Press Release

Minister for Health opens conference to mark major progress on national health research agenda

Strong alliance of health, industry and academic leaders driving implementation of the Action Plan for Health Research 2009 – 2013 and maximising health and economic benefits.

Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D., gave his strong support to the strengthening of Ireland’s health research system at a unique gathering today (5th May) of key leaders from the life science industry, the health service and the health research community. The conference was held at Farmleigh House and reviewed the progress made to date in implementing the Action Plan for Health Research 2009-2013. The very close collaboration across health, enterprise and education/research sectors is a notable feature of the national effort underway to position Ireland’s health research system as a catalyst for population health and health service improvement and a key contributor to Ireland’s international competitiveness in the life science sector.

The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D, said: “The pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of patients has driven the advances which the health services, in Ireland and internationally, have made in terms of life expectancy and quality of life.”

“Research and innovation must be made even more central within the health service delivery system if our health services are to meet health policy objectives and public expectations within limited resources.”

“Partnerships between the health service and industry are also being further strengthened to the mutual advantage of both sectors.”

“The Government has given a strong mandate to key Departments and agencies to pursue these objectives and implement the Action Plan for Health Research.”

The conference was also addressed by Mr. Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for research and innovation, highlighting the joined up approach across Government to this important national objective.


The Action Plan for Health Research 2009-2013 was developed by the Health Research Group (HRG), a group established by the Minister for Health & Children and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment in 2007 under the auspices of the Inter-Departmental Committee for the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI).

The Farmleigh event involved stakeholders from the health services, industry, academia, research organisations, the voluntary sector and relevant state authorities. In addition to contributions from both Ministers and members of the Health Research Group, speakers from the HSE, industry, academia and the voluntary health sector also provided perspectives on health research in Ireland. Speakers at the event were as follows:

    • Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D.
    • Mr. Sean Sherlock, T.D., Department of Enterprise Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Science with responsibility for research and innovation
    • Mr. Jim Breslin, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health & Children, and Chair of the Health Research Group
    • Mr. Enda Connolly, CEO of the Health Research Board & member of the Health Research Group
    • Dr. Keith O’Neill, Director of Life Sciences and Food, Enterprise Ireland & member of the Health Research Group
    • Mr. Martin Shanagher, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Enterprise Jobs & Innovation, and Chair of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Science, Technology & Innovation
    • Mr. Bryan Mohally, Member of LifeSciences Alliance & Vice President Supply Chain Operations, Johnson & Johnson
    • Mr. John McCormack, Chair of the Medical Charities Research Group, and CEO of the Irish Cancer Society
    • Prof. Bill Powderly, M.D., Head of the School of Medicine and Medical Science, U.C.D & Chief Academic Officer, Dublin Academic Medical Centre
    • Dr Barry White, National Director of Clinical Strategy & Programmes, Health Service Executive.