Press Release

Minister for Health announces two additional HSE Board Members

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has today announced two new appointees to the Board of the HSE.

The Board is currently meeting informally in advance of the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2018 being enacted and commenced. It is anticipated that the legislation will commence in the second part of June.

These positions, advertised through the State Board Process operated by the Public Appointments Service, add to the range of competencies amongst HSE Board members.

The new appointees announced today are Brendan Lenihan, with particular expertise in financial planning and management, and Fergus O’Kelly, Clinical Professor in General Practice/Family Medicine.

Under the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2018, to be enacted shortly, the Board will be the governing body of the HSE and will be accountable to the Minister for Health for the performance of its functions. The CEO of the HSE will be accountable to the Board.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am pleased to confirm the names of two additional appointees to the Board of the HSE, chosen for excellence and leadership in their fields.”

“The establishment of the Board is essential in strengthening HSE governance and reforming our health service as we implement Sláintecare. I look forward to working with the board and the new CEO Paul Reid in this regard and ensuring we deliver a high-quality service for our patients.”

Priority issues for the new HSE Board include:

  • Developing and implementing an effective performance management and accountability system in the HSE
  • Developing a plan for building public trust and confidence in the HSE and the wider health service
  • Ensuring the HSE’s full support for and implementation of the Government’s programme of health reform as set out in the Sláintecare Implementation Plan

The new appointees announced today will join Ciarán Devane, announced as Chair of the HSE Board in September 2018, along with:

  • Prof Deirdre Madden, professor of law at UCC and chair of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance. Dr Madden will be appointed Deputy Chair of the HSE Board
  • Fergus Finlay, former CEO of Barnardos
  • Tim Hynes, Group Chief Information Officer, AIB
  • Dr Sarah McLoughlin, Science and Communication Officer at Retina International, and patient advocate
  • Mark Molloy, Quantity Surveyor, member of the Expert Group on Tort Reform and Management of Clinical Negligence Claims and patient advocate
  • Aogán Ó Fearghail, former GAA President
  • Fiona Ross, Chair of CIE and Mental Health Ireland
  • Dr Yvonne Traynor, vice president of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs with Kerry Group


Note to the Editor

Journalists are requested to send all press queries to or by phone to 01 635 4477 rather than directly to selected members.

Biographies for the two new members

Mr Brendan Lenihan
Brendan Lenihan is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has over 25 years of experience in the profession. His career includes being a partner in the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen, with whom he worked in Dublin and New York.  In addition to a lengthy advisory career across a very broad range of sectors, he also held senior executive roles in industry as Group Finance Director at a large construction and property company (with operations in Ireland, UK and continental Europe) and also at a large care home provider. Since 2016, he has been Managing Director of Navigo Consulting, a specialist advisory firm in strategy, business planning and governance, serving private and public sector clients in Ireland and the UK by delivering advisory work on significant financial investments and business plans as well on improving board, organisational and financial effectiveness. Brendan is a non-executive Director of Bus Eireann and has held roles as an external member of the Audit & Risk Committees of the CIE Group and the Irish Dental Council.

In addition to his professional roles, Brendan will also bring to the HSE Board his experience of the charitable sector, particularly in the areas of mental health and homelessness.  He is a national Trustee of Pieta House (which provides free nationwide support in the areas of suicide, self-harm and suicide bereavement) and is Chair of Pieta’s Audit & Risk Committee.  He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of Good Shepherd Cork, a charity that provides emergency shelter to homeless and vulnerable families through its Edel House refuge and the Cork family hub (operated on behalf of Cork City Council) and a number of other educational, emergency accommodation and aftercare services.

Brendan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UCC, a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting from UCD, and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland.  He holds a Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Smurfit Business School and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Professor Fergus O’Kelly
Clinical Professor General Practice / Family Medicine, Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Professor Fergus O’Kelly is a retired Family Physician who formerly practiced in Rialto, Dublin.

Fergus is recognised as a leading figure in the development of Family Medicine in Ireland over the past four decades, where he has held numerous roles progressing the discipline of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

Fergus is passionate about Family Medicine training, having been involved since 1985, firstly as a Trainer, then as Assistant Director of the TCD / HSE training programme in Dublin, and as Director of the programme for 18 years.

Fergus is a Past President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (2015-2016) and was a member of the Governing Board of ICGP from 2014 to 2017. He has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for many years and was made Clinical Professor at TCD in 2006.

Fergus has contributed to his discipline of Family medicine and represented that discipline at local, national and international level. Amongst his personal achievements, he founded the first ‘Out of Hours’ GP co-op services in Ireland and established a number of nurse-led chronic disease clinics.

In 2017 Fergus was the recipient of the Fiona Bradley Award, recognizing his commitment to serving Dublin’s vulnerable and deprived communities. This was presented at the joint scientific meeting of the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland (AUDGPI) and the ICGP.

Other Positions held:

  • Board member of St James’s University Hospital (1998 – 2015)
  • President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (2005 – 2007)
  • Member of the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland
  • Board member of Trinity Court, Drug Treatment & Rehabilitative Centre (1992 -1998)
  • Member of EURACT – National representative to this European GP/family medicine teaching group for six years.
  • National Cancer Strategy committee – representing the ICGP 2017
  • Past President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (2015-16)
  • Chair of Postgraduate Training Committee, ICGP (2016 – 2017)