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.
Mr. Paddy Stronge
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.
This week Christina McDonald goes deep into the experience of being diagnosed with MS. From being scared and grieving, she’s learned to doing things differently. More than ever before, she’s chasing her dreams. There was something in the words “You have MS” that filled me with mixed emotions and changed my life. The different stages of grief I went through after my diagnosis somehow helped me come to terms with MS. If you are newly diagnosed, it’s important that you know that these feelings are normal. Yes, they may recur, but things do get better. There have been days where I have felt chronic pain and others where I have sat feeling sorry for myself. And there have also been good days. I’ve learned to accept that my body has new limitations. I am still the same person and am still able to do things. I am just mastering new ways of doing them. My diagnosis is not what defines me; it has opened a new chapter in my life. It has given me a new outlook on life and I know I want to live it to the fullest of my potential. After my diagnosis, I started to put my health into perspective. I began looking after my physical and mental wellbeing and started to eat healthier. I feel that I am one of the lucky ones - I’m fortunate enough that my body allows me to do gentle exercise. It’s important to remember to listen to your body and what it is telling you. If you are having a bad day where you need to rest, don’t be afraid to use your voice. The people who love and care for you will understand if you have to cancel plans due to fatigue or bad symptoms. My diagnosis has given me a thirst for a better life and sparked a drive in me to pursue my dreams and ambitions. I know MS couldn’t stop me from achieving my goals but it has definitely changed my perspective on things, especially chasing my dreams. I learned not to worry about the things that aren’t actually important but rather to appreciate the little things that are. I have struggled since my diagnosis but it has also put things into perspective for me. I decided to return to education to do my Masters in primary education and I honestly don’t think I would have had the courage to do it if it wasn’t for diagnosis. Being given an MS diagnosis is tough and it can be scary but I have tried to use it to encourage me rather than frighten me. Research and educate yourself on MS using the wealth of material that there is available. Don’t rely on Google to tell you what’s going on! Educating yourself gives you the knowledge to educate your friends and family and to also spread awareness. If you have recently been diagnosed with MS and are worrying about what happens next, remember MS is not a death sentence. You can still do the things you want to do in life, you’ll just be doing things a bit differently.
Kiss Goodbye to MS for research into Multiple Sclerosis and vital services Multiple Sclerosis Ireland, with the support of TV presenter Lisa Cannon and two young women living with MS, Rosie McCormack and Sara-Jane Tracy, is calling on people to help Kiss Goodbye to MS raising funds for MS research and essential services. Throughout the month of May, supporters are asked to ‘go red’ and to Wear, Dare and Share: to wear red or hold a ‘red day’, dare to get sponsored for an MS Ireland sky dive, and share with friends and family to spread the word. For more information visit www.kissgoodbyetoms.ie Kiss Goodbye to MS is about raising awareness of Multiple Sclerosis and supporting MS Research as well as funding vital services that reduce the impact of MS including physiotherapy, counselling and newly diagnosed seminars. MS Ireland will hold the first MS Research Ball on Saturday, May 26th 2018 as well as a Red Lab Coat Day in research laboratories around the country, reinforcing the research message for Kiss Goodbye to MS. TV presenter Lisa Cannon is proudly supporting the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign: "I'm delighted to be part of this important cause to raise funds for MS research and services, to help people living with MS. Three times more women than men are diagnosed with MS, with most being diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Please go red this May and wear, dare and share to show your support." Kiss Goodbye to MS is helping to increase the number of countries fundraising for research. In 2017, 8 countries took part raising more than € 1 million. In 2018 12 countries are taking part with the aim to raise more than €1.2 million to fund research and services . Ava Battles, Chief Executive, MS Ireland comments: "While each country embarks on their own unique Kiss Goodbye to MS journey, the global MS community is more collaborative than anyone has seen before. MS Ireland is delighted to be involved in launching this important campaign for the third year running in Ireland to help raise funds for MS research and essential services for more than 9,000 people with Multiple Sclerosis. It's an important campaign for people and family members affected by MS. The campaign is also, significantly about hope, enabling and empowering people with MS to live the life of their choice to their fullest potential.” Rosie McCormack, 27, and Sara-Jane Tracy, 31, both living with MS are part of a squad of MS ambassadors to the campaign. They are among more than 9,000 people living with MS, facing the challenge MS every day. Help Kiss Goodbye to MS WEAR Raise funds and awareness by wearing something red or hold a red day event at work or in the community. Put on your favourite red lipstick, pucker up and share a kiss on your social media platforms using the hashtag #KissGoodbyeToMS. Please text KISS to 50300 to donate €4 and nominate your friends and family to take part. If you don’t fancy wearing red lipstick, any red item of clothing or accessory will do! DARE Dare yourself or someone else to do something out of your comfort zone and get sponsored for it. This year we’re daring people to do the MS skydive! But sky dives aren’t for everyone so please feel free to do a different dare! www.kissgoodbyetoms.ie/upcoming-events/ SHARE Share the message with friends and family to spread the word.
With a combined 175 years of living with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, the MS & Me blog team shares some golden nuggets of lessons learned. We asked our cadre of MS & Me bloggers what lessons they might have learned living with multiple sclerosis. Our editorial team was surprised – but then, once we thought about it we weren’t surprised at all- at how similar our contributors’ advice was. Yes, everyone’s MS is different. And just as everyone’s life experience differs, the way we cope with the challenges and adversities the disease visits upon us will vary. Still, there were several common themes running through their responses and we hope you find them helpful. #1 Don’t let others tell you how you should feel, behave, or live your life with MS. Nobody knows your life better than you; listen to your body. Learn to deal with insensitive comments, because people can say the most insensitive thing. #2 It’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Give yourself permission to leave that super hero cape in the wardrobe. #3 Accepting help is not a failure and doesn't mean you are a burden. People who care about you are just as frustrated with MS and want to do something to help. It makes them feel better. The price to be paid for overdoing things can be high, so learn to differentiate between doing as much as you can and doing as much as is reasonable. Ask yourself, “Can an assisted device of some sort make this task easier?” “Would that improve my quality of life?” If the answer is yes, use the damned device. #4 Self-care is not the same as being selfish. It’s okay to put myself first. It’s okay to say, “No”. #5 Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to your medical team about anything… ANYTHING! From sex to toileting to cognition to palliative care and your fears, talk about it. Embarrassment gets in the way of you receiving the best possible care. #6 You have nothing for which to apologize when it comes to multiple sclerosis. MS is not your fault and MS is not something of which you need be ashamed, so MS doesn’t get an “I'm sorry”. Save the apologies for when they really matter. #7 Learn to adapt to the moving target of your ‘new normal’. Make allowances and be realistic about what you can and can't do. Everyone has his or her limits. We just might face them more regularly. #8 Life stops for nothing, not even MS. Don't let the disease stop you from living, loving, and laughing. MS will take the steering wheel if you let it…. Don’t Let It! #9 Be kind to yourself. Living with an oft-invisible illness can be tough. Be grateful for what you have and still be willing to share of yourself with those who make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others. You have great gifts worth sharing. #10 Not everything that goes wrong with your health (or your life, for that matter) is necessarily MS related. If you need to talk it out, find someone you trust to talk to. If it’s a professional, make sure they’re trained and accredited. Bonus Lesson: Don't ignore your medical team's advice. That said, it’s your life. If you have done the research and feel that it’s best for you to disregard their suggestions, don’t go rogue. Let them know what you are doing or not doing, what you are taking or not taking and why because, well…see lesson # 1. Wishing you and your family the best of health. Cheers.
Patients Deserve Better On the day of the sensory-experience café popped-up on Exchequer Street a new website - PatientsDeserveBetter.ie - was also launched to help those affected by MS demand quick and better access to new medicine. New medicines can’t help if patients can’t access them: Irish people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are waiting for medicines that people in other European countries already have access to. This is because the Irish system for making medicines publically available is broken. Once a medicine is authorised by the European Commission, countries like Germany make it available to patients immediately. In Ireland, the process takes an average of 348 days. In some cases it can take over 4 years. Patients deserve better. People with MS can’t wait. Irish people with MS need, expect and deserve quick access to new, innovative and effective treatments through a public system that is fair and sustainable. The solution is a system similar to Germany’s where people with MS get access to medicines as soon as they are authorised by the European Commission. The State and the pharmaceutical company can then negotiate a price for the medicine but patients will not be forced to endure any wait for reimbursement. If you wish to help people with MS get the medicines they need, you can send an email to the Minister for Health, your local TDs and members of the Oireachtas Health Committee, highlighting your concerns to them. This initiative is a partnership between MS Ireland and Roche Products (Ireland) Ltd.
Read the first blog for MS and Me from Katie St. Lawrence (24). She shares her experience of what it means to have fatigue, how she deals with it and how, thanks to being strategic about rest, energy and listening to her body, life is as enjoyable as ever. I never knew when I was first diagnosed that fatigue would be one of my biggest challenges in my battle with multiple sclerosis. During the diagnosis process, I was always asked by the doctors and nurses how my energy levels/fatigue were. I never had any complaints. This changed a year after my first relapse. It was during the summer time when I started experiencing fatigue. I began to notice that the smallest of tasks would leave me feeling wrecked and needing to take a break. Jobs like preparing the dinner or cleaning my room (which never used to be an issue for me before) left me feeling like I had just completed a mini-marathon! I started to get jealous when I looked around and saw other people around me doing these tasks without any difficulties. I also felt angry with myself when I thought about all the times, pre-MS, when I sat around doing nothing. I could have been enjoying myself! Little did I know then that I would be suffering from what I could only describe as the Ultimate Tiredness x10 for basic tasks. Katie’s Fatigue = waking up after a full night’s sleep only to feel as if I’ve not had any sleep at all. Or being so tired that I can barely move and have to talk yourself into moving. Fatigue is when a hot shower can drain every ounce of whatever remaining energy out of your body. It leaves you feeling completely shattered and defeated. Like many people with MS, I have my good days and bad days when it comes to dealing with fatigue. Fatigue is with me all year round but is so much worse in the summer time in the higher temperatures. On my good days I can go most places or do most things without it affecting me too much- only a little bit fatigued. But on my bad days, I wake up feeling completely wrecked and basic tasks almost wipe me out. Since the first year, I have learned to deal with my fatigue. I’m more strategic now- if I have an event coming up I prepare by taking things easier in the days leading up to it. I have also learned to listen to my body more and if I feel as if I am over doing things, I take a rest or get an early night. While fatigue can be extremely difficult to deal with, I try not to let it rule my life. When I listen to my body, I can manage. Things are very different to pre-MS but despite the fatigue, by making small changes, listening to the changing needs of my body, the most important thing is I still get to enjoy myself.
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