant neurologists for our population No centre has MRI access for routine referrals in under two months and seven of the eleven neurology centres cannot get access within one year of referral. Lack of access to neurorehabilitation services including therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. Ireland should have nine community neurorehabilition teams. There are currently only three in the entire counry and these are only partially staffed * The source of these statistics is the survey carried out by the Neurological Alliance of Alliance and the National Clinical Programme for Neurology, published in February 2016.
The Effect of Gender Identity on Help-Seeking and Social Support in Male Carers of People with MS Researcher Damien Appleton, Clinical Neuropsychologist from the University of Leicester is asking male carers of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to complete a series of online questionnaires investigating levels of social support, carer burden, willingness to seek help and attributes related to gender role. Who can take part? Any male over the age of 18 who is a carer of a loved one with multiple sclerosis. Should you wish to do so, you can choose to provide your contact details in the form of an email address to be entered into a draw to win one of four £50 Amazon vouchers. What will I have to do? If you decide to complete this survey, you will be required to complete it in one sitting, which means you cannot save your responses half way through and come back to it later to complete. It should take approximately 30 minutes to complete and your time is greatly appreciated. What will be done with my responses? Your responses will be anonymous and no identifiable information will be included in any reports that are produced with the results of this survey. The responses will be stored securely on a computer that only the research team has access to and all data will be destroyed after 7 years. Should you wish to withdraw at any time, you have every right to do so and you should contact the researchers to request this. Consent: By choosing to complete this survey and submit your results, you are agreeing to the terms above and consenting to your anonymous data to be used in a research report. You are also confirming that you are a male carer of a loved one with MS. Who has reviewed this study? The University of Leicester Research Ethics Committee. If completing this survey causes you any emotional distress, please contact your GP to talk through support options that may be available to you. We thank you again for your time taken to complete this survey. Should you wish to complete the questionnaires in written form, please contact the researchers and this can be arranged. Get in touch Contact Damien Appleton by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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