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MSIF/MS Ireland
12 Jul 2011

International Award Winner

National Chairman wins International Award

(l-r) Allen O’Connor was presented with MSIF’s 2011 James D. Wolfensohn Award for International Person with MS by Peer Baneke of MSIF

MS Ireland is delighted to announce that Chairman Allen O'Connor has been declared the 2011 winner of the James D Wolfensohn Award for International Person with MS. The award, presented by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), recognises the valuable contribution people with MS make to the worldwide fight against MS.

Allen has been active at a local, national and international front, continuously advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and people with MS. In his time he has been involved in many Irish organizations such as the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities and the Disabled Drivers Association. He has also held posts in the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) and MSIF.

It was in 1993 that Allen first became involved with MS Ireland, first as a local branch treasurer, followed by National Treasurer. He became a Director in 1999 and was elected Chairman in 2002. He is currently Chairman of the organisation. This is indeed his second term as Chairman.

Allen says he is humbled to have received the award,

"I am truly honoured to win the award. There are so many of us who try to make the voice of people with MS heard in their own countries and abroad. I believe passionately that people with MS can live positive, fruitful lives with the correct support. I hope I have play a part in ensuring that support is there for people with MS and their families.”  

Allen lives in Cork with his wife June. They have two adult children, Gayle and Shane. He became a grandfather in 2010. He is a retired bank manager. Allen was diagnosed with MS in 1985 after a number of personal tragedies.

The Wolfensohn Award is a biennial award made by MSIF to recognise the valuable contribution people with MS make to the worldwide fight against the disease. The award is named after James D. Wolfensohn, former President of MSIF.

Peer Baneke, MSIF Chief Executive, said, “So many people with MS drive the worldwide fight against the disease. The Wolfensohn Award exists to shine a light on them. All the nominees this year showed remarkable qualities, but Allen stood out because of his tireless campaigning for people with disabilities, both in Ireland and internationally, and his leadership of MS organisations".

Further Informaton:

View video

Read more about Allen and his achievements

MS Ireland/Biogen Idec
31 May 2011


European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use issues positive opinion on marketing authorisation application for FAMPYRA.

MS Ireland
20 Apr 2011

Can you feel my Pain?

MS Ireland joins coalition of patient groups to launch initiative to fight for rights of people in chronic pain. 

Answer Ireland’s Call: Annalisa Flanagan, Co. Down, holder of the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s loudest shout, joined forces today with former Ireland Rugby International Malcolm O’Kelly to launch a new health awareness campaign entitled Can You Feel My Pain?

MS Ireland has joined forces with Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, Chronic Pain Ireland and leading Patient Advocacy Groups and Citizen Organisations across Europe to raise awareness and generate support for the 13% of people living with chronic pain in Ireland today.

The Can You Feel My Pain? campaign will harness the huge opportunity presented by the Internet and social networks to reach a wide audience, raising awareness and generating support for real change in the field of chronic pain.

The campaign is hosted on the Chronic Pain Ireland website and we’re asking all our members to play a vital role by signing the petition online

The ‘Bill of Rights’ – a chance to register your support

The Bill of Right consists of five key rights that we believe will help improve quality of life for those affected by chronic pain. These rights draw upon examples from other organisations (European Charter of Patients’ Rights2 and Chronic Pain Ireland’s Charter of Rights3) and call for improvements in the understanding and management of chronic pain.

Getting involved – the vital role you can play

Many of you will have experienced first-hand the dramatic impact chronic pain can have on all aspects of life. To fight for improvements in the management of chronic pain we first need to improve awareness and understanding.

By signing up to the Bill of Rights, you’ll be helping to drive change in the way chronic pain is perceived and the priority it is given. It’s time to make a difference and have your say!

Further reading:

Download CYFMP Press Release


1 Breivik H, Collett B, Ventafridda V, Cohen R, Gallacher D. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur J Pain 2006;10:287-333.

2 ‘European Charter of Patients’ Rights’ Active Citizenship Network, 2002. Last accessed July Last accessed July 2010

3 ‘Charter of Rights for people living with Chronic Pain’ Chronic Pain Ireland

The campaign is being launched nationally by Chronic Pain Ireland with support from Pfizer Healthcare Ireland

Novartis Ireland Limited
04 Apr 2011

Oral MS Treatment

Novartis receives European Commission approval for Gilenya®, the first oral multiple sclerosis treatment for use in the EU

25 Jan 2011

Prize Draw Results

The winners in the Great Prize Draw were announced on Tuesday, 25th January on RTE 2’s “Elev8”. A big thank you from the MS READaTHON Team for reading and supporting MS Ireland.

21 Jan 2011

Prize Draw Date

The Great Prize Draw will take place on Tuesday 25th January and winners will be announced on RTE 2’s“Elev8” at 4.30pm. Good luck to everyone who participated!


MS Ireland
06 Jan 2011

Irish Research Breakthrough

Research funded by MS Ireland sheds light on secondary progressive MS

MS Ireland is delighted to announce results of a research project part funded by the Society which has discovered a possible connection between the signally pathway in the brain and the grey matter lesions that characterise MS. 

The findings come from a research team in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science, NUI Galway, led by neuroscientist Dr Una FitzGerald and carried out by Dr. Jill McMahon, in collaboration with Dr Stephen McQuaid from Queen’s University Belfast. The research project “Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress as a component of neurodegeneration in MS grey matter lesions”, is one of only two research projects in the world examining the role of ER stress in grey matter lesions in MS.

The Irish research shows that lesions formed in the grey matter of the brain might be associated with a signalling pathway called endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Higher levels of ER stress were discovered in lesioned areas in the grey matter of the brain in those with secondary progressive MS. MS is characterised by lesions, or a loss of myelin, in the central nervous system. This myelin speeds up nerve impulse production, and this is what gets damaged in the case of MS.

Read the full press release here.

Read the research team’s final report.

Read the Irish Times article on the research.

MS Ireland would like to thank our Voluntary Branches and other supporters who have contributed to our research fund. Each year MS Ireland supports a number of research projects. Read more about our funded projects here. If you would like more information or wish to make a donation to our fund, please contact Taragh Donohoe on 01 678 1600 or email