Press Release

Minister announces appointment of Dr Frank Dolphin as next Chairman of Health Service Executive

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D. has today announced the appointment of Dr Frank Dolphin as the next Chairman of the Health Service Executive to succeed Mr Liam Downey who has completed two terms as Chairman.

The Minister said, “The creation of the Health Service Executive was probably the largest single governance and change management challenge in our country’s history.

“The value of a unified health service has already been demonstrated in many areas and further benefits for patients will continue to be realised in the coming years.

“Since 2005, Liam Downey has led this change process as Chairman of the Executive with tremendous personal commitment to the public good and with great skill, patience and persistence.

“Over those years, I and other members of the Government have continually seen and benefited from his excellent judgement, interpersonal skills and hard work as Chairman. His personal qualities of intelligence, integrity and quiet charm have been to the fore throughout and to good effect.

“On behalf of the Government, I want to express our deep gratitude for Liam Downey’s work and his contribution to public service over these foundation years for the HSE. We wish him and his family the very best for his future.

“Under the provisions of the Health Act, 2005, Mr Downey has served the permitted two terms as a Board member, and it is now necessary to appoint a new Chairman.

“I am very pleased to announce that Dr Frank Dolphin has agreed to take up the position as Chairman of the HSE with effect from 15 August 2010.

“Dr Dolphin has highly relevant, wide-ranging experience in his business career, academic accomplishments and work as a clinical psychologist.

“He has already demonstrated a personal commitment to the governance of our health services through his chairmanship of the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street Hospital and his membership of the Board of Governors of the Mater Hospital.

“I have great confidence in his ability to lead the Board of the HSE in its next phase of development, working with the new Chief Executive, Cathal McGee, and with a growing level of clinical leadership throughout the organisation.

I wish Dr Dolphin the very best in his new role and I assure him of the utmost support from the Government, my Department and myself, on a personal basis.”


Mr Downey’s term ends on 15 August 2010, and Dr Dophin’s appointment takes effect as of then.

Dr Dolphin has decided to relinquish his Chairmanship of the Children’s University Hospital, Tempe Street, and his membership of the Board of Governors of the Mater Hospital.

His biographical details are as follows:

Frank Dolphin MA. PhD., AFBPsS., C.Psychol. FMII.

A native of Birr, Co Offaly, Dr Frank Dolphin is the chairman of Rigney Dolphin, a successful services business he founded in Waterford which employs 1,100. He is also chairman of the Children’s University Hospital, Temple St and a member of the board of Governors of the Mater Hospital. He is also a member of the board of Governors of Waterford Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the Marketing Institute, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a former President of Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Dolphin has had a varied career working in education, health and business. He attended Presentation College Birr and University College Dublin, where he completed a PhD in Psychology. Dr Dolphin worked as a clinical research psychologist at the Children’s Hospital Temple St and later as consulting Psychologist to St Joseph’s Clonmel, working with children in residential care. He lectured at Trinity College Dublin and in Waterford Institute of Technology in Psychology and Consumer Behaviour.

In 1990 he established Rigney Dolphin initially providing strategic change and HR consultancy services to multinational companies. . The company grew to provide a range of Business Process Outsourcing services for companies in the public and private sector. Rigney Dolphin employs over 1100 permanent and contract staff.

He lives in Waterford with his wife Adrienne and their five children.