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.
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.
MS Ireland has published our Advocacy Strategy for 2018, which details the actions we will be taking this year to try and address each of our advocacy priority areas. You can download the strategy here Get in touch For comments and questions please contact Harriet Doig, Information, Advocacy and Research Officer at email@example.com
Introducing our team of bloggers for 2018 As promised last week when we said goodbye to some of our long-time MS & Me bloggers, we now begin by introducing you to our team for 2018. While it may feel like January has been ‘blogging about blogging’, we feel it is important to note the changes, growth and evolution which MS & Me is constantly going through. We hope that you’ll welcome our new contributors as well as welcome back some familiar voices to our community. Declan Groeger Back with us but in the new role as Contributing Editor is Declan Groeger. Declan was part of the original MS & Team in 2014. The Cork man has lived with MS for about 30 years and is an avid traveller. He says of himself, “I am older, but not old. Am insanely positive and an eternal optimist.” His personal blog, Accessibility Matters, began in 2013 and offers musings not only about travel with MS, but also his finds for accessible restaurants. We’re happy to have Declan join our editorial team to help shape MS & Me into whatever it may become. Joan Jordan Also returning is Joan Jordan. The Louth native returned to Ireland in 2004 after living abroad for several years. She’s married with two teenagers (and their cat, Tiger), recently returned to part-time employment as the Content Coordinator for EUPATI, the European Patients Academy, and is very excited about that step. Joan is an active member of the Louth Branch of MS Ireland, runs the Humans Multiple Sclerosis community and has a new book aimed at newly diagnosed people with MS due out later this year. Fergal Hughes Father of two boys and currently separated, Fergal Hughes likes films, books and classical music. When it comes to exercise, however, he says it best himself, “I prefer an exercise bike. Unfortunately, I don’t exercise that much… in fact, I don’t exercise. *Note to self: this needs to change*.” Fergal gets a kick out of life and of writing about his experiences. We look forward to reading more of his observations around life, single-parenting, and perhaps getting back on that exercise bike… Christina McDonald 28- year old Christina McDonald has recently decided to return to education and become certified as a primary school teacher. Diagnosed in late 2016, Christina enters her second year of living with MS by joining the MS & Me blog team. Beyond children and education (she’s also an Honours Degree in Cultural Studies), her passions include raising awareness of multiple sclerosis. She looks forward to sharing her story as she makes her way through her degree and on to teaching. Keith Byrne Married and a new father, you may have read Keith Byrne’s story in this week’s Independent. Diagnosed just after his first Christmas engaged to his now wife, Keith has changed his life habits (exercise, diet, and, well… being a new father changes things quite a bit, too!). Keith enjoys writing – not just about MS – so we look forward to seeing what a full-time employed, newlywed, busy new father has to share. Robert Joyce Robert Joyce has been living with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for over 25 years. For the past 4 of those with the addition of chronic pain. He writes the blog A 30-Minute Life about his experiences with both. In his two and a half decades living with this disease, he’s come up with some interesting strategies, a sense of gratitude and looks forward to sharing them with our community. We too look forward to sage advice and thoughtful reflection from this long-time MS veteran. Next week we’ll share profiles of our remaining MS & Me blog team. We hope you read, comment, and share your thoughts as we bring you new perspectives and new voices in the coming months.
Roche’s ocrelizumab receives licence in the EU for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) Ocrelizumab is first and only approved disease-modifying medicine for people in EU with early PPMS Dublin, 12 January 2018: Roche announced today that ocrelizumab has been granted marketing authorisation in Europe for patients with certain types of active relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS) and early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Ocrelizumab is the first and only approved disease-modifying medicine for people in the European Union (EU) with early PPMS. Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 700,000 people in Europe, of which around 96,000 have the highly disabling primary progressive form.1,2 Most people with MS have a relapsing form (RMS) or primary progressive MS (PPMS) at diagnosis.3 “An estimated 1,350 people in Ireland live with PPMS. Today’s licence of ocrelizumab signifies an important treatment option for their disease,’’ said Dr Michal Starnawski, Roche’s Medical Director in Ireland. “Ocrelizumab is the first medicine to be approved for primary progressive MS, a debilitating form in which patients can quickly start to experience disability that is irreversible. Now that we have the licence, we can move forward to the next stage of ensuring access for patients. We are committed to working with the HSE to provide this access as quickly as possible.’’ Speaking about the new licence, Professor Chris McGuigan, Consultant Neurologist at St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin said “The granting of an EU licence for ocrelizumab is very positive news. Currently, there are no other licensed drugs for this type of MS and people with the condition experience a progression in symptoms which can cause mobility issues making work and daily activities challenging.” The most common side effects associated with Ocrelizumab in all Phase III clinical trials were infusion reactions and upper respiratory tract infections, which were mostly mild to moderate in severity. About Ocrelizumab Ocrelizumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody designed to target CD20-positive B cells, a specific type of immune cell thought to be a key contributor to myelin (nerve cell insulation and support) and axonal (nerve cell) damage. This nerve cell damage can lead to disability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Based on preclinical studies, Ocrelizumab binds to CD20 cell surface proteins expressed on certain B cells, but not on stem cells or plasma cells, and therefore important functions of the immune system may be preserved. Ocrelizumab is administered by intravenous infusion every six months. The initial dose is given as two 300 mg infusions given two weeks apart. Subsequent doses are given as single 600 mg infusions.
With the turn of the New Year MS & Me is expanding and diversifying. In this post, we also say ‘goodbye’ to a number of friends Late in 2013, the MS & Me blog launched with an idea, a hope and a cadre of nine bloggers with what we jokingly referred to as “varying levels of inexperience”. The idea was to create a space where real conversations about MS would be led by people with the disease. The ambition for MS Ireland was that we, the bloggers, would strike a chord and stir conversation in our national and international community. We know these past four years have been a great success for the MS & Me community and we’re excited to announce the expansion of our team in the coming posts. First, however, it wouldn’t be right to let the departure of a few of our original bloggers pass unmentioned. The volunteer endeavor to make this a safe and interesting place, where people can read of the experiences of others and share their own, has been a monumental commitment of time, energy and emotion. Some of our original team have taken the opportunity of the expansion of our blogging team to recommit to other aspects of their lives. Goodbye and Good Luck First, we’re ‘kicking Emma upstairs’, as it were. As well as blogging with us, she’s been a part of the editorial team of MS & Me since before we published our first post. We have restructured our editorial side for 2018 and, with a vastly expanded roster of bloggers, Emma will have more time to focus on editing and communication aspects of the blogs. We may hear from her every now and again, but, for the most part, Emma will be helping our new bloggers express their voices in the coming months. Trevis will also be stepping back a bit from actively blogging. He’ll be concentrating on a new series of group blogs we’ve planned for the coming year, so you’ll still see some of his writings, but in a slightly different way. Both Aoife and Lucina will, sadly, be leaving our team as well. Aoife has always given us a youthful vibe and positive outlook in her writing. From personal tales of difficulties to representing us all in Leinster House, we have enjoyed and been inspired by Aoife. She is now currently working for MS Ireland and is also very involved with Shift.MS. We can’t wait to see what how she continues to use her voice for all people living with multiple sclerosis. Lucina has been busy with more than the MS & Me blog in the past four years. She’s been producing films, raising her twins, writing her personal musings in both her blog Poppy Cottage Diaries as well as the occasional piece in the national papers. She’s been an inspiration to us all. We’ll miss her wit, her smile and her pragmatism. We wish Aoife and Lucina continued success and good health as we part this company, but we also know that they’ll never be far from our hearts in this little community of people with MS in Ireland. In our coming posts we’ll introduce you to our new bloggers and catch you up on what’s been going on with our original team members who are sticking around for another year. 2018 is having a blustery start on the weather front but for the MS & Me blog the forecast is it’s going to be a *HOT* New Year!
Calling all cyclists Looking for a new challenge in 2018? We are currently recruiting cyclists to join Team MS Ireland for the Paris2Nice Cycle in September. The first Paris2Nice cycle information evening where you can find out about all aspects of the cycle and how you can fundraise for your chosen charity will take place on Thursday, January 18th in the Hampton Hotel, Dublin 4 at 8pm. Register your interest on the Paris2Nice Facebook page Get in touch If you can't make the event on January 18th but would like more information please contact Melanie: Call (01) 6781600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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